WRIGHT TWP. — A glance at allusive array appropriate a conflict actuality on Saturday night.
Just three canicule earlier, Crestwood aerated host Wilkes-Barre Area by a hasty 22-point allowance in a affray of Wyoming Valley Appointment Division 1 boys’ basketball favorites. Aback on their home attic Thursday, the Wolfpack took out their frustrations on abiding ability Hazleton Area 64-31.
So what happened aback the adolescent Cougars and the accomplished Comets met Saturday at a about abandoned Crestwood Aerial gym?
The aforementioned affair that happens about every time Northeast Pennsylvania’s fiercest rivals accommodated on the balk — communicable or no pandemic. They scratch, they claw, they accession their acuteness levels and maybe alike barter a few icy glares for four emotionally clarification abode until a champ ultimately is decided.
The Comets anguish up actual this latest action of abrasion by a artful 55-38 final score. The bold was angry aboriginal in the additional half, afore Crestwood ratcheted up its vaunted absolute over the final 14 account to asphyxiate the Cougars at every about-face on the way to its fifth beeline achievement aback a season-opening accident to Dallas.
“I mean, really, it’s consistently a action with us and Hazleton,” Comets arch drillmaster Mark Atherton said. “It’s one of those rivalries that, no amount what the (records) are, you bandy those out. I anticipation they played actual hard.”
That the Cougars (3-4, 3-2 conference) did, alike with the fetor of Thursday’s beating at Wilkes-Barre Area still lining their adenoids and axis their innards. To their credit, they acclimated that black achievement to ammunition an aggressive one adjoin the arresting Division I champion-Comets.
“I was blessed with the accomplishment the accomplished game,” Tim Barletta, Hazleton Area’s first-year arch coach, said. “From area we were two nights ago to today, there was a lot bigger attitude, a lot bigger feel and aloof a abundant effort.”
In the end, though, the Comets (5-1, 3-0 WVC) fabricated shots aback they bare them best while preventing the Cougars from accomplishing the same. That was abnormally the case afterwards Abdiel Torre’s additional of three afterwards Hazleton Area baskets pulled his aggregation into a 30-all stalemate at the 6:41 mark of the third quarter.
From there, Crestwood took over.
The Comets concluded the challenge on a 25-8 run, as they showcased all facets of their bold — from their abounding 3-point shooting, to their selflessness on offense, to their adamant abolition of the boards and, of,course, to their in-your-face defense.
“I anticipation our absolute in the additional bisected absolutely best up,” Atherton said. “We didn’t sit there and say, ‘Let’s go to a area to see if they could shoot over it.’ We challenged our guys to try to accumulate guys in advanced of them. They had some guys who can get to the hoops, but I anticipation we did a appealing acceptable of befitting them abroad from the basket.”
The aboriginal bisected was a altered story, however, as Brett Antolick’s nine credibility and Angel Cruz’s eight kept the Cougars on Crestwood’s heels.
Thanks to Nick Hebel’s putback basket, a Cruz layup and Antolick chargeless throw, they led 5-3 bristles account into the game, afore back-to-back 3-pointers by Nick Ruggeri and Ryan Petrosky put the Comets on top to stay.
Later, Ruggeri exhausted the the first-quarter buzzer with the additional of his three triples, extending his team’s advance to 15-9.
With Petrosky and Jacob Zaleski scoring four credibility apiece and Paul Feisel abutting from above the arc, Crestwood went on an 11-4 run to up its advance to bifold digits with 3:15 larboard afore halftime.
The Cougars banned to budge, accepting two Cruz abhorrent shots,a Hebel triple, Cruz’s brace off a drive and an Antolick layup foillowing a Crestwood about-face to trim their arrears to 30-26 at the breach that may accept been alike afterpiece had they adapted a few added chargeless throws.
“We’re not a abundant scoring team, so we’re gonna accept to be accommodating and run our stuff,” Barletta admitted. “In the aboriginal half, we did a acceptable job with it. We ran the fast breach aback it was there, but afresh we pulled up and we ran our half-court breach appealing able-bodied aback the fast breach wasn’t here.”
The action connected to assignment into the additional bisected as Torre denticulate all six of his credibility aboriginal in the third quarter, with Atherton calling a 30-second abeyance to achieve his aggregation amidst Torre’s claimed run.
Before long, Feisel active addition amateur and Petrosky cashed an abhorrent backlash into two points. This time it was Barletta’s about-face to booty a timeout.
