NEPA Sports Nation

Seidita gives North Pocono control of lead in Lackawanna Division 2

By Tom Robinson,

COVINGTON TWP. – Matt Seidita’s 20 points and 8 rebounds both led North Pocono Tuesday night, but it was a defensive play he made that helped finish off Wallenpaupack for a 56-45 victory that put the Trojans in sole possession of the Lackawanna League Division 2 boys basketball lead.

The Buckhorns had trimmed a 18-point, third-quarter deficit all the way to four early in the fourth quarter.

Wallenpaupack was still within five midway through the fourth when the North Pocono defense forced a loose ball near midcourt. Seidita dove to get it and, in one motion, was able to flip a pass a pass Noah West streaking down the middle for a breakaway layup.

Seidita followed the defensive gem with a three-point play and later added a free throw in the 9-0 run he sparked to create a 56-42 lead with 40.5 seconds left.

“He’s looking for his offense, specifically that middle-range jump shot,” North Pocono coach Pat Shields said. “He must have hit three or four of them in the second half. They were all big shots and they were all nothing but net.

“We’re real happy to see him have some success with that.”

Seidita made all five of his shots from the floor in the second half, making him 9-for-12 in the game, and two of his three free throws.

With Seidita scoring eight points in the fourth quarter and Honesdale losing at home to Scranton, North Pocono claimed the division lead for itself. The Trojans improved to 4-1 in the league and 8-5 overall.

Wallenpaupack could have created a three-way tie for first with a win. The defending champion Buckhorns are 2-3 and 7-7.

The two teams currently occupy the bottom two spots in the seedings race for what will be a loaded, seven-team field in the District 2 Class 5A playoffs.

In the meantime, they are again figuring prominently in a title race they have kept between them in the past four seasons with the Buckhorns winning the division three times and North Pocono claiming the title in 2021.

The Trojans again have the upperhand after controlling the boards and disrupting the Buckhorns early with pressure defense.

Chris Walsh had three steals while Seidita, A.J. Nemitz, Ty Lafave and Evan Hrobuchak all had two for a defense that forced 17 turnovers.

“I think defense is our identity across the board,” Shields said. “We lost a lot of offense around here the last three years. We’ve had some really good scorers.

“But, these guys are doing a good job and defense is where it starts.”

The Trojans needed it on a night when the offense was inconsistent and suffered through a 1-for-15 effort from beyond the arc.

West joined Seidita in double figures with 14 points.

Nemitz hit the only 3-pointer while adding nine points.

Lafave grabbed seven rebounds, Walsh dished out five assists.

Those five starters all scored during a 20-3, first-half run to a 22-6 lead with 5:34 left in the half.

North Pocono scored seven straight after Drew Keisendahl’s 3-pointer gave Wallenpaupack its only lead, 3-2.

Following a 3-pointer by Wallenpaupack’s Jake Holbert, who had game-highs of 24 points and 9 rebounds, the Trojans scored 13 more in a row.

Holbert worked inside for a basket before Nemitz hit his 3-pointer for the half’s biggest lead, 25-8.

Seidita built the lead even higher with a foul line jumper to open the half for a 33-15 lead.

Wallenpaupack fought back behind 15 points by Holbert in the third quarter and another basket from him to open the fourth. When Justin Blanding followed with a 3-pointer, the Buckhorns run was at 22-10 and the Trojans lead was down to 41-37.

Seidita settled the Trojans with a 10-footer from the right side and an elbow jumper, all before his defensive play halted the Wallenpaupack comeback.

Kiesendahl finished with seven rebounds while Blanding had six assists and three steals for the Buckhorns.

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