District 2 Class 4A boys playoff analysis

Nanticoke senior guard Nate Kreitzer.
Nanticoke senior guard Nate Kreitzer.

By Tom Robinson, NEPABasketball.com

FORMAT: There are three rounds in the winners’ bracket portion of the eight-team tournament. There is also a consolation game between the semifinal losers to determine the district’s third state qualifier. Both semifinal winners also make the state tournament.

SCHEDULE: The tournament begins Thursday, after being postponed Wednesday. The semifinals are Saturday to determine the teams for the March 2 at 4 p.m. at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The third-place game is Feb. 26.

2018 RECAP: Scranton Prep defeated Valley View in the championship game. Nanticoke earned the third state spot.

HIGHEST SEEDS: 1. Scranton Prep; 2. Nanticoke; 3. Valley View; 4. GAR.

DIVISION CHAMPION: Nanticoke won the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 title. It won the division in a playoff with GAR.

RANKED TEAMS: Nanticoke is second, Scranton Prep is third and Valley View is sixth among Big School Boys in the Astra Wealth Advisors Super Six Power Rankings of District 2 teams. Scranton Prep is sixth out of state 4A teams in the Sunbury Daily Item rankings and eighth in the tribhssn.triblive.com rankings. GAR, Nanticoke and Valley View are all among the Others to Watch (putting them among the top 32) in the Daily Item rankings.

WINNING RECORDS: Scranton Prep 19-3, Nanticoke 19-6, GAR 15-8, Valley View 14-8, Tunkhannock 13-9, Western Wayne 12-10, Hanover Area 12-10.

BEST OPENER: Western Wayne vs. GAR. Will Johnson from GAR is District 2’s top scorer with more than 25 points per game. Zach Rovinsky and Dahlton Frisbie from Western Wayne are District 2’s most productive 1-2 combination with more than 37 points per game. GAR needs a win to extend the history of a program that has produced a dozen District 2 championships and has been to three state finals. Western Wayne is in the 4A playoffs for the first time after failing to qualify in the first two years of the PIAA’s six-classification system.

KEY GAME: If Nanticoke and Valley View get through tonight’s quarterfinals, they will meet in a Saturday semifinal between teams that both have multiple players with state tournament experience.

BETTER THAN SEEDED: Fifth-seeded Western Wayne took top seed and defending champion Scranton Prep to overtime. The Wildcats have two wins over 6A teams and four over 5A opponents.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Tyler Faux, Tunkhannock; Dahlton Frisbie, Western Wayne; Will Johnson, GAR; Nate Kreitzer, Nanticoke; Marc Kudrich, Valley View; Leo O’Boyle, Scranton Prep; Zach Rovinsky, Western Wayne.

TRENDS: Scranton Prep has won four straight district titles, including the first two in Class 4A since the six-class system began. The Cavaliers are 14-2 in the last 16 games with the only two losses coming to defending state Class 5A champion Abington Heights. … Meyers is 5-3 after starting out 2-12. … GAR is 6-2 with the only two losses coming to Nanticoke since it started out 9-6. … Western Wayne is 5-2 since beginning league play 0-6. … Tunkhannock is 3-4 after starting 10-5. … Valley View is 5-5 in the last 10 games after starting 9-3.

NOTEWORTHY: GAR and Meyers are each trying to extend the history of their programs, which will merge with Coughlin next season to form Wilkes-Barre Area. … Kreitzer and O’Boyle both earned all-state recognition as juniors. … Kreitzer, Johnson, Faux, Kudrich, Rovinsky and Frisbie are all 1,000-point scorers in their careers. … Nanticoke played in the first WVC Tournament championship game after Kreitzer scored 35 points, including 26 in the second half, during a rally from 18 points down to WVC Division 1 champion Hazleton Area in the semifinals. … Tunkhannock has not played since Feb. 11.

COMPLETE PAIRINGS

Thursday Quarterfinals

8-Meyers (7-15) vs. 1-Scranton Prep (19-3) at Scranton, 7:30

5-Western Wayne (12-10) vs. 4-GAR (15-8) at Wyoming Area, 6

6-Tunkhannock (13-9) vs. 3-Valley View (14-8) at Dunmore, 6

7-Hanover Area (12-10) vs. 2-Nanticoke (19-6) at Wyoming Area, 7:30

Saturday Semifinals

Meyers-Scranton Prep winner vs. Western Wayne-GAR winner

Tunkhannock-Valley View winner vs. Hanover Area-Nanticoke winner

February 26 Third-Place Game

Semifinal losers

March 2 Final

Semifinal winners at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 4 p.m.