Monticello returned to the shores of the Big Lake on Wednesday night looking to take the tournament trophy back to the Empire State.
After a fierce battle with Pocono Mountain East, they claimed a 68-65 first-round win during four days prior and were now back in town to take on the Buckhorns.
That same day, Paupack declawed the Western Wayne Wildcats with a decisive 49-21 victory to propel themselves to the championship bracket.
Threatening weather forces a postponement of the title match, which had already been pushed back due to the wintry mix that moved through the region last Friday.
Further school cancellations on Monday and Tuesday of this week gave the Bucks no practice time, but allowed them to rest up and come back to the court fully charged.
Paupack had a hard time getting into the game and ended the first quarter ten points down.
John Steffen stuffed in two buckets and added an extra point from the line while Jamel Blanding made two foul shots. Monticello racked up the points which included three treys.
After one quarter, the Bucks were down 7-17.
The Purple & White picked things up in the second by tossing in twelve points and holding the Panthers to just two baskets.
Steffen banged in one from the stripe; a 2-pointer, and a 3-pointer.
Blanding was good for a pair of field goals and Anthony Bouselli made two-of-four foul shots.
Re-focused and back in form, the Bucks moved ahead but still trailed 19-21 at halftime.
Page 2 of 3 - Both teams put up good numbers in the third period and nearly matched each other point for point. Steffen and Blanding added two more baskets each.
They were joined by TJ Root who also added two points. Rashawn Battle dropped in a pair of 2-pointers and Bouselli was good for a deuce.
While the Bucks tallied 12 points in the quarter, the Panthers beat them out by one bucket and held on to the lead 35-31.
Determined to win their own tournament, Paupack pulled out everything they had in the fourth and held Monticello to just nine points while racking up seventeen themselves.
Once more, it was a back and forth fight on the hardwood as both squads exchanged bucket for bucket through most of the period.
Bouselli and Root tossed in a basket each while Steffen and Blanding were good for a pair apiece.
Blanding added one from the line as did Mac Jeffries in trips to the foul line during the final seconds of the game. However, it was Battle who put the final nail in the Panthers coffin by hitting two-for-two foul shots adding to an earlier single point picked up earlier in the quarter.
The late game push by the Bucks propelled them to a 48-44 win, much to the delight of a good sized crowd who came out to support the team.
"Things were tight for a while," admitted Head Coach Rich McGinnis. "We collectively exhaled in the second period and came out of it to claw back for the win."
John Steffen was named the Tournament MVP and Rashawn Battle was the lone Buckhorn named to the All-Tournament Team.
McGinnis noted Monticello's speed and athleticism did give the Bucks a run for the money, but the Panthers were just the sort of team Paupack needed to play and beat.
Page 3 of 3 - "This was a hard team to beat and we have a tough pre-season schedule ahead of us," he concluded.
With five more pre-season games and then the Honesdale Jaycees Tourney, hard fought wins might be just what the Buckhorns need to iron out the last wrinkles before the regular season.
Score by Quarters...
WA (2-0) 7 12 12 17 - 48
MO (1-1) 17 4 14 9 - 44