HIGH SCHOOL BOYS HOOPS: Prociak Powers Holy Redeemer In Win Over GAR

January 13, 2019
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HIGH SCHOOL BOYS HOOPS: Prociak Powers Holy Redeemer In Win Over GAR

WILKES-BARRE — It took 37 seconds after halftime for GAR to take its first timeout of the game.

The Grenadiers, starting the third quarter down three points, quickly got in deeper trouble. Holy Redeemer’s Nick Prociak made one inside basket, then came back down the court and tipped in a miss.

GAR collected itself after that, but it could not find an answer to Prociak. He had only given a glimpse of what was about to come as the game went on.

Prociak had all but two of the Royals’ points in an unstoppable, 15-point third quarter on his way to 27 total. The Royals got some breathing room with his work in the paint and stayed in control the rest of the way for a 62-52 win on the road in Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball Saturday night.

“My coach was telling me I was hesitating, and I just had to get lower, get in better position and finish,” Prociak said. “My teammates found me in good spots, and I was able to finish.”

GAR’s Will Johnson added to his conference-leading scoring average with 29 points on several impressive finishes at the rim and three 3-pointers. Teammate Jared O’Day knocked down four 3-pointers on his way to 16 points.

Johnson’s final 3-pointer got the Grenadiers within six with 1:12 remaining. But they came up empty on their next two possessions, and the Royals converted at the foul line.

Holy Redeemer (9-2) forced GAR (7-5) to play catch-up all second half thanks to Prociak, who nearly matched Johnson’s scoring exclusively from the interior.

Prociak and fellow big man Jared Piontkowski led the Royals to offensive rebounds on about a third of such opportunities, and it paid off in the third quarter. Prociak went on a personal 8-3 run to start the third with a pair of put-backs, and he made it 40-33 late in the quarter by making a second-chance basket despite a foul.

The Royals simply looked for the right feed inside, where they found their best mismatch all night.

“We didn’t change too much as far as continuing to get it to (Prociak),” Royals coach Paul Guido said. “He just started to put it in the hole a little bit better in that quarter.”

Redeemer finished strong to take its fifth game out of its last six in a big bounce-back effort. Saturday was a matchup between top-three teams in the District 2 power ratings, two nights after a tough Royals loss to Wyoming Seminary.

“The big rivalry game with Sem, you put a lot of energy and emotion into that,” Guido said. “That wraps up, and then to be able to get one day of practice and then bounce back and play a tough GAR team, I give my guys a lot of credit.”

Holy Redeemer’s Colin Cook had 15 points and was responsible for the Royals’ only two 3-pointers — plus two key trips to the foul line on other treys. He started his night with a 3-point play at the foul line to help Redeemer withstand the first of two GAR surges before halftime.

Johnson started off hot, and his transition bucket put GAR ahead 11-1 after only about three minutes of action. But Cook’s three foul consecutive foul shots put an end to the run, and the Royals ended the frame down only 15-11.

O’Day took over for GAR next with 3-pointers on each side of the first-quarter buzzer, and Tyler Young’s basket put the Grenadiers ahead 22-13. Cook stepped up from outside again with a rally-killing 4-point play, later tying the game at 22 with a corner 3.

After the break, Prociak took over the game.

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