Wallenpaupack Area advances to District Two Class 5A semifinals

“This is the first playoff game Wallenpaupack has won in a long time,” boys varsity basketball coach Chris Strong said following his team’s win over West Scranton in the opening round of the District Two Class 5A tournament.

On the Rebound

The late season surge by the Purple & White earned them a four-seed in the playoffs.

A regular season win against the Invaders just two weeks prior was followed up with a score-settling triumph over North Pocono three nights later.

However, what should have been a solid win versus Western Wayne last week in the regular season closer ended up in a 41-38 loss for the Buckhorns.

Even with key forward sophomore Zach Rovinsky out of the ‘Cats line-up that night, junior Dalhton Frisbie was still able to amass 20 points against Paupack and lead his squad to a solid win on their final night of the season at the Varden Garden.

“Our guys don’t dwell on losses,” Strong said.

“Maybe sometimes they are too quick to dismiss a bad game, but regardless, they put Western Wayne behind them and got ready to play against West.”

Sluggish Start

Cub Scouts have been known to kindle a flame with flint and steel faster than it took the Buckhorns and Invaders to get their fires lit when the two hit the court in the Pioneer City.

While both squads got some good looks and sent a few off the rims, a full three-and-a-half minutes elapsed from the clock before sophomore Izaiah Santiago let one fly from outside the arc that found the hoop.

The Iceman came in with a lay-up to follow giving Paupack a 5-0 lead, but Shane Merrifield dropped in a trey for West Scranton.

The Invaders tied things up at five before junior Derrick Vosburg came in with two for the Bucks. At the buzzer, Westside tied it once more to make it 7-7.

A number of lead changes occurred in the second quarter.

West hopped ahead early off a deuce but a 3-pointer by junior Alex Pillar gave Paupack the led. Then West fired in a two, but was countered by sophomore Elijah Rosenthal.

Jalen Gregory went to the line and cashed in twice for the Invaders, but Pillar swished from downtown once again.

Leading with a few seconds to go in the half, Westside played hot potato before putting in one from the paint to make it 19-15 at intermission.

Solid Surge

Junior Derrick Vosburg got things going for Paupack in the second half, opening with a basket.

Sophomore Gabe Springer, while dazzling on defense and with rebounds, was hampered at the hoop most of the night.

He landed one bucket in the early part of the half, but that would be it for the Bucks’ big man.

Rosenthal added two and Vosburg pegged a three to give the Buckhorns a temporary lead, but West tied it at 24.

Rosenthal split a pair from the line and Santiago checked in again with another trey, but a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the frame by Ryan Mongan cut the Paupack lead to 28-27.

The margin wouldn’t change through the final quarter.

Pillar fired in one from downtown before being charged with three fouls in a 90 second span with over five minutes to go.

Vosburg and Rosenthal also added to their three-point tally in the last stanza. Rosenthal made good on two shots from the stripe and Vosburg sent one into the hoop off his own rebound.

While West Scranton hit two from the line as well to make it a 41-40 game, Paupack was able to fend them off through the final seconds to lay claim to the victory.

“Our guards and small forwards were able to do well in the second half,” said Strong.

“We matched up well from the start and West Scranton played us well. They are well coached, but I think just off a bit from what Coach Lyons was hoping for tonight.”

Next Up

Top seeded Abington Heights demolished North Pocono at Dunmore in their tangle.

The Comets tallied a 64-32 win over the Trojans and will advance with Paupack.

They’ll square off Friday as will Crestwood and Dallas. Winners of the semifinals will go on to play for the district title on March 2 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre.