NEPA Sports Nation

Today in NEPA Sports Nation, 2/15

Hazleton Area and Dallas each handled the other in a decisive home-court victory.

Each also won all but one of its other Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 boys games.

Now, they will meet on a neutral court to determine the division championship in the first divisional playoff game held around District 2 as the transition from regular season to postseason basketball begins.

The Cougars and Mountaineers play Tuesday night at 7:30 at Pittston Area, the home court of the team that finished one game behind them in a tight Division 1 race.

Hazleton Area led the division for much of the season. Dallas comes in as the hotter team and the new No. 1 Big School boys team in the most recent My City Mortgage Super Six Basketball Power Rankings of District 2 teams.

Fourth-ranked Hazleton Area is 18-4 overall and has won three straight since letting its division lead get away.

Dallas is 18-3 and on a 12-game winning streak.

Both went 12-2 in the division.

Hazleton Area handed Dallas its first league loss, 66-52, Jan. 13.

The Cougars took a 24-10 lead in the first quarter.

Khalid Morrieson led four double-figures scorers with 16 points.

Josian Guerra had 8 points in the big first quarter, finished with 15 points and also had a strong defensive game that included 3 steals and 3 blocked shots.

Eliud Lopez contributed 10 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.

Luke Gennaro added 10 points.

Austin Finarelli (18), Nick Nocito (16) and Michael Cumbo (15) all scored in double figures for Dallas.

Dallas then lost its next game against Wilkes-Barre Area.

Hazleton Area had the same experience, following up its first league loss Feb. 1 at Dallas, 72-56, by also losing the next game, against Pittston Area.

Similar to the game at Hazleton Area, host Dallas took control early in the rematch, taking a 24-13 lead after one quarter.

Nocito scored 10 of his 12 points in the quarter.

Cumbo led the win with 23 points, hitting five 3-pointers.

Finarelli added 20.

Guerra (18), Gennaro (11) and Joe Marshall (10) scored in double figures for Hazleton Area.

There are also some significant late regular-season girls basketball games on the schedule.

Wilkes-Barre Area (11-2, 17-3) will look to bounce back from having its WVC Division 1 lead get away in a Monday overtime loss at Pittston Area. The Wolfpack needs a win at home against Crestwood (3-9, 8-11) to tie Pittston Area for first place and force a playoff for that title.

Defending champion Montrose (9-0, 12-5) can clinch at least a tie for the Lackawanna Division 4 title with a win at Susquehanna (4-6, 8-11).

Scranton Prep, already the Division 1 champion, can complete its fifth straight perfect Lackawanna League season. The Classics (12-0, 17-3) are home in a Division 1-2 crossover against Honesdale (6-6, 9-11).

The full District 2 basketball schedule can be found at:

The District 2 sports schedule also includes wrestling and boys and girls swimming.

Back Mountain rivals meet in a non-league wrestling match when Dallas goes to Lake-Lehman.

Abington Heights is at Elk Lake in Lackawanna League swimming. In both cases, a winning team faces a .500 team.

In the boys meet, Abington Heights is 5-2 and Elk Lake 3-3. The Elk Lak girls are 4-3 and Abington Heights is 4-4.

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