Meteor play off run ends

Montrose’s Colby Major goes up for a layup during the Meteors’ 49-48 Lackawanna League Div. III title game loss to Lackawanna Trail at Carbondale on Thursday. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALICE STUFFLE

Montrose Area’s boys’ basketball team lost a 55-52 heartbreaker to Mid Valley at home on Monday night to be eliminated from District II Class AA title contention.

The loss comes only days after they lost the Lackawanna League Division III basketball championship to Lackawanna Trail on Thursday at Carbondale, as the Lions rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to claim a 49-48, win over the Meteors.

Monday night saw the Meteors take an early 19-15 lead after the first quarter and paced the Spartans 35-28 by halftime.

After the half, Mid Valley struck back with a 17-9 run in the third to lead 45-44 going into the fourth where Mid Valley’s Matt Tanner knocked down a mid-range jumper and dropped in a pair of free throws to take the win.

Montrose was led by Colby Major with 16 points while Steve Squires added 13 and Bill Stranburg scored 10.

On Thursday, with Major drawing all three fouls against Trail’s Steve Miller, the 7-foot-1 junior sat all but five minutes of the first half. Still, the Meteors managed to build just a 25-20 halftime lead.

Cole Wheaton’s put back and Major’s bucket off one of Wheaton’s five steals built the lead to 29-20 as Lackawanna Trail committed six turnovers in the first 2:04 of the second half.

“We have the utmost respect for Coach (Todd) Smith and his team,” Trail coach Andrew Kettel said. “Last year they had our number, they beat us three times in close battles. It’s nice that this year is ours.”

At that point, it didn’t look like it would be, but Sweppenhieser scored six of Lackawanna Trail’s next eight to cut the lead to 34-28 after three quarters.

Then Miller got hot.

Working hard to get position in the post, Miller’s teammates found him and he converted six of his seven field goal attempts in the final quarter.

Miller’s lob and layup from Matt Lochen tied the game at 36 with 4:03 left, and when Sweppenhieser grabbed an offensive rebound and scored when Miller didn’t convert his three-point play opportunity, the Lions had the lead for keeps.

Wheaton’s 20-footer from the left wing pulled Montrose within a point with 44 seconds left, but Boslough calmly hit both ends of a one-and-one to bump the lead to three.

Stranburg’s rebound basket cut it to 46-45, but Sweppenhieser hit two free throws. Miller’s 11th rebound of the night, off Stranburg’s off-balance 3 with three seconds left, led to a clinching free throw, and Major’s 30-footer at the final horn capped a 20-point effort.

Times-Shamrock writer Marty Myers contributed to this report.