Warriors clinch first-half title

BY JOHN LUND
Times Shamrock Writer

The Elk Lake boys’ basketball team remained undefeated after winning 59-43 at Lackawanna Trail in a packed gym on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

Tanner Reyan scored a game-high 25 points to pace the Warriors, who clinched a tie for the first-half title. Matt Woolcock and Nick Dudock each had double digit scoring nights for Elk Lake, with 16 and 11 points, respectively.

“We knew going in it would be a great game,” Elk Lake coach John Warnero said. “Trial has been playing good basketball and is a division contender, and we’re going to get a team’s best shot every night. It was really intense but we continued to stay focused and do the things that got us to where we are.”

Ross Fauquier scored 11 points while Tyler Rzucidlo chipped in with nine for the Lions, who suffered their first division loss of the season.

“The kids played hard for four quarters,” Trail head coach Jason Nese said. “They continue to work and don’t quit and play hard for all 32 minutes. The game was close and we know that we can hang with them now; we just can’t spot them 10 points to start the game.”

Elk Lake did come out firing in the first quarter and built a 14-4 advantage, but the Lions fought back and took advantage of some Warriors missed shots to cut the lead to 22-15 at halftime.

“Elk Lake is very compatible with us,” Nese said. “They have great athletes and a coach who does a great job and we can’t give points away to a league champion and expect to come out successfully. We had a slow start and some trouble with their pressure but focused on running our set and getting open looks.”

For the Warriors, it was only a matter of time before they found their rhythm.

“Our shooting is certainly key, but we’ll go through stretches where we’re not clicking or knocking down shots,” Warnero said. “That’s when we need to lean on our defensive pressure to keep the other team in check and force some turnovers so we can get some higher possession shots.”

Neither team had budged for an advantage in the third quarter, but Elk Lake had built its lead to nine to start the fourth. The Warriors then used timely outside shooting down the stretch to pull away and take the win.

“We’re trying to get better in every aspect of the game,” Warnero said. “We have to go in there with great focus to play together as a team. If we have great effort on every possession and play smart basketball I’m hopeful that everything else falls into place.”

As the first half comes to a close, the Lions know what they have to do in order to contend with the Warriors in the second half.

“We’re looking to end the first half strong and take care of the second half to compete for the league title.” Nese said. “We want to go into the second half on a strong note and prepare for some tough away games against Montrose and Elk Lake. We have to make sure we take care of business.”

In other boys’ basketball action last week:
Montrose, 63
Forest City, 37

At Montrose, Cameron Dean scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Meteors.
Erik Burgh added 13 points for the winners.
Noah Fedak led Forest City with 11 points and Matt Nevins scored 10.

Lack. Trail, 53
Blue Ridge, 43

At Blue Ridge, Brian Mitteer scored 20 points to lead Lackawanna Trail in a 53-43 win over the Raiders.
Austin White led Blue Ridge with 10 points.

Dunmore, 56
Mountain View, 43
At Mountain View, Mike Becchetti scored 15 points and Joe Capooci added 14 to lead Dunmore to a Division III-IV crossover win over the Eagles.
Nick Schermerhorn led Mountain View with 15 points and Chris White and Brett Crowley each scored 10.