DALLAS TOWNSHIP – Nanticoke and Wyoming Seminary will meet Saturday night at Hazleton Area at 7:30 for the first Wyoming Valley Conference Tournament boys title after Nate Kreitzer and Jeremy Callahan led second-half comebacks of different magnitudes Friday night in Dallas.
Kreitzer scored 35 points as Nanticoke rallied from 18 down against Division 1 champion Hazleton Area to win the opener, 68-64.
The second game was much closer throughout, but Wyoming Seminary still had to come back from a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter when it beat Crestwood, 56-50, behind 20 points by Callahan.
Kreitzer was 7-for-10 from 3-point range in the second half, repeatedly hitting from several feet beyond the arc. The all-state guard made shots over defenders and falling away from the basket while scoring 26 of his points in the second half.
Nanticoke, the Division 2 champion, followed up a 16-point first half by scoring 52 points in the second half.
The win comes two days after Nanticoke rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat GAR in the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 championship game.
Nanticoke coach John Beggs was not worried about the energy his team may have expended in the frantic comeback, which include a pressure defense forcing nine second-half turnovers.
“These guys, if they could, would play again tomorrow morning,” Beggs said.
And, Kreitzer would come out shooting.
“Nate has ‘in-the-gym’ range,” Beggs said. “He steps on the court and he’s in range.”
Trahjan Krupinski and Colby Butczynski also played big roles in the win.
Krupinski went 6-for-7 from the floor with 15 points and 7 rebounds.
When Hazleton Area had 6-foot-5 Division I recruit Da’mir Faison guard Kreitzer during the closing 13-2 run, it freed Krupinski to cut to the basket and convert a Kreitzer pass to erase the final deficit.
Butczynski had 6 of his 12 points, including the game-winning free throw, in the fourth quarter.
Kreitzer then went 3-for-4 from the line in the final 20 seconds to secure the victory.
Faison led Hazleton Area (16-7) with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Kyle Franek added 15 points, Andrew Vayda 11 points and Ryan “Sparky” Wolk 6 assists.
Nanticoke takes a 19-5 record into its game against Division 3 champion Wyoming Seminary (21-2).
Callahan made all four of his fourth-quarter shots, including 3-pointers 41 seconds apart to build a seven-point lead going into the final two minutes.
After his drive put the Blue Knights ahead to stay with 2:40 left, Callahan hit the 3-pointers on the next two possessions.
Callahan finished 8-for-11 from the field.
Jake Koretz and Nick Ganter had nine points each. Todd Phillips, who had six assists, and Ethan Meuser, who came off the bench, had eight points each.
Mike Palmiero made six 3-pointers while leading Crestwood, the wild-card entry, with 26 points. Sean Murphy added 12.
While the WVC was conducting boys playoffs for the first time, Holy Cross was winning the Lackawanna League Division 3 title in the regular-season finale.
Tyler Mozeleski scored nine of his 14 points in the fourth quarter when host Holy Cross defeated second-place Mid Valley, 40-35.
The Crusaders trailed by five at halftime before Keiran Burrier scored all 11 of his points in the second half.
Shane Rosencrans led Mid Valley with 13.
The Susquehanna girls completed their second straight unbeaten Lackawanna League Division 4 season and celebrated a milestone in the process.
Taylor Huyck’s 3-pointer on her first shot a little over a minute into the game gave her exactly 1,000 for her career.
Huyck went on to finish with 15 in a 58-24 rout of visiting Forest City.
Mackenzie Heath added 13 points and Mackenzie Steele had 11.
Heath and Huyck each made three 3-pointers while Bethany Maby hit two in her return from injury and Steele had one.
MORE TO COME: Return to NEPABasketball.com Saturday for more detailed reports on games around District 2.