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Balanced Offense Lifts Royals

February 23, 2019
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Balanced Offense Lifts Royals

WILKES-BARRE — Collin Cook got it started.

Justice Shoats kept it rolling.

And then Nick Prociak brought it home, as practically every Holy Redeemer player had the hot hand at different times in a 62-41 win over Mid Valley in the District 2 Class 3A boys basketball semifinals Friday at King’s College.

“That’s something that we look for every night. It’s a word that we talk about often, and it starts with a ‘B,’” said Redeemer head coach Paul Guido. “Balance.”

Cook and Shoats scored 18 points each, while Prociak added 10 for the two-seed Royals (20-3), who advance to play No. 1 Wyoming Seminary 8 p.m. Thursday at Mohegan Sun Arena for the district title.

With three starting seniors — Cook, Prociak and guard Derek Answini — Redeemer is playing with a palpable sense of urgency.

“Tonight could have been my last game,” Cook said. “If we lost, that’s it. That’s how Mid Valley is — and it feels bad seeing it — but I don’t want it to be me. I want to keep playing for as long as I can and to get to the arena is a big accomplishment. That’s one of our goals this year. And now, it’s to win it.”

Cook took matters into his own hands early Friday, as he knocked down his first three 3-point attempts in the first quarter, at which point Redeemer led 15-10.

“It happens quite often; at practice, especially,” Answini said of Cook’s lights-out shooting from deep. “He rarely misses. So we know when he’s like that, and our main goal is to get the ball to him.”

Shoats joined in on the 3-point show with a triple on Redeemer’s first shot and first possession of the second quarter, making it 18-10.

Shoats scored eight of his 18 points in the second quarter, putting Redeemer ahead 28-23 at halftime.

However, Redeemer had room to improve because of Mid Valley’s pesky defense.

“Our stats had 11 turnovers for us at the half, which is not good for us, not normal for us,” Guido said. “We had been doing a really good job of taking care of the ball, so that’s something that we talked about at halftime. ... Some of that is a credit to Mid Valley and their defense. They make it tough, they bump you and they grind you and they make you turn it over.”

Shane Rosencrans led Mid Valley’s on-ball defense by recording five steals in the first half.

Redeemer cleaned up its ball protection in the second half and it propelled the Royals to outscore the Spartans 34-18 in the second half.

Prociak had the hot hand in the third quarter scoring six points, including two free throws before the buzzer that gave Redeemer its biggest lead at 44-33.

Cook opened up the fourth quarter with a 3 and Redeemer cruised from there.

Jared Piontkowski also had a solid performance for Redeemer, scoring nine points with five rebounds. Prociak led the team with six rebounds.

Redeemer clinched a spot in the state tournament with its win, while Mid Valley’s season is over at 19-5.

Mike Miller scored a team-high 19 points and Colin Hazelton added eight for Mid Valley, which never had the lead.

Contact the writer:

mbufano@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2060;

@CVBufano on Twitter