Late game surge not enough for Montrose
BY HEIDI ZENEFSKI
So close they could almost taste it! Three more minutes and they might have done it. Almost. So close. It just wasn’t to be. That’s how the #6 seeded Montrose Meteors and their fans felt after a narrow defeat by #3 Mid Valley in the District II Class AA Quarterfinal game played at Scranton High School on Saturday, February 22.
The Meteors made their way into the quarterfinal round after securing a win over Mountain View on Thursday.
The first quarter started with Montrose’s Cameron Dean and Mid Valley’s Martin Walsh battling under the basket. Dean scored four points and Walsh didn’t post any, but the battle between these two seniors wasn’t for points; it was for rebounds.
Dean came out on top with six rebounds, two blocks and one steal, but Walsh was right behind him with five rebounds and two blocks.
Brenton Warner also put in three points for Montrose.
Alex Prislupsky, clearly the Spartans’ star player, put in eight points early and could not be stopped for the rest of game.
At the end of the first quarter Mid Valley had a slight, one basket 9-7 lead over the Meteors.
The second quarter belonged to Prislupsky who outscored the whole Montrose team by himself. He put up 12 points and the other Mid Valley players added in eight more for an even 20 points in the second quarter.
Montrose scored half as many points, setting up an unrecoverable deficit but the Meteors did not give up.
Erik Burgh sank two very deep 3-pointers and Jack Fruehan came into the game as a rebounding giant, grabbing the first four of his 10 rebounds in the game and putting up three points for Montrose.
The score at half time heavily favored the Spartans 29-17.
In the third quarter, the Meteors matched Mid Valley point for point – keeping Montrose in the game but not decreasing the Spartan lead.
Burgh landed his third 3-pointer, Jack Fruehan and Dean each put in four more points, and Troy Ely made a bucket for the Meteors.
Sophomore, Justin Richel, had two steals, disrupting scoring drives for Mid Valley.
Prislupsky, once again, did the bulk of the scoring work for Mid Valley with eight more points. He had some help from teammate A. J. Gangemi who scored five points to end the third quarter with a score of Mid Valley 42, Montrose 30.
Montrose played the fourth quarter like a well-oiled machine, taking control of the action.
Dean and Warner combined for 11 of Montrose’s 15 rebounds with Warner even taking a nasty shot to the nose while fighting for the ball under the basket.
Mid Valley’s team managed to grab three rebounds in the quarter.
Ely blocked his second shot of the game and he and Austin Smith each scored a 3-pointer for Montrose and Burgh scored made his fourth and final 3-pointer of the night. Warner put in five points for the Meteors and blocked a Spartan shot, and Dean sank 11 points for the Meteors.
Montrose outscored the Spartans, 24-16, in the final period.
As the clock ran down the Spartans were hoping it would go faster, Montrose just needed a few more minutes and the Spartan fans knew it.
After a perfect first three quarters at the foul line, the Spartans were feeling the pressure and went 4 for 11 at the stripe in the fourth; while the Meteors were sank all from the foul line.
Mid Valley fans seemed stunned at the turn of events, while on the Montrose side, fans were willing the clock to slow down so the on-fire Meteors could score a few more.
But as the buzzer sounded, the second quarter deficit could not be overcome and Mid Valley, who had been up by as much as 16, won by four points with a final score of 58-54, ending the Meteors’ season.
Montrose senior and first year player Justin Hartman said, “It was fun to watch, I wish I could have played. We came up short of our goal, but had a great year.”
Hartman played the first four games of the season before an injury sidelined him for the rest of the games.
Montrose coach Sean Madden said, “It was an amazing season. With a little more teamwork and determination I still believe the sky is the limit. I am excited for next year.”
The high scorer for Montrose was Dean with 18, followed by Burgh with 12. Mid Valley’s high scorer was Preislupsky who scored more than half of Mid Valley’s points with 34.
Mid Valley moves on to play #2 ranked Meyers in a semifinal game on Wednesday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Wilkes College in Wilkes-Barre.