Heeeelllooooooo!

Many of my readers may not be familiar enough with the Hall of Fame comedy Seinfeld, but there was a hilariously funny bit when Jerry would say an elongated and exaggerated hello because he is mocking the sounds that the stomach of his girlfriend at the time, Claire, makes during the night, chiefly by saying “helloooo” in a loud, booming voice. Jerry envisions the belly button as the mouth and the sound the stomach makes as its voice

It makes me laugh every time I see it, and I wanted to start my Wednesday Wrap Blog by putting a smile on everyone’s face. ….

 

It was an intense week of basketball since our last session. On Tuesday, things really took a turn as the first-half of the Lackawanna League season in Divisions III and IV are winding down.

In Division III, we avoided what had the potential to be a three-team logjam at the top of the standings. Now, I have had countless rants on how much I despise playing the season in two separate halves, but I can never make any headway in my argument. Hence, as a general rule, I usually get hit with the ties and playoff games, while a certain sports writer who shall remain nameless, usually gets a pause in the season.

With that being said, Old Forge, which is playing its best basketball of the season, and Dunmore, which is also beginning to find its stride, took care of business in huge rivalry games.

Dunmore defeated Holy Cross, 42-32, with an intense defensive approach that relied on pressure, speed and quickness.

Interestingly, Dunmore High School gymnasium has turned into a House of Horrors for Holy Cross shooters. The Crusaders have lost three games there since the 2011-12 season and have averaged only 35.7 points in those defeats.

Here is video of the closing minutes of Dunmore’s win:

That gave Holy Cross its first loss of the first half.

Across the county to the annual Triboro rivalry game, Old Forge won its third in five games that included a seven-point loss to Mid Valley. The Blue Devils knocked Riverside out of contention for the first-half honors with a 65-47 win.

Player to watch alert

_M3_0109

Joey Gutowski

Old Forge

Averaging 18.4 points in his last five games with three games of more than 20 points.

 

So that left Mid Valley, which has the best overall record in the Lackawanna League. The Spartans, who lost to Riverside earlier in the season, defeated Carbondale Area, 69-28, to move to 13-1 and 4-1 in the division.

The first-half division standings look like this:

Lackawanna Division III W L W L
Mid Valley 4 1 13 1
Holy Cross 4 1 10 3
Dunmore 3 2 10 4
Riverside 3 2 9 5
Old Forge 3 3 7 7
Lakeland 1 4 6 7
Carbondale Area 0 5 4 10

 

And it sets up, Mid Valley at Holy Cross on Thursday in the first-half finale as a winner-takes-all game.

TALE OF THE TAPE

Mid Valley   Holy Cross
13-1 Record 10 – 3
63 Averge Points For 53.2
38.1 Average Points Agst. 44.6
Jason Kenny 22.9 Leading scorer Brenden Leese 13.2

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Over in Division IV, Montrose has recovered from a 1-3 start under the guidance on first-year coach Tim Lopez, to win seven of its last eight games and clinch a tie for the first-half title.

Forest City rallied to defeat Lackawanna Trail on Tuesday, which forced the standings to look like this:

Lackawanna Division IV W L W L
x-Montrose 5 0 8 4
Forest City 4 1 8 5
Elk Lake 3 2 6 7
Lackawanna Trail 3 3 6 8
Blue Ridge 2 3 2 12
Mountain View 1 4 2 12
Susquehanna 0 5 3 11

x- Clinched tie for first-half title

And that sets up Thursday’s game as Montrose will be at Forest City. If Montrose wins, it claims the first-half title. If Forest City wins, it forces a tie and a playoff rematch between the two teams.

TALE OF THE TAPE

Montrose   Forest City
8 – 4 Record 8 – 5
51.8 Averge Points For 54.4
50.4 Average Points Agst. 45.8
Austin Smith 15.9 Leading scorer Noah Fedak 16.5

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MILESTONE WATCH

It is a mind-boggling season in basketball in NEPA. Players are earning their way into quality minutes and even starting lineups a lot earlier in their careers allowing for more and more to reach the 1,000-point milestone for their careers.

Three boys are closing in on the mark.

  • Brody Dial, North Pocono scored 26 against Western Wayne to give him 976 points.
  • Ross Fauquier, Lackawanna Trail scored 26 against Forest City to give him 974 points.
  • Randy Kincel, Riverside scored six points to give him 898 points.

Coaching milestones are also on the radar.

  • Holy Cross coach Al Callejas needs one win for 400 in his career.
  • Abington Heights coach Ken Bianchi has 689 career wins.

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