WRIGHT TWP. — Offensive bursts by Crestwood — and/or defensive lapses by Pittston Area — Friday night allowed the Comets to quickly dismiss a series of surges by the Patriots.
Crestwood twice scored 10 straight point in 65 seconds or less on the way to a 69-53 Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 victory.
“I wasn’t happy with our defense,” Pittston Area coach Alan Kiesinger said. “We went away from our defensive principles.”
After Jordan Black scored the first four points of the second quarter to bring Pittston Area within 15-11, Lance Blass personally scored 10 points in 43 seconds.
Blass started with a 3-point shot and finished with a 3-point play on a strong drive to the basket. In between, he converted an offensive rebound and ran the floor to score off teammate Robbie Hopkins’ steal.
In less than eight minutes of playing time to that point, Blass had 16 points to help the Comets to a 25-11 lead. Blass finished with 17 points.
The Patriots never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
“We’re not so good offensively that we can take plays off on the defensive side,” Kiesinger said. “We had little pockets where we lost focus.”
The defensive shortcomings allowed Crestwood to shoot 52.9 percent from the floor (27-for-51) for the game and commit just four turnovers through three quarters.
The closest Pittston Area got in the second half was nine points twice.
Dylan Osticco, who scored a game-high 14 points, hit a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the third quarter to make it 35-26.
Jason Klusewitz had five points in the middle of the 10-point streak that followed for Crestwood in a stretch of 1:05. Hopkins, who scored 13 points started the streak with a 3-pointer.
Klusewitz, who added 11, scored the next five with help of a three-point play off a steal. Josh Malkemes, who scored 10, took a defensive rebound coast-to-coast to finish the run.
Pittston Area worked the resulting 45-26 Crestwood lead all the way down to 54-45 on the second of three straight successful 3-point attempts by Matt McGlynn.
Crestwood again responded. The Comets went on a 15-3 run that included six points by Malkemes. The run concluded with Crestwood’s third 10-point streak of the night, although this one took 2:07.
Black finished with 10 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Patriots. Osticco led the team with nine assists.
Pittston Area, which played without second-leading scorer Alex McAndrew, fell to 2-7 in the WVC and 6-11 overall. McAndrew was on crutches after suffering an injury in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s win over Tunkhannock.
Second-place Crestwood improved to 8-1 and 13-4 going into Tuesday’s showdown with division leader Hazleton Area.
Pittston Area 66, Tunkhannock 58
Dylan Osticco scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, including making all eight free throws, to help Pittston Area hang on and break its six-game losing streak with a 66-58 victory over visiting Tunkhannock in a WVC Division 1 game.
The Patriots shot 13-for-17 from the line in the fourth quarter to add to a 47-45 lead. They finished 24-for-33 for the game.
Jordan Black and Chris Klein added 11 points each. Black was 4-for-4 at the line in the fourth. Klein had nine of his points in the first half.
“We had some guys step up,” Patriots coach Alan Kiesinger said. “Chris Klein and Dylan Osticco had outstanding games, both scoring and defensively.”
Tony Maloney led Tunkhannock with 26 points and Tyler Faux had 10.
GAR 43, Wyoming Area 36
Wyoming Area carried a lead into the fourth quarter against co-leader GAR before falling, 43-36, in a WVC Division 2 game.
Dajon Rush led the Grenadiers with 14 points.
The Warriors, who managed just 14 second-half points, were led by Matt Wright with eight for the game.
Nanticoke 68, Wyoming Area 49
Wyoming Area played one of the division co-leaders for the second straight game and fell to Nanticoke, 68-49, in Division 2.
The Warriors were within 51-42 going to the fourth quarter.
Evan Musto and Sam Greenfield scored 14 points each for Wyoming Area, which is 3-5 in the WVC and 6-11 overall.
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.