NEPA Sports Nation

BULLETIN: Spoilers help decide titles; champs make WVC final

Coach Al Callejas cuts down the net at Holy Cross after Crusaders earned they won Lackawanna League Division 3.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Wyoming Valley Conference held its boys basketball tournament semifinals while the Lackawanna League was completing its boys regular season Thursday night. While compiles more complete reports, here is a quick recap of the night’s most important developments.

By Tom Robinson,

PLAINS TWP. – While division champions thrived in the Wyoming Valley Conference Tournament, division champions emerged without a playoff in the Lackawanna League as the result of upsets on the final night of the regular season.

Dallas and Holy Redeemer set up a marquee matchup in the WVC Tournament with semifinal wins Thursday night at Wilkes-Barre Area.

Potential District 2 Class 2A championship game opponents Holy Cross and Blue Ridge celebrated when the two Lackawanna small-school division titles were decided earlier than expected.

With preparations being made for Saturday playoffs to decide those divisions, the Crusaders and Raiders instead wrapped up championships when Old Forge and Elk Lake took out the last of their competition.

Holy Redeemer, the only boys team in District 2 to make it through its league schedule undefeated, finished strong to beat Pittston Area, 48-35, in the WVC Tournament opener.

Dallas trailed most of the first three quarters before getting its running game loose in the fourth quarter for a 61-51 victory over Nanticoke.

Holy Cross had already completed its league schedule and clinched at least a tie for first place.

Instead of meeting Mid Valley for the title Saturday, the Crusaders finished a game in front when all-stater Joey Macciocco broke loose for a career-high 42 points to lead Old Forge past Mid Valley, 64-52.

Blue Ridge and Forest City entered the night tied for first place in Division 4.

Their Saturday championship game to also decide their season series never materialized.

Blue Ridge opened a 36-point halftime lead in a 70-30 rout of Montrose as Carson Gallagher set the school 3-pointers record for the second straight game.

Then, the Raiders gathered on the court and watched a live stream from a team scout at Elk Lake as the first championship – district, league or division – in the school’s 70-year history fell into place.

Elk Lake was unable to add a third straight title, but it was able to impact the championship race.

The Warriors jumped in front of Forest City, fought off a comeback and beat the Foresters, 61-53, as Isaac Gesford went 7-for-8 from the line in the fourth quarter.

Holy Redeemer, the No. 1 Small Schools boys team in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Basketball Power Rankings of District 2 teams, got 12 points each from Jacob Hunter and Zach Perta.

Hunter went 4-for-5 on 3-pointers, including one at the third-quarter buzzer to double the lead to six.

George Sabatini came off the bench to hit his first four shots and add 10 points.

Darius Wallace scored nine points and Michael Bufalino hit two 3-pointers while adding eight points as Big School No. 1 Dallas was shooting 80 percent (8-for-10) in the fourth quarter.

Wallace finished with 19 points. He was 7-for-9 from the floor, 2-for-3 on 3-pointers and 3-for-3 from the line and had a breakaway dunk to punctuates the late, clinching run.

Bufalino had 17 points.

Holy Cross ended its regular season with a non-league game against visiting Mountain View.

The Crusaders honored their seniors and the career of coach Al Callejas in pregame ceremonies, ripped through the Eagles for a 65-31 victory, then celebrated the division title.

With in-game public address announcements of the Old Forge-Mid Valley score and the ability of some fans to access a local television broadcast of the game, the possibility of a title was known by the time Holy Cross finished on the court.

Gabe Gonzales led the way in the win with 14 points and the Crusaders hung around to cut down the nets when their title became official.

Macciocco matched Mid Valley’s point production in each of the first two quarters as Old Forge built a 27-15 halftime lead. He kept the Blue Devils in front with 16 points in the third quarter, then 11 more in the fourth when he was 5-for-5 from the line.

Gallagher, who had six second-half 3-pointers and a school-record eight total in the game, Saturday night when Blue Ridge rallied from 14 down to win a non-league game against Wyoming Seminary, was hot again. He hit six more 3-pointers for 18 points, making four of them in the first half.

Tonight’s 3-point baskets increased Gallagher’s season total to 67.

Connor Cranage led the way with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Gesford led Elk Lake with 14 points. Dawson Sherman had all 13 of his in the first half, including 10 in the first quarter.


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