By Tom Robinson, NEPABasketball.com
SCRANTON – The final point total was impressive, but what made the difference for the Lackawanna League Sunday at Lackawanna College in the second annual Battle of the Valley All-Star Classic was its commitment to competing on both ends of the floor.
Mario Rotell, playing for his high school coach, Andrew Kettel, put in the same defensive effort he was known for at Scranton Prep while also becoming the game’s surprise offensive leader.
“Coach said, ‘we’re not going to make this one of those all-star games where you don’t play any defense’,” Rotell said after scoring a team-high 19 points in a 105-94 Lackawanna League victory over the Wyoming Valley Conference. “We set the tempo early.”
The Lackawanna scored 13 straight points to erase the last WVC lead and move in front 19-9 just 5:20 into the game.
Rotell, who scored six straight early in the streak, and Abington Heights’ Trey Koehler each had baskets after Lackawanna steals during the streak.
“They started doubling on ball screens and we were getting stuck,” said GAR’s Will Johnson, the game’s top scorer with 20 points for the WVC. “They went up (13), but we fought back hard.”
The WVC tied the game early in the second half and kept it close until an 11-3 surge by the Lackawanna in the last four minutes.
Rotell finished 6-for-7 from the floor, including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers, and 4-for-4 from the line while using the all-star setting to match his scoring high from the regular season.
"We played defense,” Rotell said. “I like playing defense. Going from defense to offense is always easy.
“They found me in transition. I was able to push it up and I got some easy ones.”
The Lackawanna also showed off its offensive weapons and hit the boards.
Leo O’Boyle from Scranton Prep, George Tinsley from Abington Heights and Marcus Bauman from Scranton did both.
O’Boyle, a Lafayette College commit, scored 16 points and grabbed 10 defensive rebounds.
Tinsley, who is headed to Binghamton University, also had a double-double while leading all players in assists. He finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists.
Bauman had 12 of his 15 points and 7 of his 9 rebounds in the second half. He finished with a game-high five offensive rebounds.
Koehler added 11 points while joining Bauman and Rotell with 2 steals each.
Johnson had a strong all-around game for the WVC, adding seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Tunkhannock’s Tyler Faux, who hit three 3-pointers, and Holy Redeemer’s Nick Prociak each scored 13 points. Matt Marchetti from MMI Prep added 11.
After Crestwood’s Sean Murphy made a 3-pointer to stop the early Lackawanna scoring streak, Delaware Valley’s Blake Gearhart and Lakeland’s Jake Curnow hit consecutive 3s to create the game’s biggest lead, 25-12. That completed a 19-3 run by the Lackawanna.
Collin Cook from Holy Redeemer had five points during a 10-2 answer by the WVC in which Johnson joined him in hitting 3s.
The WVC scored the last four points of the first half and opened the second with a 3-pointer by Nanticoke’s Nate Kreitzer for a 50-50 tie.
Bauman took a rebound coast-to-coast and scored the game’s next six points.
The Lackawanna led the rest of the way.
O’Boyle scored 13 points in the final 14 minutes to help secure the win.
MORE ON THE BATTLE OF THE VALLEY
BOYS EXPANDED BOXSCORE: http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BattleValleyBoysBox.
CHARITIES BENEFITED: http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BattleValleyCheckPresentations.
GIRLS GAME STORY: http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BattleValleyGirlsGame.
GIRLS EXPANDED BOXSCORE: Complete game statistics. http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BattleValleyBoysBox.
FEMALE OFFICIALS: http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BattleValleyRefs.
JOHN BUCCI’S COLUMN ON FEMALE COACHES, OFFICIALS: http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BucciColumn12
FEATURES ON PNC BANK DISTRICT 2 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK IN THE GAME: http://www.nepabasketball.com/aotw/Boys2Bauman.
SCENES FROM PRACTICE: http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BattleValleyPractice.
ROSTER ANNOUNCEMENT: http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BattleValleyRosters.
GIRLS COACHES ANNOUNCEMENT: http://www.nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BattleValleyGirlsCoaches.
BOYS COACHES ANNOUNCEMENT: http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BattleValleyBoysCoaches.
2018 GIRLS GAME: http://nepabasketball.com/2017-18/all-star-classic/18-03-27-girls-recap.