NEPA Sports Nation

Boys basketball playoff analysis: District 2 Class 3A

By Tom Robinson,

FORMAT: There are eight teams for a three-round tournament. Higher seeds host the quarterfinals and semifinals before the final is played at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. Both finalists will advance to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament.

2022 RECAP: Holy Redeemer routed Riverside, 52-28, in the championship game. The only lower seed to win during the tournament was when fifth-seeded Carbondale beat fourth-seeded Lakeland, 54-45, in the quarterfinals.

HIGHEST SEEDS: 1. Holy Redeemer; 2, Mid Valley; 3, Old Forge; 4, Riverside.

REGULAR-SEASON CHAMPION: Holy Redeemer won the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 title with a 12-0 record and captured the WVC Tournament title.

RANKED TEAMS: Holy Redeemer has been the top-ranked Small School boys team in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Basketball Power Rankings of District 2 teams since the second week of the season. Old Forge is third, Mid Valley fourth and Riverside sixth. Carbondale and Lakeland have been ranked during the season and Dunmore was ranked in the preseason.

WINNING RECORDS: Holy Redeemer 22-2, Mid Valley 17-5, Old Forge 16-5, Riverside 13-9, Carbondale 12-10.

BEST OPENER: Dunmore is the seventh seed and Mid Valley is second, but the last time they played at Mid Valley less than a month ago, Dunmore led most of the way. The Bucks were ahead into the final 10 seconds before a Jakob Lesher layup proved to be the game-winner when Dunmore could not hit on the game’s final shot.

KEY GAME: The bracket features six of the teams from the highly competitive Division 3 of the Lackawanna League. Each of those teams won at least 3 times and lost at least 3 in the 12-game division schedule. The division teams fill one half of the bracket and the semifinal between the Lakeland-Old Forge and Dunmore-Mid Valley winners will determine a district finalist. More importantly, with prohibitive favorite Holy Redeemer likely to be the final opponent, the game determines a spot in the state tournament.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jacob Hunter, Zach Perta, Darryl Wright and Jeff Kozerski from Holy Redeemer; Danny Nemitz and Ricky Vinansky from Mid Valley; Joey Macciocco and Anthony Mucciolo from Old Forge; Frankie Antoniacci from Riverside; Jaymire Allen from Carbondale; Tony Hazelton from Lakeland; Cullen Smith from Dunmore; Isaiah Stull from Wyoming Seminary.

NOTEWORTHY: Holy Redeemer comes in on a 17-game winning streak and with the district’s best overall record at 22-2. The Royals lost only to two quality Class 6A teams. Spring-Ford is 20-2 and the top seed in District 1 while Williamsport is 18-4 and the top seed in the District 2-4 Class 6A Subregional. … Holy Redeemer’s Jacob Hunter is coming off a 30-point game in a win over WVC Division 1 champion Dallas for the WVC Tournament title. … Old Forge’s Joey Macciocco, the only returning all-state boys player in District 2, is coming off a career-high, 42-point game against Mid Valley, which is more than 12 teams have managed against the Spartans defense. … Mid Valley’s Nemitz went over 1,000 points for his career. … Riverside finished fourth, at .500, in the division, but had a big say in the Lackawanna Division 3 title race, beating each of the three teams it finished behind. The Vikings handed eventual champion Holy Cross one of its only two losses, then helped the Crusaders by knocking Mid Valley out of sole possession of the lead. … Mid Valley was a district finalist in Class 4A last season, but dropped down when the PIAA did its review of enrollment figures for the new two-year cycle. … Holy Redeemer reached the state semifinals where it lost in overtime last season. Old Forge, then a Class 2A team, made its second straight appearance in the state semifinals. … Old Forge has won six straight.

QUOTABLE: Holy Redeemer coach Paul Guido after his team won the WVC Tournament Saturday night: “I’m really happy with where the team is at right now.”

Old Forge’s Macciocco on playing in a higher classification: “We know it’s going to be different. We know it’s going to be tougher, but we’re ready for the challenge. We’re still upset about falling short the last two years. We don’t think it changes much. We still have the same goal of making it to the state championship. It’s just a new challenge.”

Follow us on social media