YATESVILLE – What is a team supposed to do?
Pittston Area was mired in a six-game losing streak, it had coughed up a 15-point lead, two starters were watching from the third row with injuries and the Patriots could not make even half of their foul shots in the fourth quarter.
“We bear down,” Patriots coach Alan Keisinger said after Pittston Area halted its skid Friday night with a desperately needed 51-49 Wyoming Valley Conference crossover boys basketball victory over visiting Tunkhannock. “As a team, we bear down.
“That’s been the rallying cry.”
After a near-flawless start, the Patriots found themselves needing a comeback in the fourth quarter.
Whereas the first quarter was a breeze with everything seeming to go right, the fourth quarter was a test of willpower.
Pittston Area protected the ball, repeatedly made defensive stops and pounded the boards down the stretch, allowing it to overcome the inability to put the game away on the foul line.
Senior center Brian Miller put the Patriots in great shape, fueling a 20-5 start and scoring 21 of his 22 points in the first half.
With the game on the line, two sophomores led the way.
Back-up guard Logan Booth scored all nine of his points in the fourth quarter.
Andrew Krawczyk, a new starter at forward, had half of his eight rebounds to help the Patriots outrebound the Tigers 15-8 in the fourth quarter and 37-24 for the game.
“With our rotating door of missing starters, all these injuries, I credit our young guys for hanging in there throughout the season,” Kiesinger said. “To go from not playing much at all to really playing in elevated roles, I give them a ton of credit for being mentally tough enough to handle that.”
There had been positive signs as the losing streak continued. In the three most recent losses, Pittston Area took Berwick to overtime and lost to Division 2 co-leaders Meyers and Nanticoke by a total of 10 points.
The Patriots had slipped to 2-12 in a season in which all five original starters have missed at least two games.
Alex McAndrew, a key contributor since his freshman season in 2014-15, has missed most of the last calendar year with knee injuries. Naseem Guillaume joined him on the sidelines Friday with a wrist injury. Matt McGlynn is just back from an ankle injury and had his playing time limited while coming off the bench.
Both McGlynn and Guillaume were team scoring leaders at the time they went to the sidelines.
Pittston Area’s latest lineup combination picked Tunkhannock apart early.
Miller had the game’s first seven points and Krawczyk added a basket for a 9-0 start.
The Patriots repeatedly got the ball to Miller in prime scoring position. He was 6-for-7 from the floor and the team was 9-for-13 while taking a 20-5 lead with 32 seconds left in the first quarter.
“Our guards did a nice job of finding him,” Keisinger said. “Their 1-2-2 is tough to play against.
“ … They’ve played that for a long time so those kids know the system. Our guards did a real good job of seeing over it or through it and finding Brian.”
Tunkhannock recovered and took its first lead, 30-28, with 5:58 left in the third quarter on Tyler Faux’s 3-pointer.
The lead changed hands four more times before Faux’s three-point play with 26.2 seconds left in the third gave the Tigers their biggest lead at 38-34.
McGlynn did all his scoring on consecutive 3-pointers to put the Patriots back in front to stay. He tracked down his own long rebound to throw in a shot from the right corner at the third-quarter buzzer, then hit again a minute into the fourth.
Booth followed with a three-point play in transition and a 3-pointer from the left wing 21 seconds later to complete the 12-0 run to a 46-38 lead with 5:12 left.
Pittston Area went 3-for-12 from the line in the final 1:30, but Brennan Higgins and Booth each went 1-for-2 in the final 22 seconds to preserve the win.
Miller finished with nine rebounds, including six offensive. Higgins had five assists. Booth made two steals.
Wyoming Area 45
Aaron Zezza hit five 3-pointers while scoring 23 points to lead Wyoming Area to the WVC crossover win at Coughlin Friday night.
The Warriors moved into third place in Division 2 at 6-4.
Pittston Area 64
Damon Beckhorn scored six of his 21 points in overtime to lead Berwick to the WVC victory Wednesday night.
Brian Miller had 23 points to lead the Patriots.
Pittston Area 42
Jawane Buckner scored all 13 of his points in the second half to help defending Division 2 champion Meyers hold off Pittston Area in a crossover game played at Coughlin.
Naseem Guillaume led the Patriots with 17 points and Andrew Krawczyk added 13.
Pittston Area 49
Alexa Noone scored 25 points Thursday to lead Pittston Area to the road rout in a WVC crossover game.
Wyoming Area 60
Sarah Holweg scored 11 of her 17 points in the second quarter Thursday night to lead Wyoming Area to the WVC crossover win.
The Lady Warriors took leads of 11-4 after one quarter, 37-10 at halftime and 54-12 after three quarters.
Nicole Silinskie hit two of her three 3-pointers and scored eight of her 15 points in the first quarter.
Aleah Kranson added 11 points and Cassidy Orzel had 10.
Wyoming Area 43
Dallas handed Wyoming Area its second loss in Monday’s WVC crossover game.
Sarah Holweg led the Lady Warriors with 13 points. Cassidy Orzel added 12.
Dallas opened a 16-5 lead after one quarter.
Pittston Area 40
Mountain View 12
Alex Anastasia and A.J. Gordo posted first-period pins in the first two bouts, 160 and 170, Friday night while sending the Patriots on the way to their first under first-year coach Dave Krantz.
Ryan Lombardo, at 132, also had a first-period pin.
Wyoming Area 42
Hanover Area 30
Corey Mruk’s pin at 170 pounds broke a 24-24 tie and put Wyoming Area ahead to stay in Wednesday’s WVC Division 2 meet.
Alex Pierce (152) and Robin Wrobleski (138) also had pins for the Warriors, who earned a spot in the District 2 Class 2A Dual Meet Championships, which open Wednesday.
Pittston Area 12
A.J. Gordo had a pin at 170 for Pittston Area in Monday’s WVC Division 1 loss.
Wyoming Area 39
Nanticoke rallied from 27 points down to win in the final bout of the Jan. 20 WVC Division 2 match.
Ryan Wrobleski (138) and Jaryn Polit-Moran (195) had pins for the Warriors.
Pittston Area 45
Dallas dominated host Pittston Area Friday in a meet between WVC teams that began the day with just one loss each.
Kaitlyn Connors, Taylor Maas and Juliet Lawler each had one individual second-place finish.
Wyoming Area 37
Meyers beat host Wyoming Area in a WVC meet Friday.
Pittston Area 103
Wyoming Valley West 77
Libby Williams won in three events for the Lady Patriots in Wednesday’s WVC meet.
Hanover Area 123
Wyoming Area 10
Hanover Area posted the WVC win Wednesday.
Hanover Area 92
Wyoming Area 18
Hanover Area swept every event in Wednesday’s WVC meet.
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