NEPA Sports Nation

Trojans top Hornets, capture second Division 2 title in 3 years

Pictured above: Keegan Litts

North Pocono needed 45 years to claim its previous 2 boys basketball division titles.

The Trojans have needed just three years to land the last two.

A.J. Nemitz led a balanced attack with 14 points and North Pocono turned to defensive pressure in the second half to rally past host Honesdale, 49-43, Friday night to capture the Lackawanna League Division 2 championship.

The Trojans had already clinched at least a tie for first place Tuesday when they beat Division 1 co-leader Valley View.

Honesdale led by six twice in the first quarter, by seven in the second quarter and then by eight midway through the third quarter.

North Pocono closed the game on a 17-4 run, including scoring the game’s last seven points while shutting out Honesdale after it had taken its last lead with 4:13 left.

“It was definitely a total team victory,” Trojans coach Pat Shields said. “On the defensive end, we turned up the pressure a lot in the middle of the third quarter. We only played six guys and all of them contributed.

“I don’t think we turned it over a lot. I don’t think we missed a ton of shots. Everybody did their job and did it well.”

Keegan Litts wrapped up a strong defensive game with two steals during the 17-4 finish while Nemitz, Matt Seidita and Chris Walsh had one each.

Walsh joined Nemitz in double figures, scoring 10 points. Ty LaFave added nine and Seidita had eight.

North Pocono did have some shooting struggles – from 3-point range (1-for-12) and the foul line (10-for-17).

The only 3-pointer came from an unlikely source.

Senior post player Ty LaFave hit from the left corner to beat the first-quarter buzzer and keep the Trojans within, 14-11.

North Pocono tied the game late in the second quarter, only to have Karter Kromko hit a 3-pointer for Honesdale with 13 seconds left for a 25-22 halftime lead.

Kromko led Honesdale with 12 points and Nathan Hugaboom added 10.

Noah West again ran the North Pocono offense.

West’s play throughout the season was one of the keys to the Trojans climbing back to the top in the first season after losing four-year starter, 1,000-point scorer and Division 2 Player of the Year Ryan Ruddy to graduation.

“The last four years, nobody else played the point but Ryan Ruddy,” Shields said. “Noah really rose to the occasion. He became a team leader and made the players around him better.

“That’s how we ended up having a better-than-expected season rather than just as expected or underachieving.”

North Pocono improved to 8-4 in the league, opening a three-game division lead over Honesdale and Wallenpaupack, and 12-9 overall.

Honesdale fell to 5-17 and 6-15.

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