Scranton Senior Leads Knights Past Grenadiers
WILKES-BARRE — Scranton senior Marcus Bauman spent the offseason working on his mid-range game.
It made a difference Thursday night at GAR, where Bauman, a 6-foot-4 center, played two-and-a-half quarters of nearly unstoppable basketball in a 76-65 Scranton win.
“He was tough. Very physical,” GAR head coach Jerry Altavilla said of Bauman. “He hits 15-footers. He can go to the basket. He can bring it outside and shoot. He’s just a tough matchup all-around.”
Bauman finished with 25 points and nine rebounds, impressive numbers he mostly compiled early before running into foul trouble in a game where 44 fouls were called and 56 free throws attempted.
GAR was the better team early, taking a 14-8 lead in the first quarter. In that stretch, Curon Smith, Tyler Young and Jared O’Day all scored points in the paint as the Grenadiers played well inside.
However, Scranton took control with an 11-0 run that carried from the end of the first quarter into the second quarter.
Scranton took its first double-digit lead when Bauman knocked down a pair of free throws to go ahead 35-24. At that point, Bauman had already scored 21 points.
Scranton went into halftime with a 37-26 lead.
“I thought the second quarter, really, was the one quarter where they beat us up,” Altavilla said. “The second half, I thought we competed pretty well.”
Scranton pushed its lead to a game-high 17 points at 50-33, at which point GAR senior guard Will Johnson brought the home crowd back into the game.
Johnson made back-to-back 3-pointers from the left wing in a matter of seconds, making it 50-39.
GAR’s (1-1) comeback attempt reached its peak with 1:35 to play, when the Grenadiers’ Young knocked down a 3 to make it 70-63.
“It’s tough to get a silver lining out of a loss, but I like the way our kids competed,” Altavilla said. “Scranton is going to be a good team. They’re going to win a lot of games this year. Like I said, I thought we had our opportunities. We need to finish around the basket. I think our shot selection needs to improve. But, you know, we’ve got some stuff to work on.”
GAR was whistled for a few fouls and struggled to make its shots in the final 1:35, as Scranton sealed the win.
In addition to Bauman’s 25 points, R.J. Overton had a strong performance with 19 points. Patrick McCormack was next up with nine points, including a pair of 3s.
Noah Leety had a clutch performance off the Scranton (2-1) bench, making two field goals and going 4 for 4 at the foul line for eight points.
“We’re on a roll. We’re going to be on a roll for a long time,” said Bauman, whose Knights defeated Riverside, 63-44, earlier this week. “I don’t think no team can stop us when we’re playing with energy and we keep the defense up.”
Johnson was the game’s leading scorer. He had 22 of his 28 points in the second half. Young played an excellent game on offense and defense, finishing with 15 points.
O’Day (eight points) Curtis Smith (seven), Curon Smith (five) and George Placencio (two) rounded out the scoring for the Grenadiers.
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