Berwick holds on against Pittston Area


By John Erzar - [email protected]



Berwick guard Max Melito goes to the floor after tripping over Pittston Area’s Jalen Williams while bringing the ball down court during a WVC boys basketball game on Tuesday.


Fred Adams | for Times Leader

Berwick guard Damon Beckhorn grabs a loose ball along the sideline against Pittston ---------------Fred Adams|for Times Leader 1-12-16


Fred Adams | for Times Leader

Berwick’s Damon Beckhorn stumbles to the floor in front of a Pittston Area defender.


Fred Adams | for Times Leader

Berwick forward Tyler Evans forces his way to the basket as Pittston Area Naseem Guillaume defends.


Fred Adams | for Times Leader


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    Six boys games postponed to Wednesday

    Six Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball games were postponed Tuesday due to inclement weather. All were reschedule for Wednesday.

    Games postponed were: Crestwood at Dallas; Nanticoke at Lake-Lehman; Northwest at Holy Redeemer; Wyoming Area at GAR; Wyoming Seminary at Meyers; and Wyoming Valley West at Coughlin.

    The Wyoming Valley West at Coughlin game will now be played at Wyoming Valley West on Wednesday due to Coughlin hosting a wrestling match that day. When the teams play again Feb. 4, the game will be at Coughlin.

    YATESVILLE — Based on the garb worn by a small group of Pittston Area students — Hawaiian shirt, tank tops, straw hats — the theme Tuesday night was going to be summer.

    Too bad the weather outside didn’t cooperate as very few people joined the students inside the gymnasium.

    Before about 100 people, Berwick was able to use a late fourth-quarter burst to edge Pittston Area 58-55 and remain tied atop Division 1 in Wyoming Valley Conference basketball.

    An inside basket by Tyler Evans snapped a 49-49 tie with 1:10 to play. The Dawgs (4-0 Div. 1, 9-3 overall) then finished off Pittston Area with a 6-3 run until Pittston Area’s Jalen Williams hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

    “I hate playing here,” Berwick coach Jason Kingery said. “They are a very good defensive team. I watched them three times and that’s what scared me. The way the play defense, the way he coaches and the way they box out. They don’t give you many opportunities and that scared me coming up here.”

    The Berwick bus driver was probably a little edgy as well as the team made the long trek to Pittston Area despite many games between closer opponents being postponed due to snow-covered roads. As the Dawgs left, their bus crawled along Main Street in Plains Township for the 30-mile journey home.

    At least the ride back had a happy ending. The two teams were in a heck of a battle throughout. The lead changed hands eight times in the third quarter and neither team had a lead bigger than five entering the fourth.

    Berwick received consecutive 3-pointers from Max Melito and Evans early in the fourth and eventually built a 49-41 advantage. Pittston Area (1-3, 5-7), though, put on a burst of its own and Alex McAndrew’s rebound basket tied the score 49-49 at 1:36.

    Evans then broke the tie with his inside basket as part of his 23-point night. Evans, one of the top scorers in the WVC, never got into a constant flow on offense thanks to strong defense from Pittston Area’s Jordan Black.

    “Every game has been a tough game for us,” said Evans, a senior. “We come out like every team is gunning for us. We work hard in practice, we do our thing and we go out there and stick together.”

    Cohesiveness has been key for Berwick, which was one of the worst programs when Kingery took over five seasons ago but is now tied with Hazleton Area for first place. Those teams don’t play until Jan. 22, and Berwick is focused on Friday’s home game with perennial WVC power Crestwood.

    “Our guys are kind of looking at a big matchup on Friday,” Kingery said, “but I told them they have to take one game at a time. This is all new territory for these guys. I’m used to it because I’ve come from places where we’ve won. These guys are starting to look ahead and I told them they can’t. They’re not used to this success.”

    Black scored a game-high 28 points for Pittston Area and at times was the most dominating player on the court. He went end-to-end twice with defensive rebounds in the back-and-forth third quarter. McAndrew and Naseem Guillauame added seven each. McAndrew also had a team-high nine rebounds.

    “It was just kind of way things were going,” Pittston Area coach Alan Kiesinger said of Black’s offense. “We kind of spread them out and thought we could get some penetration. He attacks really well. He was getting good looks. It’s tough to go away from that when he’s getting good looks.”

    Hazleton Area 77, Tunkhannock 48

    The Cougars put up 47 points in the first half and rode that big lead to a home win. Bobby Planutis led three players in double figures with 17, followed by Josh Samec and Da’mir Faison, who scored 10 apiece.

    Anthony Maloney knocked down four threes to lead the Tigers with 18 points.

    Hanover Area 53, MMI Prep 51 OT

    Nick Minnich scored 15 points and Justin Kopko added 12 as Hanover outscored MMI Prep 7-5 in OT to slip past the Preppers.

    Tyler Diggs scored 11 points for the Hawkeyes.

    MMI Prep’s Ed Herbener led all scorers with 24 points and John Stish finished with 19.

    Berwick 58, Pittston Area 55

    BERWICK (58) — Max Melito 2 2-3 8, Damon Beckhorn 2 2-2 6, Tyler Evans 5 0-15 23, Jude Goodard 4 6-6 14, Maliek McMillian 2 1-1 5, Matthew Champ 1 0-0 2, Justin Groshek 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 21-27 58.

