NEPA Sports Nation

Boys basketball playoff analysis: District 2 Class 4A

By Tom Robinson,

FORMAT: The eight-team, three-round tournament uses home courts of higher seeds in the quarterfinals, semifinals and third-place game before moving to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for the final. The top three teams advance to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament.

SCHEDULE CHANGE: The quarterfinal round was moved back from Wednesday to Thursday because of weather.

2022 RECAP: Dallas defeated Mid Valley, 61-53, for the championship. Scranton Prep defeated Nanticoke, 52-45, for third place. All eight games were won by the higher seed.

HIGHEST SEEDS: 1. Valley View; 2. Scranton Prep; 3. Nanticoke; 4. Tunkhannock.

REGULAR-SEASON CHAMPIONS: Valley View won the Lackawanna League Division 1 title.

RANKED TEAMS: Valley View is first and Nanticoke is sixth among Big School boys in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Power Rankings of District 2 teams. Valley View and Tunkhannock were ranked earlier in the season.

BEST OPENER: Scranton Prep has six more wins while facing a tougher schedule, enters the tournament five seeds higher and is playing at home. All that should add up to clear favoritism for the Cavaliers. The last meeting on the same court, however, resulted in a 64-63 upset by Honesdale just 16 days ago.

KEY GAME: Valley View is among the toughest, if not, the single toughest defensive team in the district. All five Cougars – and that means all five on the court, including key subs, can defend man-to-man. Tunkhannock may not be the most steady, but it is without question among the most explosive offensive teams in the district. When the Tigers get in a rhythm from beyond the arc, they go from a .500 team to a championship-level threat, even if for just one night.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Eli Yusavage, A.J. Kucharski and Taheed Jewell from Valley View; James Pettinato and Daniel Santaniello from Scranton Prep; Jaidyn Johnson and Ibn Jordan-Thomas from Nanticoke; Ben Chilson and Dylan Mateus from Tunkhannock; Elijah Noe and Sedrick Beasley from Hanover Area; Dane Schutter from Wyoming Area; Nathan Hugaboom from Honesdale; Sean Murphy from Berwick.

NOTEWORTHY: There will be new finalists this season. Dallas has moved up to Class 5A while Mid Valley has dropped to 3A. … Valley View on the Lackawanna Division 1 title in a playoff with Abington Heights and held the Comets to their two lowest-scoring nights of the season in two late-season victories. … Nanticoke has a rarity in the modern game; an offense built around two strong post players, Jaidyn Johnson and Ibn Jordan-Thomas. … Potential semifinal opponent Scranton Prep has the ability to use multiple lineups, including big men to try matching up with Nanticoke. … While Ibn-Thomas is a ferocious offensive rebounder, Valley View features one of the most sound defensive rebounders in Kyle Rupp. … This bracket also features some of the district’s most effective scorers in 1,000-point scorers Murphy and Chilson along with Johnson and Schutter.

QUOTABLE: Valley View coach Mike Kurpis on his team’s transition game: “Let the athletes take over. When A.J., Taheed and Eli are in the open court, they score much easier.”

Follow us on social media