Above, Old Forge’s Tony Goodall (5) drives to the hoop as Riverside’s Jerry Kincel defends in the sold-out Devils Den on Tuesday night. Below left, Tim McGrath (22) has his shot blocked by Riverside’s Michael King (14). Below right, Old Forge’s Bill Nocera (13) comes up with a loose ball.photos by BILL TARUTIS
Above, Wyoming Area’s Cody Gates fights with Holy Redeemer’s Peter Alexis for possession of the ball. Below left, Joe Adonizio (3) defends a Royals player. Below right, Jordan Zezza (15) drives to the basket for the Warriors.photos by charlotte bartizek
Riverside flexed its muscles late in the fourth quarter as the arch-rival Vikings outlasted Old Forge, 50-38, to give the Blue Devils their first loss of the season in front of a sold out crowd on Tuesday night in the Elio Ghigiarelli Gymnasium in Old Forge.
The Vikings looked like they would take control of the contest early as Tommy Armillay gave the visitors an early 6-0 lead after banging back-to-back three pointers to start the game as Riverside corralled two offensive rebounds during their first two possessions of the game.
But the Blue Devils came right back as Tim McGrath found Dom Avvisato for a layup before drilling two free throws to get Old Forge within 6-4 with 3:59 left in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils dug in for the next four minutes and took the lead as Tony Goodall made 1-of-2 free throws and Avvisato drained two free throws of his own to give Old Forge its only lead of the game, 7-6, with 1:41 to go in the opening stanza.
The lead was short-lived as Kyle Walsh scored his only bucket of the game at the 1:00 mark before Jaron Vishnesky buried his only basket of the game – a three-pointer – with eight seconds left to give Riverside an 11-7 lead to end the first period.
Riverside leading-scorer Jerry Kincel scored six of the Vikings 10 second-quarter points, including a fall-away 15-footer with 25 seconds before halftime to give the Lackawanna League Division II favorites a 21-14 lead at intermission. Mario Martinelli kept the Blue Devils in the game in the second quarter, scoring seven of his team-high 12 points during the period.
Goodall opened the third quarter with his only field goal of the game to get Old Forge within five points, but the Vikings went on an 11-5 run to open a 32-21 lead with 1:21 left in the third quarter. Junior guard Michel King keyed the run with eight points, including two three-pointers.
Connor Fultz and Martinelli got the deficit back to seven points for the Blue Devils with back-to-back buckets in the paint as Old Forge got within 32-25 to end the third quarter.
Martinelli continued to put Old Forge on his back in the fourth, with a jumper on a feed from Dave Argust to get the Blue Devils with 32-27 to open the fourth.
But it would be Kincel who put the dagger in every Old Forge attempt at a comeback.
The 6’2 forward answered Martinelli’s score with a bucket of his own, and then scored again after Fultz got the lead back to five on an assist from McGrath.
Six possessions later, Fultz went high off the glass after corralling an offensive rebound to get Old Forge within 38-34 with 3:41 left in the game, and send the home crowd into a frenzy.
The Blue Devils then got a stop on defense to try to cut the deficit to just two points, but Kincel again came up big. The junior stepped in front of Fultz at the Riverside foul line on the ensuing inbound for a steal before finishing with a layup, giving the Vikes a six-point advantage.
Old Forge got the deficit to four again when McGrath made both ends of a 1-and-1 with 2:30 remaining to get the Blue Devils within 40-36. But Riverside let its lead get no smaller as Joe Rowe scored against the Old Forge press on the ensuing possessions, and Kincel followed with a basket and two free throws to push the Riverside lead to 46-37 with 1:19 left.
Kincel scored 10 of his game-high 16 points in the final stanza as the Vikings ended the game with a10-2 run over the final 2:30.
Goodall added 10 points for the Blue Devils, and Fultz and Avvisato chipped in with six points each.
Armillay finished with 12 points for Riverside, and King added 10.
Riverside also won the JV game, 36-31. Nico Munley led the Vikes with 12 points. Dave Chromey scored 11 for Old Forge.
Pittston Area used a strong first half to blow past Berwick, 62-33, in the Wyoming Valley Conference opener for both teams on Tuesday night in Berwick.
The Patriots ran out to a 35-16 lead at the half and never looked back as they buried the Bulldogs in the crossover matchup.
Steve Sklanka scored 14 points for Pittston Area, and Steve Stravinski added 12 points. Jordan Houseman and Joe Coyne chipped in with 11 points each for the Patriots.
WVC Division II favorite Holy Redeemer was too much for Wyoming Area to handle on opening night in Wyoming Valley Conference play as the Royals ran away with a 59-37 victory over the Warriors on Tuesday night in Exeter.
Wyoming Area fell behind early as Redeemer ran out to a 22-6 lead after the first eight minutes. The Royals extended its lead in the second quarter with a 15-4 run as it played 15 different players in the first half as it took a 37-10 lead into intermission.
The Warriors played a better second half, outscoring Redeemer, 27-22, in the final 16 minutes of action.
Cody Gates led the Warriors with 10 points. Mike Carey and Lou Vullo each scored five points for WA.
Editor’s Note: Friday’s games were postponed to Saturday after Dispatch deadlines. Check next week’s issue for full reports.
PA v. Coughlin
WA v. Berwick
OF at Valley View
PA at Hazleton
WA v. Dallas
OF v. Dunmore