Above, Old Forge’s Connor Fultz, front, snags a rebound and gets fouled by a Riverside player as teammate Dominick Avvisato closes in last Saturday afternoon in Taylor. Below left, Wyoming Area’ Lou Vullo takes a shot against Hazleton on Friday night, and below right, PA’s Steve Sklanka drives past a Coughlin defender in Wilkes-Barre on Friday night.OF/WA photos by BILL TARUTIS PA photo by charlotte bartizek
In typical Old Forge-Riverside fashion, Saturday’s Coaches v. Cancer Lackawanna League tipoff game was an emotional roller costar of back-and-forth action for 32 minutes. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils the game ended in a valley rather than a peak.
Playing in front of a sold out crowd at Riverside’s Patrick C. Riviello Gymnasium, the Vikings outlasted Old Forge, 41-38, to sweep the season series and take command of the Lackawanna League Division II second-half race.
Riverside took a 9-7 lead after the first quarter, and extended its lead to 16-11 with 3:43 left in the first half as senior Joe Rowe scored nine points for the Vikings.
The Blue Devils battled back to tie the game at 19-19 with 1:36 left in the second quarter as Mario Martinelli drilled back-to-back three-pointers and Dom Avvisato scored on a reverse layup.
The Vikings took the lead at the half as Cody Mackin scored his only field goal of the game with 10 seconds remaining in the half. Old Forge played most of the second-quarter without leading scorer Tony Goodall who picked up his third personal foul early in the second quarter.
Goodall tied the game to start the third quarter with a short jumper from the wing, but Jaron Vishnesky added a bucket and LLD2 leading-scorer Jerry Kincel buried his second three-pointer of the game to push the Vikings lead to 26-21 with 6:08 left in the third.
Less than a minute later Goodall was sent to the bench with his fourth foul and Kincel scored on an offensive rebound for a 28-21 Riverside lead.
But the Blue Devils battled back as Martinelli scored on a pull-up from the foul line and Avvisato powered inside to get Old Forge within 28-25 with 4:12 left.
On Old Forge’s next possession, Tim McGrath tied the game at 28-28 with 3:08 left with his second triple of the game. Riverside answered with a Rowe three-pointer and a basket by Kincel to push the Vikings lead back to five.
Riverside held a 34-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter but Goodall sandwiched two three-pointers around a Rowe basket to tie the game at 36-36 with 3:13 left in the game.
But it was not to be as Michael King scored his only basket of the game from the left baseline to give the Vikings a 38-36 lead with 3:13 left, and Rowe continued with his career game by finishing a three-point play with a free throw at the 2:23 mark for a 41-36 lead.
Tim McGrath scored the final basket for Old Forge at 1:40 and the Blue Devils had a chance to tie the game after Riverside missed the front end of a 1-and-1. But Dom Avvisato’s desperation three-pointer from the top of the key was offline as time expired.
Goodall and McGrath both scored 10 to lead the Blue Devils in scoring. Martinelli finished with eight and Avvisato checked in with six points and 12 rebounds.
Rowe led the Vikings with 17 points. Old Forge held Kincel 10-points below his LL average with just 12 points. The Blue Devils also held LLD2 second-leading scorer Tommy Armillay to just a second-quarter three-pointer.
Old Forge rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to take a lead heading into the fourth quarter but the Blue Devils could not hang on in a 48-46 loss to Valley View on Friday night in the Elio Ghigiarelli Gymnasium.
Trailing by 14 points after Brian Lalli hit a three-pointer to start the third quarter, Old Forge responded with a 20-4 run, including a halfcourt buzzer-beater by Connor Fultz to end the period and give the Blue Devils a 36-34 lead to start the final stanza.
Fultz scored 13 of his career-high 17 points during the run as the Blue Devils turned up the defensive pressure in the third quarter.
The Cougars quickly took back the lead on back-to-back three-pointers by Cory Callejas to start the fourth, but Old Forge rallied and tied the score at 46-46 with less than 25 second remaining on a three-pointer from the left corner by Mario Martinelli.
The Cougars answered on the ensuing possession as point guard Jordan Siddons dribbled through five defenders for a layup and the 48-46 lead with 17 seconds left.
The Blue Devils eventually had a shot to win the game, a three-pointer off of an inbounds play fell short with under four seconds on the clock and Valley View held on for the victory.
Tony Goodall added 15 points for the Blue Devils and Martinelli chipped in with 10. Dom Avvisato pulled down 11 rebounds for Old Forge.
Pittston Area could not withstand a furious second-half rally by Coughlin as the Patriots lost to the Crusaders, 66-58, in a WVC Division I game on Friday night in Wilkes-Barre.
The Patriots led 39-24 at halftime but the Crusaders poured in 42 second-half points in outscoring PA by 23 points in the final 16 minutes.
Steve Stravinski led Pittston Area with 16 points, and Joe Coyne chipped in with 14. Steve Sklanka added eight for the Patriots, and RJ Emmett drill three three-pointers for nine.
Pittston Area broke a four-game losing streak with a 45-42 upset victory over Crestwood on Saturday night in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division I game in the Thomas R. Kelly Gymnasium in Yatesville.
The Patriots took a 19-12 lead after the first quarter but the Comets put the clamps on defensively and tied the game at the half with a 13-6 second-quarter run.
Crestwood then took a three-point lead into the final stanza but Pittston Area went on a 13-7 run to end the game with the victory.
Steve Stravinski led the Patriots with 18 points. He was the only PA player in double figures.
Steve Sklanka added nine points for Pittston Area, and RJ Emmett chipped in with seven.
Wyoming Area hung around with Hazleton for the first 16 minutes of action, but the Cougars used a 20-4 run in the third quarter to run away with a 70-40 win on Warriors Elementary Night in Exeter on Friday.
The Warriors trailed by just nine at the break, but Hazleton exploded in the first eight minutes of the second half to cruise to the win.
Bart Chupka scored 10 points to lead WA in scoring. Lou Vullo added nine for the Warriors, and Ryan Carey chipped in with six points.
Wyoming Area did not have a player score doubles figures in a 73-30 loss to Holy Redeemer on Saturday night in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division II game in Wilkes-Barre.
The Royals raced out to a 25-8 lead after the first quarter before leading 52-18 at the half.
Ryan Carey scored nine points for the Warriors to lead WA in scoring. Randy McDermott added seven points and Bart Chupka added six.
Wyoming Area leading-scorer Cody Gates was held without a point.
WVC Class 3A
(Top 5 qualify)
Class 1A (All qualify)
* Denotes first-half champion
PA v. Dallas
PA v. Hazleton
WA at Dallas
OF at Dunmore
PA at Valley West
WA v. Tunkhannock
OF at Carbondale