Tonight the District 2 Tournament starts back with semifinal games in Class 5A and Class 3A. That means the Class 6A, Class 4A and Class 2A semifinals will be held on Saturday.
There are seven Lackawanna League teams still in pursuit of district championships in those classifications. Two of them are defending champions — Scranton Prep (Class 4A) and Holy Cross (Class 2A).
Scranton and Delaware Valley will be trying to pull off upsets when the Class 6A bracket begins Saturday in two locations. Despite being the Lackawanna League Division II champion, Delaware Valley is the No. 4 seed and will play top-seeded Hazleton Area, which is a heavy favorite to win the championship. That being said, the Warriors have shown they can be a challenge for any team in the postseason.
4-Delaware Valley (12-10) vs. 1-Hazleton Area (21-1), King’s College, 4 p.m.
Take last year for example:
OK, so the challenge is there and Delaware Valley coach Kris Holtzer will have his guys ready. Hazleton Area has been ranked in the Top 10 for Class 6A by City of Basketball Love website.
Hazleton Area and Delaware Valley share a common opponent in Scranton Prep. Hazleton Area beat the Cavaliers, 59-50, in the season opener back in early Decemeber. Delaware Valley lost to Scranton Prep, 74-38.
Delaware Valley leaders
- Blake Gearhart, junior: Scored 326 points and has 58 3-pointers this season.
- Jackson Shafer, sophomore: Scored 169 points and had 25 3-pointers.
Fans may remember Jackson Shafer. …
Also on Saturday, Scranton, while having earned the No. 2 seed, is still a slight underdog to Williamsport, which won the District 2-4 Class 6A subregional final last season.
3-Williamsport (13-9) vs. 2-Scranton (15-7), Tunkhannock HS, 2 p.m.
Look, there is going to be some athleticism on display here. Still, the best athlete in the tournament is Scranton’s Ky’Ron Harbin. He is a Division I prospect in both football and track and field, and can play at a high level in basketball.
But now it’s basketball season and the four-year, three-sport standout is closing in on the end of his hoops career. He is also chasing a milestone. Having missed significant time as a sophomore, Harbin is still going to get close to 1,000 points.
- 2017-18: 372 points
- 2016-17: 340 points
- 2015-16: 105 points
- 2014-15: 162 points
In order to reach the milestone, Harbin will have to be at his best, which he has in the last half of the season.
- Abington Heights (Loss): 15 points
- Western Wayne (Win): 22 points
- Scranton Prep (Loss): 17 points
- West Scranton (Win): 30 points
- Wallenpaupack (Win): 18 points
- Pocono Mountain West (Win): 23 points
- Valley View (Win): 23 points
- North Pocono (Win): 12 points
- Delaware Valley (Win): 15 points
Scranton will need that too. Williamsport is a fast-paced, high-flying team. The Millionaires have a loss to Abington Heights, 71-55, a win over Scranton Prep, 62-58, and a win over West Scranton, 61-58, this season. Scranton played Abington Heights tough in the first half, 68-56, but got thumped in the second meeting, 65-45. The Knights also played well against Scranton Prep in two of three meetings, but all — 64-43, 55-51, 63-56 — were losses and swept two games against West Scranton, 46-45, 67-60.
The Class 4A playoffs went chalk on the opening day of the tournament. All four seeds held and sets up Saturday’s semifinals.
Scranton Prep 69, GAR 43
Wyoming Area 44, Hanover Area 43
Valley View 47, Tunkhannock 38
Nanticoke 50, Meyers 48
1-Scranton Prep (18-5) vs. 4-Wyoming Area (15-8), Lackawanna College, 4 p.m.
3-Valley View (15-8) vs. 2-Nanticoke (19-4), King’s College, 2:30 p.m.
March 3, 4 p.m., Mohegan Sun Arena
Scranton Prep is on a postseason roll. The Cavaliers have won three straight district championships with two being in Class 3A before the PIAA went to six classifications.
This stretch of success began with a heartbreaking loss in the 2013-14 Class 3A quarterfinals. The Cavaliers fell to Honesdale, 60-54, ending their season.
Since, Scranton Prep has dominated opponents in the District 2 tournament:
- Scranton Prep 96, Western Wayne 34
- Scranton Prep 88, Tunkhannock 62
- Scranton Prep 95, Honesdale 44
- Scranton Prep 88, GAR 55 — Championship game
- Scranton Prep 93, Western Wayne 31
- Scranton Prep 83, North Pocono 24
- Scranton Prep 60, West Scranton 38
- Scranton Prep 70, Berwick 45 — Championship game
- Scranton Prep 79, Tunkhannock 60
- Scranton Prep 72, Nanticoke 66, 2 OTs
- Scranton Prep 64, GAR 45 — Championship game
- Scranton Prep 69, GAR 43
Leo O’Boyle got off to a fast start. He scored 35 points in the opening round of the tournament. O’Boyle, a 6-8 junior who is being wooed by some Division I programs, has been on a tear. He is averaging 23.9 points a game in his last seven.
