NEPA Sports Nation

Nemitz finds range in Red victory

Game MVPs, Dylan Bezek from Forest City (Blue) and A.J. Nemitz from North Pocono (Red).

By Tom Robinson,

SCRANTON – A.J. Nemitz knows that in the regular season his green light for firing 3-pointers for North Pocono extended out to about 25 feet.

In Monday’s Lackawanna League Senior All-Star Boys Basketball Game, that was more like a starting point.

Nemitz went 3-for-3 from deep and his teammates added three more 3-pointers as the Red scored 24 points in the first 5 minutes on the way to a 122-111 victory over the Blue at Scranton High School.

“They give me some range, but normally not that far,” Nemitz said. “Maybe to about 25 feet, but it was getting near 30 there.”

Nemitz eventually cooled off some, but when he did, he also grabbed nine rebounds and shared the game’s assist lead with five on the way to landing the Most Valuable Player award for the Red team.

Defense was sporadic and seemed optional for much of the night in the all-star setting.

The challenges for the offense came in the degree of difficulty in dunk attempts and the distance from which many of the shots were taken while playing at a fast pace.

The teams combined to launch 137 attempts from beyond the arc and just 2 from the foul line.

Nemitz and Patrick Walsh from Abington Heights gave the Red the only two players to make half their 3-point attempts.

On a night when he never took a shot from inside the arc, Nemitz got his 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting. Walsh, another of the four players who shot exclusively from 3-point range, scored his nine points by going 3-for-6.

The Red finished 22-for-73 (30.1 percent) on 3s while the Blue was 13-for-64 (20.3).

“I didn’t expect a lot of defense, but it was fun playing with a lot of guys I had not played with for a while,” Nemitz said.

The fun for Nemitz extended to the opening tip when he lined up against his cousin, Mid Valley’s Danny Nemitz, as the two guards got the game started by taking on a role traditionally assigned to centers.

The Red ran out to 10-0, 15-4 and 24-12 leads, each on a Nemitz 3-pointer, during a start that also included 3-pointers by North Pocono’s Chris Walsh and Valley View teammates Eli Yusavage and A.J. Kucharski.

Red opened a 66-52 halftime lead, but Blue tied the game at 89-89 with a 37-point third quarter.

Blue used a 26-8 run in less than five minutes to grab a 97-89 lead with 8:35 to play.

West Scranton’s Tristan Lee tied the game at 101-101 on a dunk midway through the fourth quarter and A.J. Nemitz followed by finding his range again on the basket that put Red ahead to stay.

Lee led Red with 18 points and 13 rebounds. He was one of the team’s eight double-figures scorers and one of the three double-figures rebounders that led to a 73-64 advantage on the boards.

Yusavage had 13 points and 5 assists. Chris Walsh, who grabbed 10 rebounds, and Honesdale’s Karter Kromko scored 12 points each. Valley View’s L.V. Pegula had 11 points and Scranton Prep’s James Pettinato 10.

Patrick Walsh had 11 rebounds and 4 assists to go along with his 9 points.

Forest City’s D.J. Heath scored all 10 of his points during the Blue’s 37-23 third quarter.

Teammate Dylan Bezek was the Blue MVP as the game’s most effective and consistent dunker on the way to 18 points.

Joey Macciocco from Old Forge and Gabe Gonzales from Holy Cross each scored 15 points for the Blue.

Lakeland’s Tony Hazelton added nine points while leading the team in rebounds (seven) and assists (five).

The winning Red team was made up of Division 1 and 2 players and coached by Valley View’s Mike Kurpis.

The Blue team, featuring Division 3 and 4 players, was coached by Forest City’s John Duffy.

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