Wallenpaupack Area boys on the road to Hershey

As things go, post season sports has been fantastic for the Buckhorn gents this year.

While there will be no District Two Class 5A title for Wallenpaupack Area's boys cagers, like their gridiron counterparts from this past fall, they too are going to the state playoffs.

“We’re all very excited,” said Head Coach Jim McGinnis. “The last time Wallenpaupack’s boys basketball team went to the state playoffs was in 2003, and we’ve never won a state playoff game … ever.”

Still Alive

Undoubtedly, the boys would love to have won the semifinal match-up versus Crestwood and had a crack at the district title.

Even though the Buckhorns suffered a 44-33 loss to the Comets, the chance for a trip to the state tourney was still a possibility, provided they won the consolation round against Dallas.

“We were disappointed that we weren’t playing for the championship,” said Coach McGinnis. “We were outplayed but knowing the chance to go to states was still up there was uplifting.”

Crestwood did a good job at keeping Paupack down.

The Comets made ace guard Elijah Rosenthal work hard for his 15 game-high points and completely shut down the big forward, Gabe Springer, in the field.

Izaiah Santiago and Alex Pillar each picked up a three and a two and Derrick Vosburg landed two from the field and two from the stripe.

Feeling good and excited about the prospect of being the first squad in over a decade to head to the state playoffs, the Buckhorns ventured forward to face the Mountaineers.

Solid Performance

“Dallas got out to an early 9-2 lead and we felt like this was going to long night,” McGinnis stated.

“But, the guys fought back. Gabe had a monster game, and everyone put in a great effort.”

Springer powered his way to 20 points by dropping in 6-of-10 from the free throw line and stuffed the ball into the hoop seven other times from the field.

Vosburg and Rosenthal also racked up high numbers. Derrick closed the night with 17 and Elijah finished with 15.

“Everyone did a fantastic job,” McGinnis said. “You don’t see it in the stats but we’d be lost without Izaiah’s defense.

“When guys like Jack Smith, Gerard McGrath, and Wyatt Piefer come off the bench they are usually productive. Eli got into foul trouble early in the game and other guys were able to get on the floor.

“We kept the lead and didn’t have to send him back out. It’s not a deep bench, but the six or seven kids we send out there do a great job.”

Ready for States

McGinnis reported the squad took a few days here and there to physically recoup, but mentally the Buckhorns are good to go.

They will face Penncrest, the winner of the consolation round and third seed coming out of District One.

According to Coach McGinnis, their opponents are athletic and can play a fast-paced game, but he feels that his squad can hang with them.

“The kids are psyched, and they feel they can do this,” he said.

“We’re looking for a good week of practice and just very excited to be going to the states.”

As of press time, the site and time for the March 8 showdown with Penncrest was yet TBD.

Given it’s a District I-II matchup and based on state playoff games undertook by the Lady Bucks in the past against District One teams, Coach McGinnis speculates it would likely be at a larger high school somewhere in the Lehigh Valley.