Citizens' Voice boys basketball all-stars
Steve Bennett - Citizens
School: Nanticoke Area
Did a fine job of creating shots not just for himself, but his teammates.
Was able to hit the shot from the outside as well as take the ball to the basket.
Averaged a team-best 14.8 points per game.
Was a matchup nightmare
for opposing big men. Was second on the team in scoring with 11.0 points per game.
Shot 67.5 percent from the foul line. Of his 101 field goals this season, 16 were
rallies from 10 down to defeat Nanticoke
deficit was 10 in the fourth quarter, but that wasnt the number gnawing
at Berwick. The Dawgs were thinking 365, as in a year ago when Nanticoke physically
And the more they dwelled on 365, the 10 kept getting lower
until it was erased completely and reversed into an upset victory Thursday night
in the District 2 Class 3A boys basketball quarterfinals.
Tyler Evans, the
schools all-time leading scorer, tipped in a rebound with 26 seconds left
as Berwick completed its rally for a 47-45 victory over Nanticoke at Crestwood
Sixth-seeded Berwick (15-9) will play No. 2 GAR (17-8) in the
semifinals Monday at a site and time to be announced. GAR defeated Honesdale 57-45
and will be going for its third appearance in the D2-3A title game in the last
four seasons. Berwick will be playing in the semifinals for the first time since
the 1998-99 season.
Our guys have been waiting on this game 365 days
because they really manhandled us last year. said Berwick coach Jason Kingery,
whose team finished 2-21 just two seasons ago.
Actually, it was 366 days since
that Nanticoke victory in the 2014-15 D2-3A playoffs. But whats 24 hours
when at least two more games await. The Dawgs need to defeat either GAR or, if
not, win the third-place game to make the state playoffs.
Nanticoke (19-6), it was a second heartbreaking loss in the last three games.
The Trojans lost 58-57 in triple overtime to GAR for the Wyoming Valley Conference
Division 2 championship.
We had a successful year, Nanticoke coach
John Beggs said, but were disappointed with the end results. We didnt
win a conference championship and that was one of our goals. Another goal was
to play at the arena (for the district championship) and that didnt happen.
our record was good, we didnt meet our goals as a basketball team.
the score tied 45-45, a Nanticoke traveling violation gave the ball to Berwick
with 57 seconds left. The Dawgs wore down the clock until Damon Beckhorn drove
the lane with about 30 seconds left. He missed his shot, and Evans went up among
a crowd to tap the ball in
barely. The ball tilted out of the rim before
Nanticoke, like in the GAR loss, got two shots off in its
final possession. Brent Piontkowskis 3-pointer from the right side bounced
off the rim. Luke Butczynski raced in from the left, but his putback slid over
the rim and Evans grabbed the rebound to end the game.
We came out here
with confidence and were playing our hardest, said Evans, who finished with
game-highs of 24 points and 10 rebounds. It was a win-or-go-home type of
game. We got down. They made a run on us. We called a timeout and I remember I
looked at my team and said, Were not going to lose this game. This
isnt going to be my last game.
It looked like Berwicks
season was about four minutes away from ending midway through the fourth quarter.
A unique series of events seemingly swung the momentum to Nanticoke.
was racing down court on a breakaway when he was grabbed hard as he approached
the basket. An intentional foul was called, meaning Evans would get two free throws
and the Dawgs would get the ball. But Kingery was called for a technical foul
for yelling at the Nanticoke bench when he felt a few reserves celebrated the
A lot of people see me as this animated person, which I am,
Kingery said. But Im going to get on the officials when I feel one
of my players is going to get hurt. I felt like they tried to take him out. Actually,
that technical helped us. It fired our guys up.
But it also led to a
43-32 deficit as Nanticokes Ed Lukowski hit two technical free throws and
Scott Stout scored after the Trojans were awarded possession.
