NEPA Sports Nation

Perta helps Royals finish unbeaten

By Tom Robinson,

NANTICOKE – Burying 3-pointers while 20 feet away or fearlessly charging toward the basket, Zach Perta was nearly unstoppable for the bulk of the third quarter of the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 finale Feb. 9.

On a night when points were hard to come by, Perta made scoring look easy.

Perta’s 17 points in a span of 6:28 during the third quarter rallied Holy Redeemer past host Nanticoke, 48-33, allowing the Royals to complete a repeat of their Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 boys basketball championship.

The win also gave Holy Redeemer a final 12-0 record in the division, making it the only WVC basketball team boys or girls, to complete the season unbeaten.

Nanticoke led by eight twice in the second quarter and was up 24-17 when Ibn Jordan-Thomas took a steal the length of the court 28 seconds into the third quarter.

The Trojans scored just nine points in the remaining 15:32 and none until the last second of the third quarter.

In the meantime, Perta scored all but one basket of a game-deciding, 19-0 run.

“After my first shot went down, my teammates believed in me and got me open,” said Perta, who finished with 24 points. “They trusted every shot I took.”

Perta sandwiched 3-pointers from the left wing and right corner around making one of two free throws after taking the ball coast-to-coast. That tied the game with 5:42 left in the third.

A Perta drive put the Royals ahead, then Louis Lussi turned to a hit a 10-footer in the lane to make it 28-24.

In the final two minutes of the third quarter, Perta worked his way inside, nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key and worked with Darryl Wright complete the 19-point streak.

Perta deflected a pass to Wright, who then sent the ball to Perta on the fastbreak, resulting in a three-point play for a 36-24 lead.

Wright assisted six of the seven baskets during the streak.

Nanticoke had entered the final night of the WVC regular-season schedule with a chance to force a first-place tie and championship playoff.

As the second-place finisher, the Trojans still joined the Royals as the division’s representatives in the WVC Tournament Feb. 16 and 18. Holy Redeemer plays Pittston Area in the 6 p.m. semifinal opener at Wilkes-Barre Area, followed by Nanticoke vs. Division 1 champion Dallas at 7:30. The finals are scheduled for Dallas, along with the girls championship game.

Wright finished with seven assists while Kozerski had four steals for Holy Redeemer.

Jordan-Thomas led Nanticoke with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Jaidyn Johnson also scored 11 points.

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