The cinderella slipper did not fit for a pair of local boys’ basketball teams, who saw their seasons end the first night of District II play.
Susquehanna could not summon the upset magic of the previous week when they met Lackawanna Trail at the Xavier Center on the campus of Scranton Prep when the Lions defeated the Sabers 45-30.
Richard Helbing scored 18 points and Trail used a big third quarter to avenge the loss that eliminated Trail from Lackawanna League Division IV consideration.
Susquehanna had the early lead in the game taking a 9-8 first quarter lead behind Gavin Baker’s three points and three-pointer from both Jakub Tomczyk and Garrett Decker.
Trail was able to retake the lead before halftime as Helbing scored five points to overcome four points off the bench from Susquehanna’s Spencer Beamer and the Lions led 18-15.
After intermission Trail turned it up a notch adding defensive pressure holding Susquehanna to two field goals allowing their offense to get rolling as Brycen Decker and Owen Lisk combined for 10 points and pushed the lead to 36-21 heading into the final quarter.
“Their execution was really good, and their defense was more aggressive than the week before,” said Susquehanna Coach Lawrence Tompkins. “We got a lot of the same looks that just didn’t go in.”
The Sabers were able to get to the free throw line in the fourth quarter but could not muster enough momentum to stage a comeback.
Beamer led the way with eight points while Decker added seven. Tomczyk and fellow Senior Matt Phillips finished with six as they and classmate Charlie Towner capped their Saber careers.
“I’m really proud of our Seniors,” said Tompkins. “They came in without a lot of varsity experience because of the group they followed.”
Tompkins expressed his admiration for the Seniors patience and ability to replace a group that led Susquehanna to the division championship the prior season.
“They were part of a lot of big memorable moments for us this year,” “I’m really proud of what those three guys accomplished, being starters all season, they kind of maximized what they were capable of.”
Susquehanna had wins over division champion Mountain View as well as runner-up Trail.
“They had a very good season, going seven and five, finished solo in third place in our division, and (we) beat every team in our division once,” added Tompkins.
Despite having a better overall record than two of the teams seeded above them, due to the power ranking system used by District II, Blue Ridge found itself playing top seed Holy Cross.
The Crusaders demonstrated early why they are considered a faorite to repeat as District champions outscoring 23-8 in the first quarter and racing to a 40-14 halftime lead.
“They’re a really good basketball team, plain and simple,” said Blue Ridge Coach Casey Jenkins.
Early foul trouble also plagued the Raiders and allowed Holy Cross to win the battle of the boards and get into transition.
“Some of our bigs got into early foul trouble, and we’re short, physically, on our bench,” explained Jenkins. “They took advantage of that.”
Jenkins recognized his five Seniors – Ben Bleck, Tyler Hillard, Gavin Rosa, Gabe Waldowski, and Spencer Whitney
“That’s a great group of kids, good leadership, smart kids that worked hard,” said Jenkins.
Blue Ridge finished their season 9-14 overall with a 6-6 league in Division IV to finish fourth.
“I really think that’s what helped us to our nine wins, a group like that to steer us in the right direction,” observed Jenkins.