Gnall Shines In Blue Knights’ Big Win
YATESVILLE — It was clear Dimitri Gnall was as good as new by the end of the third quarter.
Last weekend, Wyoming Seminary boys basketball’s leading scorer banged knees with a player and missed about a quarter of action in the Wyoming Valley Conference championship game. Though he returned in Sem’s title win, Gnall went scoreless the rest of that game and headed to halftime with only four points in Tuesday’s district tournament opener.
There turned out to be no reason to panic.
Gnall took over and outscored Lake-Lehman on his own in a dominant third quarter. He once again looked every bit like one of the league’s top players, finishing with 17 points as No. 1 Wyoming Seminary bounced the No. 8 Black Knights from the District 2 Class 3A playoffs, 72-32, Tuesday night at Pittston Area.
“I started off a little slow. But in the second half, I definitely got it going,” Gnall said, noting he felt 100-percent and pain-free. “Getting to the basket a little bit more, going for rebounds, just being more aggressive.”
Wyoming Seminary (23-2) will play No. 4 Lakeland in Friday’s semifinals.
Gnall led the Blue Knights in scoring, followed by 14 points from Jeremy Callahan, who made three 3-pointers. Jake Koretz and Ethan Meuser both had 7.
The Blue Knights led 29-12 and weren’t in any danger of an upset at halftime. Nevertheless, Gnall made his presence felt from all corners of the floor in the third quarter.
Gnall scored Sem’s first six points of the frame: a jumper from the top of the key, a power move in the paint and a baseline drive and layup. Soon after, he knocked down a corner 3 and crashed the boards for a second-chance bucket on a fastbreak.
In between all that, Gnall whipped a one-handed pass down low to set up a shooting foul and also lobbed a half-court pass to Callahan for a fastbreak score.
Whether it was on a shot or pass, Gnall’s fingerprints were all over the Knights’ first 14 points of the second half.
“He looked like he’s in fine shape,” Sem coach Pete Moses said. “We know he didn’t get a chance to get as many minutes as he would’ve liked over the weekend because of his knee injury, but we wanted to make sure we got him enough burn tonight on the floor. I think he’s back in great shape and ready to proceed.”
Lake-Lehman’s Nate Salus had a team-leading nine points. Senior C.J. Cercone followed with seven.
Sem, the defending district champions, simply proved to be too much for the Black Knights (6-17) yet again as the team extended its winning streak to seven games. The Blue Knights defeated Lake-Lehman by at least 27 points in all three of their meetings this season.
Now, only Lakeland stands between Sem and another D2 final and state playoffs berth.
“We’re looking forward to getting back in the same position we were last year,” Gnall said. “We know it means a lot to get back there and get Coach there his first year (coaching Wyoming Seminary). We’re looking forward to playing at the arena.”
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N. Salus 4 1-2 9, C. Cercone 3 0-0 7, I. Dabsheh 2 1-2 5, D. Thompson 2 0-2 4, M. Paczewski 1 0-0 3, J. Kane 1 0-1 3, J. Prest 0 1-2 1, S. Sabaluski 0 0-0 0, J. Timonte 0 0-0 0, E. Adams 0 0-0 0, S. Hanley 0 0-0 0, R. Kane 0 0-0 0, Totals 13 3-9 32.
Wyoming Seminary (72)
D. Gnall 7 2-2 17, J. Callahan 4 3-4 14, J. Koretz 3 0-0 7, E. Meuser 2 2-2 7, N. Ganter 2 2-4 6, R. Anderson 1 3-4 5, T. Phillips 2 0-0 4, A. Meuser 0 4-4 4, G. Flanley 1 0-0 3, J. Coates 1 0-0 3, N. Bufalino 1 0-0 2, B. Paglia 0 0-0 0, A. Maddock 0 0-0 0, A. Murphy 0 0-0 0, J. Amend 0 0-0 0, Totals 24 16-20 72.
Lake-Lehman 5 7 10 10—32
Wyoming Seminary 15 14 22 21—72
3-point goals: C. Cercone (LL) 1, M. Paczewski (LL) 1, J. Kane (LL) 1, J. Callahan (Sem) 3, D. Gnall (Sem) 1, J. Koretz (Sem) 1, E. Meuser (Sem) 1, G. Flanley (Sem) 1, J. Coates (Sem) 1.