A year after a deep run into the state playoffs, the Susquehanna boys basketball team found their season end on the Saturday, Feb. 23, when Northwest tripped up the Sabers, 47-29, in District II Class 2A Semifinals.
The Rangers jumped out early on Susquehanna scoring the first 11 points of the game.
“We didn’t do a great job on their ball screens,” said Susquehanna Coach Lawrence Tompkins. “We talked about hedging out and making the Point Guard giving up the ball and we didn’t do that.”
Offensively Susquehanna was stunted by an aggressive Northwest defense that took away many of the first options in the Sabers’ offense. Susquehanna managed only 10 first half points and trailed 28-10 at intermission.
Susquehanna opened with a 7-2 run in the third quarter to cut the Ranger lead to 13, but Senior Guard Sam Saxe scored six straight points and Susquehanna never threatened again.
Sophomore Gavin Baker led Susquehanna with 11 points off the bench and Mason Deakin added 9.
Elk Lake 45
In a game of runs Susquehanna had the last big one as it prevailed for a third time over Elk Lake ending the Warriors season with a 53-45 win.
Mason Deakin and Bryce Baldwin combined for 18 of Susquehanna’s points in the fourth quarter to propel the Sabers to victory.
Susquehanna jumped out ahead early as the Warrior offense struggled. Nate Preston hit one of two free throws for Elk Lake in the first two minutes. Those two would be the only points Elk Lake would muster until Kevin Valvano converted a lay-up with six minutes remaining in the second quarter.
But Susquehanna failed to take advantage of Elk Lake’s slow start scoring 8 points midway through the first quarter but after Gavin Baker converted in the first minute of the second the Sabers would not score until the final minute of the half when Deakin hit two free throws and Anthony Dolfini nailed a three just before the halftime buzzer to give Susquehanna a 15-10 advantage. Elk Lake added 7 more points after Valvano’s lay-up as he and Hunter Bomboy combined for 8 points.
After intermission both offenses began to loosen up. Elk Lake heated up first going on 9-0 run to start the half as Bomboy tied the game at 15 with a three and the Warriors gained the lead on back to back assists from Preston to Bomboy and Valvano.
Canyon Stone scored 5 points to as Susquehanna closed out the quarter 12-7 to trail Elk Lake 28-27 heading into the final stanza.
The teams exchanged leads to start the fourth, but Baldwin put Susquehanna ahead to stay when he drop-stepped over Elk Lake’s Joe McAleer for the first of his 10 fourth quarter points to ignite a 12-3 run and put Susquehanna in control. Deakin was able to penetrate the lane for layups or dump downs for easy scores.
“Elk Lake did a great job of taking my opportunities away and played the pick and roll with Mason and me really well,” explained Baldwin. “Then in the fourth quarter I was able to get the ball in a couple situations where I could score immediately.”
“The game is just about runs and how you handle them and what you do in reaction to them,” said Deakin. “We were able to handle theirs and then we got into a groove and did what we needed to do.”
Preston attempted to propel the Warriors with drives to the basket, but Deakin knocked down four free throws. Baldwin and Adam Rockwell each added a pair down the stretch to seal the win.
“We really bought in defensively the first three quarters until our offense began to get in stride,” said Preston. “But in the fourth quarter they were able to do some things with their pick and roll and Mason was able to get into lane.”
Deakin led with a game-high 18 points while Baldwin finished with 12 and Rockwell added 9. Bomboy paced Elke Lake with 15 while Preston added 12 and Valvano chipped in with 10.
Lackawanna Trail 56
Mountain View 50
In another regular season rematch, back-to-back threes from Trail’s Nico Berrios propelled the Lions past Mountain View in a match up of the four and five seeds.
With the game knotted at 39, Berrios hit the pair of long-range bombs, his only two field goals in the game, and Trail never looked back.
Trail opened with a 9-8 first quarter lead as Josh Rzcidulo scored 5 of his 9 points in the opening quarter. The Lions held Mountain View’s star guard Mikey Schermerhorn to two free throws.
Things got tougher for Mountain View when Schermerhorn was sent to the bench with his third foul with 7:11 remaining in the half. But after JP Gilroy nailed his second trey in the quarter, Eagles Coach Joe Gibbons brought Schermerhorn back with just over two minutes and shuttled him in and out on defensive possessions.
While Schermerhorn remained scoreless Michael Fanelli, Wyatt Brozonis, and Tyler Henke combined for 11 points and Mountain View trailed 24-19 at the half.
“They know our stuff and they face guarded me the entire time,” said Schermerhorn. “But on our pick and roll they hedged hard and we were able to find the roller for some good looks.”
Both teams exchanged runs in the third stanza with Henke bringing the Eagles within one, 33-32 when he connected on a three. But Rzcidulo and Zach Stec hit consecutive layups and Trail led 37-33 heading into the fourth. Mountain View attempted to mix things up defensively by going to a 2-3 zone.
“I thought our man had gotten a little stale and felt we needed to mix things up,” said Mountain View Coach Joe Gibbons.
Mountain View’s Jake Andzulis appeared to score and have a chance to convert a free throw when the officials ruled that another Eagle had touched the ball while in the cylinder thus nullifying the field goal. Andzulis instead hit one of two free throws.
The Eagles knotted the game at 39 when trailing by four Lackawanna Trail’s Zach Cost was called for a technical for taunting after a blocked shot. Schermerhorn converted both free throws and on the ensuing possession Ryan Henke hit Andzulis on the pick and roll.
That set the stage for Berrios’s to receive a pass 6 feet from the right elbow to take a 42-39 lead; and on the ensuing possession nailed his second field goal beyond the arc from 22 feet.
Schermerhorn fouled out with 2:27 to play and Mountain View down 51-43.
The resilient Eagles closed the game to 54-50 when Fanelli banked a three but two more Richard Helbig free throws finalized the score.
Fanelli led the way for Mountain View with 17 while Schermerhorn finished with 10. The Henke brothers chipped in with 8 each.
Despite the loss Gibbons was proud of how his troops hung in the game even making a run with Schermerhorn and Andzulis on the bench in the final minutes.
“If you told me before the game that we’d be down 10, with two starters down and we’d make a run, I’d had said you were crazy,” said Gibbons. “But that just shows the love these guys have for each other and the faith they have to fight.”
Holy Cross 75
Blue Ridge 47
Blue Ridge went into halftime with upset still on their minds, but a porous third quarter doomed the Raiders in their game against number one seed Holy Cross as they fell, 75-47.
Both teams came out with their offensives clicking as Holy Cross jumped out to a 21-16 lead after one quarter.
In the second quarter both defenses locked down and after a 10-10 draw, Blue Ridge trailed 31-26 at intermission.
However, the Crusaders erupted for 28 points in the third quarter to seize control of the game and outscored the Raiders 44-21 in the second half.
Kaleb Folk led Blue Ridge with 17 points and Carson Kohler added 10 and Sam Cosmello chipped in with 7.