Wallenpaupack Area's boys varsity basketball team survived a double overtime brouhaha with Western Wayne
Sporting an 0-19 record coming into this Lackawanna League boys basketball game, the logical bet would not be on Western Wayne.
However, anyone who might have made a wager on their visit to Paupack certainly wouldn't have bet any point spread.
Why? Because the Wildcats nearly dealt the Buckhorns a stunning defeat before a big Senior Night crowd.
While the 7-12 Bucks did prevail, it took two overtime periods to do so and was their closest win of the season.
Prior to hitting the hardwood, senior class members of the Buckhorns squad were recognized.
Among the honorees were Jamel Blanding, Anthony Bouselli, Michael Galgano, Peter Stella, Sam Vargas and manager Aaron Graham.
Blanding, an honor roll student and letterman, has also coached Biddy Basketball, served as a counselor at the Wallenpaupack Basketball Camp, and played AAU basketball as well.
He has been a peer helper, a member of student council, SADD, and the FBLA. Following four years at either Penn State or Temple, Jamel plans to attend law school.
Bouselli, a National Honor Society member, holds letters for football, field hockey, basketball, and track & field, as well as two state medals for discus.
A member of Queen of Peace Church, he has also been active with SADD and Rachel's Challenge. Anthony's future plans include obtaining a degree in Environmental Science and a career is sustainable and renewable resources.
Galgano, an honor roll student and letterman, has also coached Biddy Basketball, served as a counselor at Paupack's basketball camp.
Mike has served as a peer helper, a member of student council, and the FBLA. He plans to attend either East Stroudsburg or Bloomsburg University to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice.
Stella, has attained honor roll status and lettered in basketball. He has served on the prom committee, was a peer helper, and a member of FBLA.
Peter has coached Biddy Basketball and been a hoops camp counselor. While, undecided on his course of study, he plans to attend a four year university following graduation.
Vargas' academic accolades include Silver level honor roll status.
In addition to basketball, Sam has been a regular on the baseball diamond and has served as a peer helper.
After graduation, he plans to attend Wilkes University to major in business.
Graham has been a part of the Power Mechanics program and has played basketball in the past.
He has assisted greatly behind the scenes with both the JV and varsity programs for the past two years.
Aaron's future plans include college and the military.
The Wildcats struck first but with contributions from Blanding, Rashawn Battle, and TJ Root, the Buckhorns kept pace but trailed 14-13 after the first quarter.
Immediately after they took the lead thanks to a 2-pointer from Battle.
Through the second period Root continued to add to his tally while Blanding made good showings at the stripe.
Both teams scrapped for every possession, often forcing turnovers as defensive pressure from both sides was heavy throughout the half.
Battle added another two points before the halftime buzzer, helping Paupack to take a 28-26 lead.
The back-and-forth scoring continued in the third quarter.
Western Wayne called in the artillery and landed three 3-pointers off the red hot Christian Sauter.
While Root, Battle, and Blanding each added two more, John Pillar's three baskets from the paint kept the Bucks in the game, although they trailed 45-40 at the close of the quarter.
Root and Battle matched additional Western Wayne scoring early in the fourth to set the stage for John
Steffen to tie things up. From there on out the lead shifted hands with almost every basket.
Both teams, due to heavy fouling late in the game, now were in double bonus and the pace of the game fell off as each team took turns at the line.
Paupack held a 2-point lead but with just seconds left, Sauter hit both on a 1-and-1 attempt, tied things at 53-all, and sent the game into overtime.
Blanding, Battle, and Root continued to add points from the field while Steffen and Stella hit from the line to match the five deuces delivered by Western Wayne.
The extra period yielded 10 points for each team but as the seconds wound down, the proverbial fat lady was nowhere to be found: Second Overtime.
Jayson Figueroa drained two foul shots to briefly give the Cats the lead, but Battle hit for two form the line as well to tie things up once more.
A putback from Root gave the Bucks the lead while Battle and Stella added one each from the line for insurance.
Figueroa netted a basket off a rebound closing the gap, but a foul allowed Steffen to shake the silk twice giving Paupack a 4-point lead.
With seconds left, the celebrating Buckhorns allowed Derek Gillis to let one fly from mid-court that miraculously found the hoop, a fitting finish to an unforgettable 71-70 game.