NEPA Sports Nation

Wolfpack hands Mounts WVC loss

Much of the basketball attention in District 2 Tuesday was placed on the 25 tournament games involving district teams.

There were also a pair of non-league games played, but the single most important result of the day may have been in the one and only conference game on a schedule – a make-up of a postponed opener from last week.

Wilkes-Barre Area ruined Dallas’ perfect record, recovering after letting a double-figures, fourth-quarter led get away to defeat the defending champion Mountaineers, 68-63, in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 boys basketball opener.

The Wolfpack won its second straight after an 0-5 start. The Mountaineers, ranked second among Big Schools in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Power Rankings of District 2 teams, lost for the first time after a 5-0 start.

Dallas used a 19-1, fourth-quarter run to take a five-point lead, only to have Wilkes-Barre Area score the game’s final 10 points.

That wasn’t even the longest streak of the night for the Wolfpack, which ran off 12 in a row to go from a mid-third quarter tie to a 54-42 lead a minute into the fourth quarter. The lead reached 57-44 before Dallas came racing back.

Four different players provided the Wolfpack baskets that halted the comeback.

David Jannuzzi hit a floating jumper from the right wing with 1:30 left to stop the Dallas surge and pull Wilkes-Barre Area back within 63-0.

Melvin Egbeto hit the tying 3-pointer with 48 seconds left when Waarithi Oseni kicked it out from the post.

Brandon Benjamin nailed the game-winner from the right corner with 18 seconds left.

The Wolfpack was helped along by the Mountaineers going 0-for-3 on free throws between the 58.9- and 38.6-second marks.

When Dallas was way off the mark on a tying 3-point attempt, Wilkes-Barre Area gained possession under its defensive basket with 5.2 seconds left.

Oseni got loose to pull in a long in-bounds pass and score on the breakaway about a second before the buzzer sounded.

The players in the game-ending streak were also Wilkes-Barre Area’s double-figures scorers for the game.

Egbeto finished with a team-high 16 points.

Januzzi (12) Oseni (11) and Benjamin (11) were the other leaders. Benjamin grabbed 12 rebounds while Oseni had 8.

Mikey Cumbo led Dallas with 23 points. Michael Bufalino added 15 and Darius Wallace had 14.

Bufalino scored 10 points in the first quarter while Egbeto had seven for Wilkes-Barre Area. The quarter ended in a 17-17 tie.

The Wolfpack outscored the Mountaineers, 16-9, in the second quarter for a 33-26 halftime lead.

Jannuzzi had 9 second-half points for Wilkes-Barre Area while Cumbo had 14 and Wallace 12 for Dallas.

In addition to their scores in the closing 10-0 run, Egbeto, Waarithi and Jannuzzi each had two other points in the fourth quarter.

Dallas suffered from 44-percent foul shooting (11-for-25). Cumbo was 7-for-9 while the rest of the Mountaineers went 4-for-16. They were 1-for-8 as a team in the fourth quarter.

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