NEPA Sports Nation

Freedom holds off Mid Valley

By Tom Robinson,

PLAINS – Aaron Levy scored 12 points and made 4 steals Friday to help Bethlehem Freedom turn back a Mid Valley comeback and escape with a 46-44 victory in the opener of the first Wilkes-Barre Area Tip-Off Tournament.

Mid Valley will play the host Wolfpack for third place Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Bethlehem Freedom will face Holy Redeemer for the title at 7.

The Spartans overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to tie the game, 39-39, with three minutes left, but the Patriots went 7-for-8 from the line down the stretch.

Levy hit both ends of a one-and-one with 2:05 left for a 45-39 lead.

Ricky Vinansky scored 29 points to lead Mid Valley and combined with Danny Nemitz to lead the comeback attempt.

VInansky had 12 of Mid Valley’s 14 points in the first quarter, which ended with Freedom ahead by a point.

The Patriots pulled away late in the second quarter for a 33-20 halftime lead.

Bethlehem Freedom lost Nick Ellis, its top scorer the past two seasons, to a lower leg injury with less than a second remaining in the half.

Two eight-point streaks brought the Spartans back.

Vinansky hit a 3-pointer from the left corner and scored on a putback in the first 41 seconds of the third quarter.

Nemitz, who finished with 12 points, then hit a 3-pointer to make it 33-28 just 1:10 into the third quarter.

Mid Valley did not allow a field goal for the first 8:32 of the second half and got within 35-31 after three quarters.

The next eight-point streak, in a span of 1:33 midway through the fourth, forced the tie.

Nemitz and Vinansky hit consecutive 3-pointers, then Nemitz went coast-to-coast for the tie.

Jaden Tillett added 11 points and 5 assists for Freedom. He hit one of two fee throws with 18.4 seconds left for a 46-42 lead.

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