The Cavaliers are taking on Wyoming Area in the semifinals.
Scranton Prep is 20-1 against teams from the Wyoming Valley Conference since the 2014-15 season.
Valley View is riding a wave of momentum into its showdown with Nanticoke, which also has motivation dating back to last season’s loss in double overtime to Scranton Prep in a game it lead by 32-10 at the half.
The Cougars have an impressive win on its resume at Scranton Prep on February 2. Marc Kudrich made the game-winning 3-pointer and he has been the featured player of this tournament.
In the Cougars win over Tunkhannock, Kudrich scored 13 points to lead the way. That was a big win considering Tunkhannock entered the game on a four-game winning streak that included:
- GAR, 60-55 — Class 4A playoff team
- Meyers, 49-39 — Class 4A playoff team
- Nanticoke, 56-51 — Class 4A playoff team
- Berwick, 68-55
Now the Cougars will try to reach the District 2 championship game, but must get through Nanticoke, which ended their season in the 2015-16 District 2 Class 3A first round.
Holy Cross is the defending champion and is looking to earn coach Al Callejas another district crown. Old Forge is aiming to shock the world and pull off an upset against the Crusaders. In the other semifinal, Northwest Area will take on Elk Lake, which can outscore anybody, and is trying to make its second trip to Mohegan Sun Arena.
Holy Cross 63, Blue Ridge 34
Old Forge 56, Mountain View 47
Northwest 52, Lackawanna Trail 43
Elk Lake 54, Forest City 47
1-Holy Cross (19-6) vs. 4-Old Forge (8-15), Scranton HS, 2:30 p.m.
3-Northwest Area (9-14) vs. 2-Elk Lake (13-10), Scranton HS, 1 p.m.
Saturday, March 3, 2 p.m.
No team is as hot as the Crusaders. On December 28, they were in a not-so-jolly mood after finishing fourth in the Lynett Memorial Tournament with a last-second loss to rival Scranton, 59-58, at the Lackawanna College Student Union. Then they lost to Riverside, 61-58. They had three straight losses and a record of 3-6.
Since. … Holy Cross hasn’t lost.
That is 16 wins in a row for those of us who are not math majors:
Holy Cross 63, Blue Ridge 34
Holy Cross 61, Carbondale Area 45
Holy Cross 66, Blue Ridge 39
Holy Cross 51, Old Forge 20
Holy Cross 62, Dunmore 47
Holy Cross 66, Lakeland 44
Holy Cross 45, Mid Valley 37
Holy Cross 58, Riverside 47
Holy Cross 53, Mid Valley 44
Holy Cross 67, Carbondale Area 55
Holy Cross 73, Blue Ridge 39
Holy Cross 62, Old Forge 31
Holy Cross 55, Dunmore 39
Holy Cross 56, Lakeland 35
Holy Cross 41, Mid Valley 38
Look at that defense. Eight games where the defense has limited opponents to less than 40 points.
Old Forge has a reputation of playing well in the district playoffs. Before the realignment pushed the Blue Devils into the Class 2A bracket, they won nine of 10 championships in Class 1A.
2007 — Old Forge
2008 — Old Forge
2009 — Old Forge
2010 — Old Forge
2011 — Old Forge
2012 — Susquehanna
2013 — Old Forge
2014 — Old Forge
2015 — Old Forge
2016 — Old Forge
2017 — Susquehanna*
But last season, the Blue Devils ran into Holy Cross in the semifinals. That scenario will play out again this season. Old Forge faced Holy Cross twice in the season and lost by an average of 31 points.
Elk Lake had dominated the Lackawanna Division IV since the start of the four-division format in the LIAA. The Warriors won four of five division title, but had limited district success.
They lost in the the first round last year, and in 2015, and in the second round in 2014 as the No. 1 seed. However, in 2016, the Warriors broke through and beat Holy Cross in the semifinals, 76-73, and lost to Meyers, 50-29, in the final.
Can the Warriors upset Northwest Area?
Elk Lake has won three games in a row and has a few common opponents with Northwest:
- Tunkhannock 64, Elk Lake 41 — EL: Drew Arnold 12 points
- Tunkhannock 56, Northwest Area 45 — NW: Tyler Stevens 15 points
- Elk Lake 56, Susquehanna 54 — EL: Rierdan Reyan 18 points
- Susquehanna 64, Elk Lake 43 — EL: Rierdan Reyan 34 points
- Susquehanna 56, Elk Lake 38 — EL: Rierdan Reyan 21 points
- Northwest Area 55, Susquehanna 52 — NW: Sam Saxe 22 points
- Elk Lake 57, Lackawanna Trail 47 — EL: Hunter Bomboy 15 points
- Elk Lake 77, Lackawanna Trail 44 — EL: Rierdan Reyan 35 points
- Northwest Area 52, Lackawanna Trail 43 — NW: Sam Saxe 18 points
NOTABLE: Elk Lake’s Rierdan Reyan is averaging 22.3 points in his last three games.