Wallenpaupack Area boys post mixed results on the hardwood
Things were bittersweet for the Wallenpaupack Area varsity boys basketball team last week.
While the Buckhorns were able to shake off a three game losing streak by upsetting West Scranton last Tuesday, they fell on Friday to North Pocono for the second time this year.
Following a 55-29 home loss to Delaware Valley in their previous venture, the Paupack gents took to the road on a quest to West Scranton.
Although the Invaders have been getting knocked around all year by their Division I counterparts, they’d demolished all takers from Division II in cross-league play until that night.
Westside was coming off a tight loss to Scranton but just prior to that had bounced DV and Honesdale and had notched wins versus Western Wayne and North Pocono earlier on the schedule.
They put up 16 points in the first period to Paupack's half-dozen but were held to ten and matched by their guests in the second period to make it a 26-16 game at halftime.
The Bucks got fired up in the third, doubling their score while allowing their hosts to scratch out a measly seven.
Although the Invaders still led after three, the Buckhorns tightened the gap to 33-32.
Still running hot in the last quarter, Paupack maintained the same spread by posting 17 to West’s eight to pull ahead late and secure a much needed 49-41 win.
“It was a big win for us,” remarked Wallenpaupack Head Coach Chris Strong.
“That’s a tough gym and this was a huge win for our program and for our seniors.”
Senior Codey Fenstermacher paced Paupack with 14 points that included a lone trey, a trio of deuces, and 5-of-7 stand at the stripe.
Kyle Pillar matched Fenstermacher from the field but went 2-for-3 on foul shots for a total of 11, while team points leaders Mitchell Guerrieri and freshman Elijah Rosenthal each hit once from outside the arc.
“Collectively, it was the best game of the year for Codey, Kyle, and Nate Steffen as well,” Strong commented.
When they hosted Paupack back on January 7, North Pocono bested their guests 47-36.
While the Trojans had done some experimenting with their bench over the past weeks, whatever they were trying to iron out seems to have bene a non-issue.
Scoring was close in the opening chapter of last Friday’s showdown. Paupack trailed 13-10 after one but managed only four points in the second to NP’s 15.
At intermission, the Trojans were up 28-14.
The Buckhorns outscored their guests 9-6 in the third but became plagued by fouls close to the end.
North Pocono drained 17-of-29 free throws over the course of the evening while Paupack went 10-for-16.
“We were at the top of the roller coaster after West and at the bottom after North Pocono,” Strong stated. “Fouls certainly hurt us but North Pocono was sharp and able to match us at every turn.”
Guerrieri led the Buckhorns with three threes and a 2-for-2 show at the line, for 11 total.
Sophomore Alex Pillar went 6-for-6 at the stripe and added a deuce for eight while Fenstermacher hit for two field goals for four and Rosenthal posted a lone 3-pointer.
Pending the outcome of Tuesday’s game versus Western Wayne and how well Pittston Area does the same night will largely determine where the Buckhorns end up in the District II 5A seeding.
With nine teams in the hunt, first place Abington Heights will most likely get a bye in the quarterfinals on February 21. Currently in eighth, ahead of Coughlin, Paupack is poised to face either Crestwood or West Scranton.
Given the choice, due to travel and the fact that they’ve already beaten West once, Strong is hoping for an outcome that will once again pit the Bucks against the Invaders rather than the Comets.