The Dawgs, though,
were strong at the foul line and on defense to wipe out the deficit and take a
45-44 lead on a 3-pointer by Evans with 1:47 to play. Nanticoke had seven turnovers
in the fourth quarter after having five through the first three periods.
defeats Nanticoke in 3 OTs for WVC Division 2 crown
(11-3, 18-5) will be either the third if North Pocono loses Sunday or the fourth
seed if North Pocono wins. The Trojans were seeking their first divisional crown
since the 2002-03 season.
like old times
Nanticoke downs GAR on night 1961 state champs honored
delved into its past Friday night, honoring the 1961 Nanticoke High boys basketball
team that won the PIAA Class A state championship.
It gave a glimpse of its
future by introducing youth players at halftime.
As for the present, well that
appears to be in good hands after a 51-40 victory over GAR vaulted Nanticoke into
sole possession of first place in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference.
was a great environment for Nanticoke basketball, Nanticoke coach John Beggs
said. We had our youth basketball night, so thats the future. We honored
the past with the 1961 team. So our guys were really excited to play in this environment.
We were looking forward to it all week.
Nanticoke (4-0 Div. 2) also improved
to 11-2 overall, the best mark in the WVC. GAR fell to 3-1 in the division and
The packed gymnasium didnt faze the Trojans too much. But
a delay in the start because of a long junior varsity game and the ceremonies
for the 1961 team did.
It definitely brought some nervousness when we
came out after the jayvee game and saw everybody here packed in on every side,
Nanticoke guard Scott Stout said. But we got a little edgy when we had to
wait longer to play.
The Trojans took a 15-13 lead at 5:26 of the second
quarter on an inside basketball by Brent Piontkowski to take the lead for good.
But it wasnt until late in the third that Nanticoke began to ease away.
29-20 lead entering the fourth quarter came via consecutive 3-pointers by Piontkowski
When it was 26-20, Stout hit a huge one on the wing,
GAR senior Justin Crosby-Smith said. That gave them momentum and riled them
up. It was hard stopping them.
Luke Butczynski started the fourth with
another 3-pointer for Nanticoke, starting a 9-2 run to open the quarter. The Grenadiers
didnt get their first field goal until Marquan Kemp scored inside at 5:45.
Kemps basket was GARs first since the 6:28 mark of the third quarter.
made a mild run at the deficit, managing to get within 44-35 with about two minutes
left. Nanticoke, though, shook off the threat with four consecutive points.
the 3-pointers were the catalyst in the victory, defense also played a huge part.
Nanticoke held GAR 3-point ace Tino Altavilla to one basket from behind the arc.
I was upset with that shot, Beggs said. I think he is the best shooter
in our conference. I saw him make 23 straight threes once in warmups. So our goal
was to give him no shots because we knew any shot he took was going in. Him making
one was enough for us and we focused on not giving him any more shots.
injured a finger on his left hand midway through the third. He returned in the
fourth, but by that time Nanticoke had the game going its way because of the five
We got out of what we were trying to do there,
GAR coach Jerry Altavilla said. We had to switch up the lineup and had to
go defensively. We had to take out some of our offensive players off. I dont
think we did a good job with the tempo, either.
Dajon Rush paced GAR
with 12 points. Piontkowski had 23 and Stout added 17 for Nanticoke. The teams
play again Feb. 2 at GAR.
Boys Basketball Season Preview
Coach: John Beggs
years record: 17-7. Lost to Honesdale in overtime in the second round of
the District 2 Class AA playoffs.
Players to watch:
Brent Piontkowski, Luke Butczynski, Justin Casey, Ben Sersen, Cody Piestrak, Ed
Lukowski, Alec Norton, Zack Cardone.
What to look
for: The expectations are a bit higher for the Trojans this year as the enter
the year as the favorite to win the division. They have experience up and down
the lineup. The Trojans can play from the perimeter as well as inside. When Piontkowski
plays with his back to the basket he will be a tough guard for any team in the
league. When he steps out side, he can bring the big man out to defend and create
space in the lane. Trojans made 56 3-pointers in the exhibtion season with Butczynski
leading the way with 15.