District Boys Basketball: Pittston Area stuns No. 4 Crestwood, 42-39


By Tom Robinson - For Times Leader



Pittston Area’s Jordan Black (25) dunks the ball during Tuesday’s District 2 3A boys basketball game. The No. 13 Patriots upset No. 4 Crestwood 42-39.


Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Crestwood’s Brandon Schmidt (40) lays in two points during the first half of Tuesday’s game.


Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Crestwood’s Lance Blass (4) hits a 10-footer during Tuesday’s game against Pittston Area.


Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

WRIGHT TWP. – Through the struggles of a disappointing Wyoming Valley Conference season, Alan Kiesinger never gave up on his Pittston Area team turning things around.

“The funny thing is I had 100-percent belief,” Kiesinger said after his 13th-seeded Patriots knocked off fourth-seeded Crestwood, 42-39, to open the District 2 Class 3A boys basketball tournament Tuesday night. “I think our guys could sense that as well.”

The Patriots, who finished seventh in Division 1, put together their best effort since New Year’s just in time to spoil the postseason for the second-place Comets, who had beaten them twice in the regular season.

“We had a rough season so far,” said Jordan Black, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Patriots. “ … But we played real good defense and everybody did their part.”

Black’s part was done above – and on – the rim. He had a breakaway dunk in each half and consistently blocked out, then went high to retrieve seven second-half defensive rebounds.

“He was incredible on the defensive boards,” Kiesinger said.

The Patriots took charge in the second quarter, built the lead to 12 midway through the fourth, then fought off the inevitable Crestwood comeback.

The Comets never got close enough to take a shot at the lead, however. The final margin was the result of a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Dylan Osticco led a flawless second quarter in which the Patriots outscored the Comets, 14-4, to take a 24-15 lead.

Six players hit baskets as the Patriots shot 7 for 10 in the quarter. Osticco was the only player to make two of those baskets. He also had two steals in the quarter and assisted on three of his teammate’s five baskets.

The latest effort was another case of Osticco picking up his game in the month since the loss of second-leading scorer and playmaker Alex McAndrew to a lower leg injury.

“I thought if we played as a team we could do this,” said Osticco, who finished with nine points, five assists and five rebounds. “We needed defense, intensity, rebounding and taking care of the ball.”

Osticco was responsible for much of the taking care of the ball part when Crestwood went with constant trapping defense in a second-half attempt to rally.

Shawn Malkemes went 3 for 5 on 3-pointers, hitting twice in the last 2:16 to finish with 13 points, but the rest of the Comets combined to go just 1 for 16 from long range.

Even when Pittston Area struggled at the line late, it had already built enough of a cushion to knock off the Comets for the second time in three years.

The seventh-seeded Patriots beat the second-seeded Comets in the 2014 quarterfinals on the way to the district championship game. Crestwood also lost in the quarterfinals as a second seed last year, falling to Valley View.

MMI Prep 46, Susquehanna 27

WRIGHT TWP. — The District 2 Class 1A playoffs have arrived and with them, a chance for MMI Prep to play some games against schools roughly the same size.

It’s a time of the year when the team from the Wyoming Valley Conference’s smallest school begins to look a little different.

“We struggled at times this year, but we always try to focus on ‘we’ll be OK when we get to playoff time,’” Preppers coach Joe Flanagan said as his team opened the District 2 Class A Boys Basketball Tournament with a 46-27 win over Susquehanna at Crestwood High School. “We play a really hard schedule for a Class A team. Hopefully it sets us up.”

MMI Prep, which won just one WVC game and five games total in the regular season, advances to Thursday’s semifinals against top-seeded Forest City. In the exact same scenario last year, the Preppers won to reach their second straight district final.

Ed Herbener and John Stish, two of Tuesday’s leaders, have a lot of experience in these playoff runs.

“They played a lot of minutes for those teams,” Flanagan said.

Herbener’s experience running the offense was a big plus going against a Susquehanna team that started three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior. He helped the Preppers break open a game that was tied at 20-20 in the second quarter, then protect the lead with a patient approach in the second half while committing just two turnovers as a team.

Stish and Herbener hit back-to-back 3-pointers to break the last of eight ties and start a 10-0 run to close the first half.

The fourth-seeded Preppers then held the fifth-seeded Sabers to seven points in the second half.

Herbener scored a team-high 12 points.

Kyle Williams, who grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, and Stish added 11 points each. Stish and Andrew Alday each had three steals.

Garrett Grausgruber scored nine of his team-high 12 points in the first half for Susquehanna.

