WILKES-BARRE – Pittston Area closed out the non-league portion of its schedule on a high note Wednesday night.
The Patriots held Holy Redeemer to 11 points in the second half while pulling away for a 44-28 victory, giving Pittston Area the championship of the 50th annual CYC McGrane Holiday Basketball Tournament and a three-game winning streak.
Pittston Area won the McGrane Tournament for the second time in three years. It held Holy Redeemer to two points and no field goals for a span of more than nine minutes, including the first 7:26 of the second half, while expanding a 19-16 lead to 29-18.
The Patriots held the Royals to 3-for-22 (13.6 percent) shooting in the second half.
“Winning the McGrane is the first goal we set at the beginning of the season,” Patriots coach Alan Kiesinger said.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Alex McAndrew and all-tournament selections Jordan Black and Naseem Guillaume helped make sure that happened.
McAndrew had 12 of his 16 points in the first half when he went 3-for-4 on 3-pointers and made all three of his free throws. He also finished with five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
“My teammates were just moving the ball real well and I got some nice open looks that went in for me,” McAndrew said.
McAndrew broke out of a shooting slump with the performance.
“We often forget that he’s young,” Kiesinger said. “He’s only a sophomore and we can be hard on him in practice and in games.
“But, he’s starting to grow up in front of our eyes.”
Black added 11 points, five rebounds and four assists.
“He’s leading,” Kiesinger said of the senior forward. “He plays hard. Tonight, the ball wasn’t going into the basket so much for him, but he’s defending; he’s rebounding; he’s taking care of the ball.”
McAndrew’s three steals, Colin Smith’s two blocked shots and Guillaume’s efforts on the perimeter led the Pittston Area defense.
Guillaume, another sophomore, came off the bench and also provided eight points on 3-for-4 shooting. After Pittston Area managed just six points in the third quarter, he produced six by hitting 3-pointers from the top of the key and the left corner in the first 3:17 of the fourth quarter.
“He played so well (Monday) that I knew we could go to him again (Wednesday night),” Kiesinger said. “I knew he’d be ready for us.
“He hit some big shots and his defense was tremendous both nights.”
The Patriots used the win to take some momentum into conference play.
“This give us a lot of confidence going forward,” McAndrew said.
Pittston Area 55, Hanover Area 48
Jordan Black scored 15 points Monday night when Pittston Area opened McGrane Tournament play with a 55-48 victory over Hanover Area.
The game was the only one the Patriots have been involved in this season that was decided by fewer than 11 points.
“There’s no question that helped us (in the tournament final),” Kiesinger said, “and, our tough exhibition schedule playing Nanticoke and West Scranton and Holy Cross.
“I think that all the tough competition helps us.”
Wyoming Area 91, Western Wayne 59
Wyoming Area put together a huge offensive effort on the road Tuesday night, scoring 28 points each in the second and third quarters for a 91-59 rout of Western Wayne.
Tony Saitta led the way with 20 points and hit four of the team’s 11 baskets from 3-point range.
Kyle Musto made six 3-pointers while scoring 18 points. Kyre Zielinski also had 18 and Sam Greenfield added 13.
The Warriors outscored the Wildcats in every quarter. They jumped in front, 18-6, after one quarter and stretched the lead to 72-46 after three quarters.
Dallas 61, Wyoming Area 41
Dallas pulled away from a tight game in the fourth quarter to defeat visiting Wyoming Area, 61-41, in Monday night’s second annual Backyard Brawl Rivalry Trophy Game.
The Mountaineers, who also won last year’s game, outscored the Warriors, 25-9, after taking just a four-point lead to the fourth quarter.
Alex Charlton scored 17 points to lead three Dallas players in double figures.
Tony Saitta led Wyoming Area with 13. Matt Wright went 9-for-11 from the line while adding 11 points.
The Wyoming Valley Conference season gets started Tuesday.
Pittston Area, which completed non-league play with a 4-4 record, will be at Tunkhannock in its Division 1 opener.
Wyoming Area (3-6) begins Division 2 play at home against Hanover Area.
Pittston Area plays its conference home opener Thursday against Crestwood. Wyoming Area is on the road Friday against Nanticoke.
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at [email protected]