4A BOYS: Scranton Prep Advances To Final
SCRANTON — Leo O’Boyle has a good memory. It served him and his teammates well as they prepared for their rematch against Western Wayne. With a spot in the District 2 Class 4A boys basketball championship game on the line, top-seeded Scranton Prep fired on all cylinders and powered past the Wildcats, 50-31, on Saturday afternoon at Marywood University. Motivated by an overtime scare in a win over fifth-seeded Western Wayne in the regular season, the Cavaliers (21-3) advanced to their fifth straight district championship and will face the winner of Nanticoke/Tunkhannock on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena. “They are a well-coached team and we saw that the first time, so we knew we would be in a dog fight and we had to play really well together as a team,” O’Boyle said. “It feels really good to come out in the semifinals and win and head back to the championship game, and I think we are hitting our stride.” From the outset, Scranton Prep disrupted Western Wayne’s offense and frustrated its two career 1,000-point scorers, Zach Rovinsky and Dahlton Frisbie. The last time the teams met — a 69-58 win by the Cavaliers, who needed a 3-pointer at the buzzer from O’Boyle to send the game to overtime — Frisbie scored 27 points and Rovinsky had 16. This time, Scranton Prep doubled-teamed Frisbie on the outside and limited him to seven points. “Dahlton killed us the first time,” said Scranton Prep guard Brian Boland, who had a game-high four steals and teamed with Greyson Shermerhorn to lock down the Wildcats’ second-leading scorer at 16.7 points per game. In the paint, O’Boyle and Rhys Merritt made the going tough on Rovinsky, who was averaging 20.1 points per game. The duo held the 6-foot-6 junior center scoreless until the 6-minute mark of the third quarter when he hit his only basket. “We knew that he and Dahlton are really good players, so we knew if we could play the best defense possible on them it would help us,” Merritt said. Scranton Prep’s defensive intensity created offense. Five Cavaliers found the scoring column in the first quarter. Merritt scored four and Mario Rotell hit a 3-pointer as Scranton Prep built a 13-4 lead. Michael Skoff hit a 3-pointer to close the second quarter and the lead swelled to 23-8. Then, O’Boyle took over the paint. Having neutralized Rovinsky, the senior scored eight of his 14 points and collected three of his game-high 10 rebounds in the third. “Our defense was so important, and offensively, I had to stay patient,” O’Boyle said. “At one point they were playing box-and-1 on me and I knew my teammates would make plays. “Once they started clicking, it just opened things up for me.” Fueled by O’Boyle, the Cavaliers closed the third on a 7-2 run to push the lead to 37-20. Nick Genco, Merritt, who finished with eight points, Boland, who also contributed four assists, and O’Boyle all scored in the first 4 minutes of the fourth to extend the advantage to 44-24. “They are a really solid, physical team and once we got stops and got into some transition it started to work out for us,” Boland said. Rob Carey scored 12 points to lead Western Wayne (13-11). The Wildcats, who shot just 29 percent from the floor, are still alive for their first state playoff appearance since 1993. They will play the winner of Tunkhannock-Nanticoke on Tuesday in the third-place game at a site and time to be determined. “Credit Scranton Prep’s defense, but also credit to Western Wayne, because they knew they had to come here ready to play and they needed to play hard to beat us,” Western Wayne coach Al Semenza said. “We have to regroup. We fought our way to get to this spot to give ourselves two shots to reach the state playoffs. “We are going to be a hungry team on Tuesday.” Contact the writer: email@example.com; Western Wayne (13-11) — R. Carey 6-11 0-0 12, K. Sauter 3-9 1-2 7, D. Frisbie 1-9 4-5 7, Z. Rovinsky 1-4 0-0 2, Z. Janiszewski 1-5 0-1 2, A. Kuha 0-0 1-2 1, J. Kunz 0-1 0-0 0, M. Henneforth 0-2 0-0 0, T. Motichka 0-0 0-0 0, T. Chernasky 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 12-42 6-10 31. Scranton Prep (21-3) — L. O’Boyle 5-7 4-6 14, R. Merritt 4-8 0-0 8, B. Boland 2-7 2-4 7, N. Genco 2-4 2-4 6, M. Rotell 2-3 0-0 5, J. Strong 1-2 2-2 4, G. Schermerhorn 0-4 3-4 3, M. Skoff 1-3 0-0 3, G. Bednarz 0-0 0-0 0, D. Blake 0-0 0-0 0, D. Hazzouri 0-0 0-0 0, R. Rossi 0-1 0-0 0, B. Stallman 0-1 0-0 0, J. Kosierowski 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-39 13-20 50. Western Wayne 4 4 12 11 — 31 Scranton Prep 13 10 14 13 — 50 3-point shooting: WW 1-9 (Frisbie 1-3, Zaniszewski 0-3, Carey 0-1, Henneforth 0-1, Kunz 0-1), SP 3-9 (Boland 1-4, Rotell 1-1, Skoff 1-2, Schermerhorn 0-2). Rebounds: WW 27 (Rovinsky 8), SP 27 (O’Boyle 10). Assists: WW 4 (Frisbie, Sauter, Rovinsky, Kuha), SP 14 (Boland 4). Steals: WW 2 (Sauter, Rovinsky), SP 10 (Boland 4). Blocks: WW 2 (Rovinsky, Chernasky), SP 3 (Merritt 2). Turnovers: WW 17, SP 9.