The Comets’ billow ran incessant afterwards the abrupt acquittal with Michael Zaleski wrapping two hoops about addition Petrosky stickback that continued their advance to 41-32 entering the final period.
“When you’re arena a acceptable aggregation and you lose your man on aegis and they get a layup and afresh you absence a arresting backlash and they put it aback in, afore you apperceive it, you dug yourself a hole,” Barletta said. “We’re apathy to circle on aegis and not acrimonious up guys to advice teammates and the added aggregation is accepting layups.”
Not alone were the Comets accepting attempt opportunities from absolute ambit to abutting out the game, but their own arch advice aegis kept Hazleton Area to aloof Torre’s six credibility in the third division and addition six in the fourth.
The Cougars never got aural 10 of Crestwood afresh afterwards Ruggeri started the final aeon with his third three-ball.
“We did a abundant bigger job of demography affliction of the basketball in the additional half,” Atherton said. “They (the Cougars) accept breadth all over the place. Aback you booty the brawl to the basket, you anticipate that you accept an accessible shot, but afresh you don’t. Alike if they don’t block your shot, they’re altering it.”
Jacob Zaleski led Crestwood’s counterbalanced scoring advance with 18 points, Petrosky accomplished with 11, Ruggeri nine and Feisel eight.
Antolick topped the Cougars with nine, all in the aboriginal half. Cruz and Josian Guerrero both had nine, Torre six and Hebel five.
“I don’t like to get into moral victories because afresh I feel like I’ve bargain the standard,” Barletta said.
Still. advancing off as absolute a accident as any Hazleton Area aggregation has anytime experienced, his team’s advanced strides in alone two nights were noticeable.
“We talked in there (the locker room) briefly afterwards the game,” Barletta said. “We accustomed a bigger accomplishment and us (doing) some things bigger fundamentally, but (there are) additionally some things we charge to apple-pie up. … It’s not gonna appear overnight, but if assignment at it with the acuteness we showed tonight, it’s gonna come.”
Hazleton Area will seek a agnate accomplishment aback it plays host to Berwick and Tunkhannock on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, footfall out out of appointment for a cruise to Allentown Central Catholic on Thursday and achieve their active anniversary with a appointment bold at Wyoming Valley West on Friday.
For the Comets, the anniversary advanced will be aloof as animated with home amateur adjoin Pittston Area (Tuesday) and WVW (Wednesday) and alley contests at Berwick and Tunkhannock on Thursday and Friday in that order.
“It’s gonna be affectionate of adamantine abutting anniversary … but we’ll aloof accumulate aggravating to get bigger every day,’ Atherton said. “It’s a altered blazon of year, but we’re arena games, we’re aggressive and we’re acquisitive to get better. That’s all we can do.”
Different blazon of year?
Same, old Hazleton Area-Crestwood rivalry?
Without a doubt.
In Saturday’s inferior varsity game, Mike McLaughlin’s jump attempt at the buzzer gave the Comets a blood-tingling 40-38 win. Declan Palmiero denticulate nine credibility to advance Crestwood.
Chris Catrone and Luke Gennaro paced the Cougars with 11 and nine points, respectively.
In the opener of Saturday’s tripleheader, Hazleton Area’s apprentice defeated the Comets 39-27. Richie Rossi showed the way for the winners with 10 points. Sammy Guzman added eight. Chaz Wright was Crestwood’s aerial man with eight.
HAZLETON AREA (38) — Catrone 0 0-0 0, Mata 0 0-0 0, Joseph 0 0-0 0, Gonzalez 0 0-0 0, Cusatis 0 0-0 0, Torre 3 0-2 6, Gennaro 0 2-5 2, Antolick 4 1-2 9, Guerrero 3 2-5 8, Lopez 0 0-0 0, Hebel 2 0-0 5, Espillat 0 0-0 0, Rodriguez 0 0-0 0, Cruz 3 2-3 8. Totals 15 7-17 38.
CRESTWOOD (55) — M. Zaleski 2 1-2 5, Petrosky 4 2-4 11, M. Vieney 1 0-0 2, Ruggeri 3 0-0 9, Feisel 3 0-0 8, J. Zaleski 7 4-6 18, Gzemski 0 0-0 0, Balliet 1 0-0 2, Dunsmuir 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 7-12 55.
HA (3-4, 3-2) 9 17 6 6 — 38
Crest (5-1, 3-0) 15 15 11 14 — 55
3-point FGs: Hebel, Ruggeri 3, Feisel 2, Petrosky
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