NEPA Sports Nation

Cougars post OT win over Knights

Valley View earned a second chance with a series of clutch plays in the last 30 seconds of regulation Friday night and turned that into a 61-58, home-court victory over Scranton to keep pace with Abington Heights in Lackawanna League Division 1 boys basketball.

Eli Yusavage scored a team-high 16 points and had the blocked shot that started the late recovery.

A.J. Kucharski added 15 points and 7 rebounds while L.V. Pegula scored 12 points and hit the buzzer-beating, 3-pointer to force overtime.

Kucharski then scored four points in overtime when Yusavage, Kyle Rupp and Connor Hilling had two each.

No. 2 Valley View set up an important Tuesday game at No. 1 Abington Heights for sole possession of the Division 1 lead in a meeting of the top two Big School boys teams in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Basketball Power Rankings of District 2 teams.

Scranton lost its third straight, including its second straight overtime game to one of the top two teams to begin league play. The Knights are 3-6 overall.

Valley View and Abington Heights are both 2-0 in the division going into Tuesday’s meeting of teams that are 9-1 to share the best boys overall records in District 2.

Oliver Almonte scored 20 points and Rykeese Cenord added 13 for Scranton.

Cenord’s steal led to a drive and three-point play for a 51-46 Scranton lead with 32.6 seconds left.

Yusavage’s drive made it 51-48 with 27.7 seconds remaining.

The Cougars got the ball back after a missed free throw by the Knights, but turned it over.

Chris Chandler made a steal and was heading in for a layup that would have put Valley View in serious trouble, but Yusavage caught him from behind to block the ball at the rim.

With time running out, the Cougars twice passed up chances to score two points to make sure they had a shot at the tie.

Kucharski backed up to the corner, but his 3-pointer was no good.

Rupp grabbed the offensive rebound in the lane, but passed up the layup and located Pegula at the arc on the left wing where he launched the tying shot just before time expired.

Valley View trailed again when Almonte hit two free throws with 3:27 left in overtime, but the Cougars scored the next six points and did not trail again.

Rupp tied it on a putback. Kucharski completed a give-and-go with Yusavage by taking the ball strong to the basket to put Valley View ahead to stay. Yusavage scored a layup off a Taheed Jewell feel to make it 57-53 midway through the four-minute overtime period.

Tony Battaglia’s foul-line jumper for Scranton cut the deficit to two with 1:29 left, but Kucharski made two free throws with 46.6 seconds remaining for a 59-55 lead.

Dillon Lazdowsky made a 3-pointer from the right corner with 35 seconds left to pull the Knights within one.

Hilling made two free throws to restore the three-point lead.

Scranton had the ball in the frontcourt, but was trapped in the corner, so the Knights used a timeout with 13.6 seconds left to set up their last try to tie.

The Knights had two 3-point tries hit the rim in the last four seconds.


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