By TOM ROBINSON, NEPABasketball.com
Heading into the final week of the regular season, four of the 14 division titles in Lackawanna League and Wyoming Valley Conference basketball have already been determined.
The Nanticoke boys, Delaware Valley boys, Scranton Prep girls and Wallenpaupack girls have all secured their division championships.
In another week, attention will turn to the beginning of District 2 tournaments as teams try to work their way toward championship weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena. But, first there are more championships to be decided for league play.
The Holy Cross, Abington Heights, Hazleton Area and Wyoming Seminary boys are each assured of no worse than a first-place tie and a playoff for their division championships.
There is still much more to be done to decide all the WVC girls titles, both Lackawanna Division 4 titles, Lackawanna Division 3 girls. As first-half champions in divisions using split-season formats, both Susquehanna teams and the Holy Cross girls will, at minimum, have a chance to take championships in a playoff.
Nanticoke wrapped up the WVC Division 2 boys championship Friday when Nate Kreitzer scored 19 points to lead a 58-39 win over GAR.
Brothers Trahjan and Jake Krupinski each scored 11 points in the win.
The Trojans improved to 13-2 with two games to go, eliminating Wyoming Area (10-5).
Delaware Valley clinched earlier in the week when it defeated second-place Honesdale, 47-34, to open a three-game lead with two to play.
The Warriors have since lost and the Hornets won, but Delaware Valley is 7-5 with just one game left. Honesdale is 5-7.
Scranton Prep and Susquehanna have the only perfect league records of any girls teams in the seven divisions around District 2.
Sisters Kathleen and Rachael Rose combined for 22 points Thursday when the Classics wrapped up the Division 1 title with a 55-17 rout of Delaware Valley. They improved to 12-0 with one game left to eliminate Scranton (10-2).
Wallenpaupack was the first team to clinch, taking Lackawanna Division 2 girls. The Lady Buckhorns are 8-4, well in front of second-place North Pocono and Honesdale, both 4-8, with one game remaining.
The Holy Cross boys, who have won 12 straight, are the closest to joining the other champions.
The Crusaders won the first-half Lackawanna League Division 3 title in a playoff over Mid Valley. They have clinched no worse than a tie for the second-half division title.
If Holy Cross wins the second half outright, it becomes all-season champion. If it finishes in a tie for first place in the second half, it will have up to two chances, if necessary, to win the championship in a playoff.
It all adds up to a team that has won a dozen straight, needing to win any of its next three games for the championship.
Abington Heights, Hazleton Area and Wyoming Seminary have each clinched at least a tie in straight-season boys races.
They will try to win outright this week, but if they fall short, each would have the chance to win the championship in a one-game playoff.
Abington Heights is 11-1 and home with third-place Scranton (9-3) in Tuesday’s Lackawanna Division 1 boys finale. If the Comets fall, it would allow defending champion Scranton Prep to force a playoff with a win.
Jackson Danzig scored 21 points, including the 1,000th of his career, Friday night when Abington Heights clinched the tie with a 52-30, home-court win over West Scranton. Danzig needed 13 points for the milestone, got within one with four first-quarter 3-pointers, then scored on a layup early in the second.
Hazleton Area, the top-ranked Big School in the NEPABasketball.com Super Six Power Rankings all season, has the only unbeaten league record of any District 2 boys team.
The Cougars are 14-0 with two games remaining. Dallas (12-2) is the only team with a mathematical chance of catching Hazleton Area.
Wyoming Seminary completed a season sweep of defending champion and second-place Holy Redeemer, 58-51, Tuesday, then clinched at least a tie for the WVC Division 3 title with a 58-20 rout of MMI Prep Friday.
The Blue Knights used balance to post the wins.
Dimitri Gnall scored 16 points to lead four players in double figures in Tuesday’s meeting of the top two Small Schools in the Super Six.
Jeremy Callahan had 11 points to lead Friday’s win.
Wyoming Seminary is 12-2 with two games left. Holy Redeemer is 10-4.
Crestwood, Nanticoke and Northwest lead close divisional races in WVC girls.
Crestwood broke a first-place tie with Hazleton Area with Friday’s 56-47 win in their head-to-head meeting.
Freshman Helena Jardine had 11 of her 13 points in the second quarter when Crestwood outscored Hazleton Area, 22-5, to take a 29-18 halftime lead.
Julia Makowski went 8-for-8 from the line while scoring 17 of her game-high 22 points in the second half.
Nanticoke has a one-game lead on Holy Redeemer with two games left. They have the WVC’s best record at 14-1 and 13-2.
Northwest (7-6) has just a half-game edge on Wyoming Seminary (7-7) in Division 3.
Both Susquehanna teams are closing in on the first all-season Lackawanna divisional titles in school history.
Both won first-half titles and are unbeaten to lead second-half races. At worst, they will have at least one playoff shot at winning the all-season championships.
The most open race is Lackawanna Division 3 girls where Holy Cross was the first-half champion, but Dunmore is the second-half leader. The Lady Bucks solidified their lead Sunday afternoon with a 53-37 win over Riverside, which entered the day tied for second in the second-half standings.
Lisa Tallo scored 16 points while Victoria Toomey added 15 and Kelly Quinn had 13 in the win.