By Tom Robinson, NEPABasketball.com
WILKES-BARRE – Holy Redeemer did just fine against a first-place team Friday night.
Coming back and playing an energetic last-place team provided a closer challenge.
Playing less than 24 hours after beating rival Wyoming Seminary with the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3 boys basketball lead at stake, the Royals had defensive and rebounding difficulties against upset-minded MMI Prep before escaping with a 69-60, home-court victory.
The win moved Holy Redeemer into sole possession of first place, although that changed less than 24 hours later when Wyoming Seminary also won to put the teams back into a tie.
Holy Redeemer and MMI Prep were tied five times in a first half that featured eight lead changes. The last of those lead changes came with 30 seconds left in the second quarter when Collin Cook put the Royals ahead to stay by completing a 4-for-4 half from 3-point range for a 34-32 lead.
Cook wound up 5-for-6 on 3-point attempts while scoring 22 points and dishing out 4 assists for Holy Redeemer (12-1 in the WVC and 16-2 overall).
Freshman Justice Shoats added 11 points, 5 assists and 5 steals. Nick Prociak also scored 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting.
Matt Marchetti made it difficult for the Royals to pull away, matching Cook for the first 18 minutes. He also started 5-for-6 on 3-pointers, including twice making shots on consecutive possessions.
Marchetti hit back-to-back 3-pointers 35 seconds apart in the second quarter to create the last tie and last MMI Prep lead. He hit 17 seconds apart in the third quarter, capping a stretch of four in 5:40 and answering a 12-point Holy Redeemer streak to cut the lead back to 41-38.
“He’s a very player,” Holy Redeemer coach Paul Guido said. “He gave us fits up there at their gym, too, when we played them in the first half of the season.
“We were just fortunate to get the ‘W’ and get out of here today. Some of these guys didn’t leave the gym until 9:15 or 9:30 (Friday) night and to be back here at 2:30 is kind of a tough ask.”
Matt Marchetti finished with 25 points while Mason Marchetti had 10 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocked shots and 2 steals.
The Preppers (2-10 and 6-12) started out 7-for-9 from the floor, including making their first three 3s. They shot 65.4 percent for the first quarter and hit the boards hard.
MMI Prep outrebounded a bigger Holy Redeemer team 14-9 in the first half and 29-27 for the game.
“I knew that some of our guys that were playing (Saturday), after (Friday) night’s game, they were hurting,” Guido said. “They needed some breaks throughout the game.”
The Royals lost starting guard Derek Answini were he was fouled hard on a drive to the basket in the second quarter. Answini injured his wrist when he fell and left the game to get X-rays.
Holy Redeemer had opened up a seven-point halftime lead Friday while leading most of the way in a 61-47 victory over Wyoming Seminary.
CRESTWOOD: Comets bounce back from first WVC loss. http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BoysGameCrestwoodPA.
SATURDAY ROUNDUP: Honesdale, Scranton Prep pull off late comebacks. http://nepabasketball.com/2018-19/articles/BoysRoundup020219B.