NEPA Sports Nation

Dallas defeats Scranton Prep

By Tom Robinson,

DALLAS TWP. – Mixing deep 3-pointers with easy baskets off of steals and the running game, Dallas took control of Tuesday night’s non-league meeting of ranked boys basketball teams with a 13-point run in the middle of the second quarter.

The Mountaineers used the same formula, to varying degrees of efficiency, to remain in command the rest of the way for a 62-50 victory over visiting Scranton Prep.

Darius Wallace, Jude Nocito and Cameron Faux each hit 3-pointers in the run that also included Wallace scoring off a steal and Faux converting a Nicholas Williams feed in the transition game. By the time the Mountaineers were done, they had a 30-15 lead with 2:32 left in the half.

Following the streak, Dallas, which had taken the lead for good at 3-2 less than two minutes into the game, kept the advantage between 10 and 18 the rest of the way.

Dallas, now a Class 5A team, won the District 2 Class 4A title last season, ending streaks of five straight district championships in 4A and seven straight overall by Scranton Prep. The defending Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 and Tournament champion Mountaineers are 3-0 and ranked second among Big Schools in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Basketball Power Rankings of District 2 teams.

Scranton Prep (2-1) is ranked fifth.

“Tonight made us a better team,” Dallas coach Mark Belenski said.

Dallas has won its three games despite playing without all-star forward Mikey Cumbo, who Belenski said might be ready to return from injury for Saturday’s game against Athens.

Darius Wallace led the Mountaineers Tuesday with 18 points, 5 assists and 4 steals, but he had plenty of help, not just in the game’s biggest run. Dallas had four players score in double figures and another nearly reach double figures in rebounds.

“Darius has been playing well,” Belenski said. “He had a great summer.

“Again, it’s our team concept. We don’t talk about individuals. We talk about our team. Tonight, it was our team. We shared the ball well. Everybody scored. We played defense aggressively. We got loose balls.

“I’m proud of what we did.”

Dallas forced 14 turnovers and only allowed 2 Scranton Prep offensive rebounds in the first half while building a 34-20 lead.

“Second half, we gave up too many second shots, but that’s something we can work on,” Belenski said.

Michael Bufalino went 5-for-7 from the floor, hitting his two 3-point attempts, while adding 16 points and 2 blocked shots in the win.

Faux, coming off seven 3-pointers Saturday against Boys’ Latin Charter from Philadelphia, was 3-for-4 from long range while adding 12 points.

Nocito hit two 3-pointers while finishing with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.

The Mountaineers hit half of their 3-point attempts, going 8-for-16.

Williams grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

Scranton Prep also showed offensive balance.

James Pettinato, Chase Scanlan and Brycen Martin shared the team scoring lead with 10 points. Three other players added at least six points.

Pettinato also led the Cavaliers in rebounds with seven and assists with four while making two steals.

Kellen Casey had a team-high three steals along with six points and three assists.

Daniel Santaniello came off the bench to lead one of Scranton Prep’s best stretches of the second half. He got to the offensive boards three times and turned that into five straight Cavaliers’ points in the last 2:12 of the third quarter after the deficit had ballooned to 18.

The Cavaliers closed to within 10 with 2:05 left and again with 56.7 seconds remaining before Faux hit a daring 3-pointer with 44 seconds left to stop the rally.

Santaniello finished with eight points and six rebounds.

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