    PITTSTON AREA (55) — Jordan Black 11 6-9 28, Dylan Osticco 0 0-0 0, Alex McAndrew 3 1-3 7, Pat Mitchell 0 1-2 1, Colin Smith 1 0-0 2, Jalen Williams 2 0-0 5, Naseem Guillauame 3 1-1 7, Michael Mazurkivich 0 0-0 0, Chris Klein 2 0-0 5. Totals 22 9-15 55.

    Berwick`11`12`13`22`—`58

    Pittston Area`9`15`13`18`—`55

    Three-point goals — BER 5 (Melito 2, Evans 3), PA 2 (Williams, Klein).

    Hazleton Area 77, Tunkhannock 48

    TUNKHANNOCK (48) — Paul DeMarco 0 0-0 0, Avery Newhart 0 0-0 0, Sean Harder 5 3-6 13, Ethan Hoefert 0 0-0 0, Tyler Faux 1 1-2 3, Anthony Maloney 5 4-4 18, C.J. Brennan 1 0-0 2, Matt Goodwin 1 0-0 3, Avery Billings 2 1-2 5, Evan Turner 2 0-0 4, Jack Fenwick 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 9-14 48.

    HAZLETON AREA (77) — Josh Samec 4 2-2 10, Michael Cusatis 4 0-0 8, Shane Planutis 1 0-0 2, Joey Grula 2 2-4 6, Dante Biasi 0 0-0 0, Nolan Genasevich 3 0-0 6, Bobby Planutis 5 4-5 17, Jeffrey Planutis 3 1-2 8, Da’mir Faison 4 2-3 10, Jacob Diaz 0 0-0 0, Adrian Otero 0 0-2 0, Nathan Begg 1 0-0 2, Frank Mussoline 0 0-0 0, Davion Reeves 1 0-0 2, Isaiah Santiago 2 1-1 6. Totals 30 12-19 77.

    Tunkannock`9`15`14`10`—`48

    Hazleton Area`21`26`18`12`—`77

    3-point goals — TUN 5 (Maloney 4, Goodwin); HAZ 5 (B. Planutis 3, J. Planutis, Santiago)

    Hanover Area 53, MMI Prep 51, OT

    HANOVER AREA (53) — Brandon Chafin 3 1-4 9, Nick Minnich 6 3-4 15, John Morgan 0 0-1 0, Mike Piscotty 0 0-0 0, Luis Rivera 1 1-2 3, Tyler Diggs 2 6-9 11, Connor Bowers 1 1-2 3, Justin Kopko 4 4-5 12. Totals 17 16-27 53.

    MMI PREP (51) — Ed Herbener 6 11-12 24, Jay Solgama 0 0-2 0, John Stish 8 1-3 19, Kyle Williams 1 3-5 6, Andrew Alday 1 0-0 2, Kisan Patel 0 0-0 0, George Palermo 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 15-22 51.

    Hanover`11`10`8`17`7`—`53

    MMI Prep`5`14`12`15`5`—`51

    Three-point goals — HAN 3 (Chafin 2, Diggs ); MMI 4 (Herbener, Stish 2, Williams).

    Berwick guard Max Melito goes to the floor after tripping over Pittston Area’s Jalen Williams while bringing the ball down court during a WVC boys basketball game on Tuesday.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_ber_pit2_faa.jpgBerwick guard Max Melito goes to the floor after tripping over Pittston Area’s Jalen Williams while bringing the ball down court during a WVC boys basketball game on Tuesday. Fred Adams | for Times Leader

    Berwick guard Damon Beckhorn grabs a loose ball along the sideline against Pittston —————Fred Adams|for Times Leader 1-12-16
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_ber_pit1_faa.jpgBerwick guard Damon Beckhorn grabs a loose ball along the sideline against Pittston —————Fred Adams|for Times Leader 1-12-16Fred Adams | for Times Leader

    Berwick’s Damon Beckhorn stumbles to the floor in front of a Pittston Area defender.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_ber_pit4_faa.jpgBerwick’s Damon Beckhorn stumbles to the floor in front of a Pittston Area defender. Fred Adams | for Times Leader

    Berwick forward Tyler Evans forces his way to the basket as Pittston Area Naseem Guillaume defends.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_ber_pit3_faa.jpgBerwick forward Tyler Evans forces his way to the basket as Pittston Area Naseem Guillaume defends. Fred Adams | for Times Leader

    By John Erzar

    [email protected]

    Six boys games postponed to Wednesday

    Six Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball games were postponed Tuesday due to inclement weather. All were reschedule for Wednesday.

    Games postponed were: Crestwood at Dallas; Nanticoke at Lake-Lehman; Northwest at Holy Redeemer; Wyoming Area at GAR; Wyoming Seminary at Meyers; and Wyoming Valley West at Coughlin.

    The Wyoming Valley West at Coughlin game will now be played at Wyoming Valley West on Wednesday due to Coughlin hosting a wrestling match that day. When the teams play again Feb. 4, the game will be at Coughlin.

    Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar

    Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar

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