Berwick 56, Dallas 53

Tyler Evans scored 31 points as No. 6 Berwick edged No. 11 Dallas in a D2-3A first-round game.

Max Melito added eight for Berwick, which plays Thursday against the winner of Valley View at Nanticoke.

Tanner Gattuso had 16 and Alex Charlton added 10 for Dallas, which finished its season at 8-15.

Berwick 56, Dallas 53

DALLAS (53) – Colin Pertl 0 0-0 0, Mason Gattuso 1 2-2 4, Nick Kocher 3 0-3 7, Dalton Gattuso 0 0-0 0, Tanner Gattuso 7 0-0 16, Ben Donahue 0 1-2 1, Alex Charlton 4 2-2 10, Jay Bittner 3 2-2 9, Joey Parsons 2 0-0 4, Ethan Szczencinski 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 7-11 53.

BERWICK (56) – Ken Marshman 2 1-3 7, Matt Champ 0 1-2 1, Damon Beckhorn 0 1-2 1, Max Melito 1 6-6 8, Tyler Evans 9 9-9 31, Jude Goodard 2 2-2 6, Kyle McMillan 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 20-24 56.

Dallas`17`12`13`16`—`53

Berwick`12`11`14`19`—`56

Three-point goals – DAL 4 (Kocher, T.Gattuso 2, Bittner), BER 6 (Marshman 2, Evans 4).

MMI Prep 46, Susquehanna 27

MMI (46) — Ed Herbener 5 0-0 12, Jay Solgama 0 3-4 3, John Stish 3 4-5 11, Kyle Williams 4 1-3 11, Andrew Alday 3 0-1 7, Kisan Patell 0 0-0 0, Nick Young 1 0-0 2, George Palermo 0 0-0 0, Brendan Drusda 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 8-13 46.

SUSQUEHANNA (27) — Garrett Grausgruber 5 1-2 12, Mason Deakin 1 4-6 6, Adam Rockwell 2 0-0 5, Bryce Baldwin 2 0-0 4, David Armitage 0 0-0 0, Canyon Stone 0 0-0 0, Sean Branning 0 0-0 0, Benedict Kane 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 5-8 27.

MMI Prep`11`19`12`4`—`46

Susquehanna`12`8`6`1`—`27

Three-point goals — MMI 6 (Herbener 2, Williams 2, Stish 1, Alday 1), SUSQ 2 (Grausgruber 1, Rockwell 1).

Pittston Area 42, Crestwood 39

PITTSTON AREA (42) — Chris Klein 1 0-0 2, Dylan Osticco 4 1-1 9, Matt McGlynn 2 1-2 6, Jordan Black 4 3-8 11, Colin Smith 1 0-0 2, Pat Mitchell 4 0-0 8, Jalen Williams 1 0-2 2, Michael Mazurkivich 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 5-13 42.

CRESTWOOD (60) — Robbie Hopkins 2 0-0 5, Lance Blass 3 3-4 9, Jason Klusewitz 1 0-0 2, Mendell Foreman 0 4-8 4, Josh Malkemes 3 4-4 13, Kyle Gegaris 0 1-2 1, Tim McCue 0 0-0 0, Brandon Schmidt 1 1-2 3, Noah Jackson 0 1-2 1, Kevin Klusewitz 0 0-0 0, Kyle Richards 0 1-2 1, Mark Andrews 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 15-24 39.

Pittston Area`10`14`9`9`—`42

Crestwood`11`4`9`15`—`39

Three-point goals — PA 1 (McGlynn 1), CREST 4 (Malkemes 3, Hopkins 1).

Pittston Area’s Jordan Black (25) dunks the ball during Tuesday’s District 2 3A boys basketball game. The No. 13 Patriots upset No. 4 Crestwood 42-39.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_PA-Crestwood-BBB-TL3.jpgPittston Area’s Jordan Black (25) dunks the ball during Tuesday’s District 2 3A boys basketball game. The No. 13 Patriots upset No. 4 Crestwood 42-39. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Crestwood’s Brandon Schmidt (40) lays in two points during the first half of Tuesday’s game.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_PA-Crestwood-BBB-TL2.jpgCrestwood’s Brandon Schmidt (40) lays in two points during the first half of Tuesday’s game. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Crestwood’s Lance Blass (4) hits a 10-footer during Tuesday’s game against Pittston Area.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_PA-Crestwood-BBB-TL1.jpgCrestwood’s Lance Blass (4) hits a 10-footer during Tuesday’s game against Pittston Area. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

By Tom Robinson

For Times Leader

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @tlsports.

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @tlsports.

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