Sabers downed in Class A finals

Old Forge’s Jimmie Aversa, left, tries to drive past Susquehanna’s Andrzej Tomczyk during Friday’s game at Scranton Prep’s Xavier Center. TIMES-SHAMROCK PHOTO/JASON FARMER

Old Forge’s Jimmie Aversa, left, tries to drive past Susquehanna’s Andrzej Tomczyk during Friday’s game at Scranton Prep’s Xavier Center. TIMES-SHAMROCK PHOTO/JASON FARMER

BY SCOTT WALSH
Times-Shamrock Writer

A strong second half doomed Susquehanna in the District II Class A finals on Friday night as Old Forge’s Blue Devils battled to a 47-42 victory over the Sabers at Scranton Prep’s Xavier Center.
Old Forge’s Jimmie Aversa scored 13 of his team-high 16 points after halftime to rally the Blue Devils to a win.
Old Forge reclaimed the district crown after Susquehanna had ended the Blue Devils’ five-year reign as champs in last year’s final.
Old Forge also won both regular-season meetings between the teams.
Cole Mallery had 17 points and 14 rebounds to lead Susquehanna (13-11).
Behind Mallery’s eight points, the Sabers held a 23-20 halftime lead.
But Aversa came out in the third quarter, hit his first four shot attempts and scored Old Forge’s first 10 points.
It started with a foul-line jumper. Aversa then hit back-to-back 3-pointers before another basket gave Old Forge a 30-27 lead with 5:18 left in the third.
The Blue Devils took a 37-33 lead into the fourth, but Mallery scored his team’s first five points in the quarter to bring Susquehanna within 39-38 with 3:41 left.
After Dave Chromey scored for Old Forge, Zack Vaughn answered for Susquehanna with 2:27 left. But the Blue Devils secured the victory by hitting 6 of 8 foul shots in the final 1:23 – one by Aversa, two by Chromey and three by Wahl.
“Aversa had that two- or three-minute stretch in the third quarter where we couldn’t get over screens and he was getting good looks,” Susquehanna coach Lawrence Tompkins said. “I thought we played well enough to win. A couple of turnovers here or there changed the game. When plays needed to be made, they did and we didn’t.”
With the win, Old Forge advances to the PIAA Class A playoffs and will face District 11 runnerup Pius X in Friday’s first round.
Old Forge (12-12) – J. Aversa 6-9 1-2 16, B. Tomasetti 5-13 1-1 11, B. Wahl 3-11 5-7 11, J. Manetti 2-7 0-1 5, D. Chromey 1-3 2-2 4, A. Cantarella 0-1 0-0 0, A. Piccolini 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-45 9-13 47.
Susquehanna (13-11) – C. Mallery 7-16 3-6 17, J. Wheeler 3-6 0-0 7, A. Tomczyk 2-10 0-0 6, Z. Vaughn 2-3 2-3 6, D. Biegert 2-7 0-3 4, M. Zappe 1-2 0-0 2, B. Soden 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-46 5-12 42.
OF 14 6 17 10 – 47
Sus 12 11 10 9 – 42
3-point goals: Old Forge 4-14 (Aversa 3-5, Manetti 1-3, Wahl 0-3, Tomasetti 0-2, Chromey 0-1); Susquehanna 3-11 (Tomczyk 2-6, Wheeler 1-4, Biegert 0-1). Rebounds: Old Forge 22 (Wahl, Manetti, Chromey 4); Susquehanna 35 (Mallery 14). Assists: Old Forge 7 (Wahl 6), Susquehanna 9 (Biegert 4). Steals: Old Forge 6 (Wahl 2), Susquehanna 2 (Mallery, Wheeler). Blocks: Susquehanna 2 (Vaughn, Biegert). Team rebounds: Old Forge 1, Susquehanna 2. Team fouls: Old Forge 13, Susquehanna 17. Fouled out: Vaughn.