WVC Division 1 Boys Championship Preview (Crestwood vs. Wilkes-Barre Area)
Written by: Jon K on Wednesday, February 12th, 2020
Wyoming Valley Conference
Division 1 Boys Championship
Crestwood vs. Wilkes-Barre Area
(February 13, Pittston Area @ 7 pm)
By Phil T.
YATESVILLE – A pair of teams who are getting on a roll at just the right time, Crestwood and Wilkes-Barre Area, will meet on Wednesday night to determine the winner of Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1. Both teams are already assured spots in the upcoming Wyoming Valley Conference Tournament with the winner facing Holy Redeemer (Division 2 runner-up) and the loser facing Wyoming Seminary (Division 2 champion).
Just one week ago, the division title outlook for both the Comets and Wolfpack appeared to be fading away a bit, but both squads finished the regular season with several key wins to pull back into the division playoff picture.
The Pack, who played a very challenging exhibition schedule, started off their season going 5-8 overall (2-3 in WVC play) and trailed division leader Crestwood by three games. They would find their groove during their first match-up against Hazleton Area in which they played a near flawless game in defeating the Cougars, 73-63, behind a 21 point performance from Cole Walker. That victory helped propel them to an 8-1 record to end the conference season.
The Comets took a different path as their season began with an impressive 5-0 start and quickly appearing to be the division team to beat. But, a mid-January 1-3 skid (losses to Pittston, Hazleton, and Dallas) began to derail their title plans. With two games remaining on the schedule and facing elimination, Crestwood next had to again face Pittston Area and Hazleton Area, who were both tied for the division lead at the time. This time around, Crestwood found their spark and routed Pittston Area, 80-46, and then squeezed past top rival Hazleton Area, 56-53, to grab part of a 4-way tie.
In Monday night’s division playoff semi-final, Wilkes-Barre Area faced Pittston Area, the only WVC team to beat them twice this season. The Wolfpack jumped out an early lead increasing their advantage to double digits, but still needed some late free throws to secure the 44-39 win over the Patriots.
Crestwood met with Dallas in the other division playoff semi-final and the Comets continued their torrid shooting, scoring 50 points combined through the middle periods, on their way to an 82-54 win over the Mountaineers.
The previous two meetings between Crestwood and Wilkes-Barre Area came down to the wire. In their first match-up at GAR, Ryan Petrosky scored five points in the overtime period to give the Comets a 41-40 win. Their second match-up, played at Crestwood, appeared headed into overtime as well, that is until a Saquan Portee steal led to a half-court heave from Brandon Hall as time expired to give the Pack the 51-48 victory.
Wilkes-Barre Area will be looking for another strong effort out of their leading scorer, Cole Walker, tomorrow night. He is averaging 12.9 ppg but has only scored 11 total points against the Comets in their first two meetings. Brandon Hall (6-4 junior forward) has been their main offensive threat against an undersized Crestwood team hitting 14 ppg against the Comets this season. The Wolfpack’s other forward, Blake Masker, has missed the last three games due to an injury. Masker has been a key piece for the Pack averaging 11.7 ppg and a disrupter for opposing offenses in the paint. WBA also has excellent role players such as Jordan Diggs, Matt Egidio, and Jack Gilgallon. And keep an eye on their speedster, Saquan Portee.
Crestwood has been on fire from beyond the arc in the past three games, hitting 32 triples. Marcus Vieney has been coming up clutch in key moments for the Comets. He will look to continue his hot hand early on as Crestwood tries to establish a lead. Ryan Petrosky, their leading scorer, is averaging 21 ppg over the last three games, including a trio of triples to upend Hazleton Area in their season finale. The Comets feature a well-rounded lineup that includes Brad Papura, Jacob Zaleski, Paul Feisel, and Mike Zaleski.
Wyoming Seminary and Holy Redeemer await the result of this game to determine their next opponent in the Wyoming Valley Conference Playoffs starting on Friday. Wilkes-Barre Area has not faced either team. Crestwood defeated the Royals, 50-37, to win the McGrane Memorial Holiday Basketball Tournament back in December.
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