BOYS ROUNDUP: Patriots erase 18-point deficit, win in OT

BOYS ROUNDUP: Patriots erase 18-point deficit, win in OT

Pittston Area struggled through an abysmal first nine minutes Friday night.

Logan Booth could not get his offensive game going for almost three quarters.

Booth ended his personal drought and continued the comeback that led Pittston Area to a 59-52, overtime victory over visiting West Scranton in non-league boys basketball.

With 35 seconds left in the third quarter, Booth had just two points, but the Patriots had already worked most of the way back from a 24-6 deficit they faced a minute into the second quarter.

Booth took it from there.

The junior guard hit a 3-pointer from deep in the left corner for Pittston Area’s first lead, 35-33, then scored nine points during a fourth-quarter comeback from another seven-point deficit.

Finally, Booth made a strong drive down the lane 15 seconds into overtime to put the Patriots ahead to stay, 49-47.

Booth finished with 16 points, matching Brennan Higgins for the team lead. Booth had seven points in a 9-0 streak after West Scranton had moved back into a 42-35 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Higgins made 12 of 13 free throws. He followed up his only miss by hitting the second shot with 50.3 seconds left for the last point of regulation, setting up overtime.

In overtime, Higgins then went 4-for-4 from the line. That effort helped Pittston Area stay on top after Andrew Krawczyk followed up Booth’s drive with a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 52-47 lead.

West Scranton got back within four points three times, but Pittston Area’s 6-for-8 foul shooting in the final 1:18 of overtime stopped the Invaders there.

It was Higgins who got the Pittston Area rally started.

The Invaders took a 19-6 lead after one quarter when Cayden Merrifield scored 8 of his team-high 20 points.

Merrifield opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer off a steal, then set up a Nick Forsette lay-up in transition for the 24-6 lead that caused Pittston Area coach Alan Kiesinger to use his second timeout with 7:09 left in the half.

Pittston Area broke the West Scranton press coming out of the timeout and Higgins drove for a three-point play on the other end, launching a rally that improved the Patriots to 3-1 on the season.

“West Scranton is a really good team,” Kiesinger said. “When our guys – and, they’ve done this so far – when they play together, they really move the ball well and defensively they help each other.

“These guys play for each other.”

As a result, they have gone from 6-17 a year ago to three early wins despite graduating a large senior class that accounted for most of last season’s minutes.

“To come out our first four games, playing four really good teams, to be 3-1 out of that, that’s really good for our guys,” Kiesinger said.

Mike George added 14 points for Pittston Area.

Payton Davis had 10 for West Scranton (2-2).

Wyoming Seminary 69, Susquehanna 39

Dimitri Gnall scored 15 points to lead host Wyoming Seminary’s rout in a game between Astra Wealth Advisors Super Six Small School teams that won division and postseason titles last season.

The top-ranked Blue Knights held fifth-ranked Susquehanna to two points in the second quarter to open a 38-14 halftime lead.

Todd Phillips had six points while Gnall and Nick Ganter had five each to get Wyoming Seminary out to a 24-12 lead after one quarter.

The Blue Knights went 8-for-10 at the line, including 4-for-4 by Ganter, in the second quarter.

Ganter finished with 11 points and Alex Meuser added 10 in the win.

Bryce Baldwin led Susquehanna with 10 points.

Wyoming Seminary is the defending Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3 and District 2 Class 3A champion. Susquehanna, which moved up to Class 2A this season, won Lackawanna League Division 4 and District 2-11 Class A Subregional championships last season.

Both teams return four starters from those championship teams.

Wallenpaupack 64, Coughlin 51

Elijah Rosenthal pumped in 34 points as Wallenpaupack went on the road for the win that allowed the Buckhorns to join Wyoming Seminary as the only District 2 boys teams with 4-0 starts.

Aaron Bennett’s 14 points lead Coughlin.

Tunkhannock 62, Montrose 32

Tyler Faux scored 23 points to lead the way for Tunkhannock at home.

Ryan Harder and Avery Billings had 10 each for the Tigers (2-0).

Tyler Rebello led Montrose with 12 points.

Scranton 62, Wyoming Valley West 50

Marcus Bauman scored 17 points to lead Scranton’s home-court victory.

The Knights fought off a late comeback by the Spartans, who ran off 11 straight points to get within 51-46.

Wyoming Valley West had also put together a 9-2 surge to end the first half and cut Scranton’s early lead to 23-21.

Mid Valley 45, Meyers 29

Vinny Talluto scored 18 points to lead the way for Mid Valley, which rallied from an early deficit then broke away in the second half of the road win.

Blake Masker’s six points were the most by any Mohawk.

Hanover Area 60, North Pocono 51

Asad Whitehead scored 18 points while Justin Kopko and Evan Materna added 14 each to lead Hanover Area’s road win.

Marian Catholic 65, MMI Prep 57

MMI Prep lost on the road.