EXETER – Wyoming Area coach Pete Moses figures he will learn a lot about his team in the week ahead.
Following a particularly painful, 49-46 loss to visiting Lake-Lehman in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 game Friday night, all that is left for the Warriors is to see how they can respond.
“I told them in the locker room, ‘The definition of a good team is you have to put a loss like that behind and come out and get the W on Tuesday,’” Moses said. “ … This was one we definitely wanted to get on our home court.
“We started off the game real well.”
The Warriors opened a 13-point, second-quarter lead only to give in to a hot shooter, too many of their own turnovers and too many offensive rebounds by the Black Knights.
Ben Brooks came off the bench to lead Lake-Lehman with 22 points. He brought the Black Knights back with 16 points in a 4:02 span of the second quarter, culminating in three 3-pointers in 35 seconds to force a tie.
“(Brooks) really killed us in the first half,” Moses said.
Aiding the rally was the nine turnovers the Warriors committed in the second quarter on the way to 26 for the game.
“When they went to their zone traps, it increased the tempo for them, which I think was something they wanted to do,” Moses said. “Some of those turnovers were even unforced errors.
“We just played GAR on Tuesday night. They pressed us for 32 minutes and we didn’t turn the ball over once against their full-court press.”
Then, when Lake-Lehman finally moved ahead in the fourth quarter, the Warriors saw their comeback chance get away when the Black Knights rebounded three of their own missed free throws in the final 30 seconds.
“We gave them some offensive rebounds at the end of the game,” Moses said. “We gave them three or four possessions where we got what we wanted and got the missed free throws, but they kept getting the rebounds.”
Lake-Lehman led, 41-31, on the boards, including 16 rebounds by Jake Corey, who had 10 of the team’s 21 offensive rebounds.
The loss prevented an improving Wyoming Area team from matching last season’s win total with a month to go. The Warriors slipped to 1-3 in the WVC and 4-9 overall. Lake-Lehman is 2-2 and 4-9.
“Overall, we keep getting better every day,” Moses said. “We’re young. I’m happy with the level of intensity we play with.
“We play very hard.”
Wyoming Area held Lake-Lehman without a field goal for the first 10:11.
The two teams combined for 19 missed shots and 10 turnovers before Sam Greenfield hit the game’s first field goal on a 17-footer from the right baseline for a 5-4 Wyoming Area lead with 2:17 left in the first quarter.
The Warriors scored the last 11 points of the quarter for an 11-4 lead.
Lake-Lehman finished the first quarter 0-for-16 from the floor, missing 10 times from 3-point range, while committing seven turnovers.
The strong early defense allowed Wyoming Area to open a pair of 13-point leads – 17-4 before the first field goal and 19-6 before Brooks heated up in the final five minutes of the first half.
Brooks led an 18-5 outburst, which wrapped up with him personally producing a 9-1 run on the three straight 3-pointers. After talking to the Wyoming Area student section following the second basket, Brooks fired up a 32-footer from straight on to complete the outburst and force a 24-24 tie.
“We were guarding him in the triangle and he started hitting from the volleyball line,” Moses said. “We’re not going to guard anybody out there.”
P.J. Angeli hit three of four free throws in the final 34.3 seconds for a 27-24 halftime lead for the Warriors.
Anthony Nardell led the team in the first half with seven points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocked shots.
Greenfield wound up leading the team with 10 points while Matt Wright, who grabbed eight rebounds, and Nardell added nine each.
Nardell hit both ends of a one-and-one for the game’s biggest lead, 38-30, with 40.5 seconds left in the third quarter.
Lake-Lehman went ahead with an eight-point streak midway through the fourth quarter. Cole Spencer tied the game on a 3-pointer and Brooks put the Black Knights ahead to say on another 41 seconds later.
GAR 53, Wyoming Area 44
Dajon Rush scored 21 points as GAR remained unbeaten in Division 2 of the WVC with a 53-44 victory over visiting Wyoming Area Wednesday night.
Sam Greenfield led the Warriors with 12 points.
Hazleton Area 75, Pittston Area 37
Josh Samec scored 19 points Friday night and Hazleton Area remained unbeaten in Division 1 of the WVC while taking over sole possession of first place with a 75-37 rout of visiting Pittston Area.
The Cougars led 27-9 after one quarter.
Alex McAndrew led the Patriots with 11 points.
Pittston Area fell to 1-4 in the division and 5-8 overall.
Berwick 58, Pittston Area 55
The Patriots started the week playing what had been a division co-leader and falling, 58-55, to visiting Berwick in a Division 1 game that was tied as late as 1:10 to go.
Jordan Black led the Patriots with 28 points. Alex McAndrew added seven points and nine rebounds.