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Hook, line & sinker

Redding sinks 20, Desciak hits hook shot as Redeemer lines up victory.

Holy Redeemer’s Zach Redding looks to pass as Dallas’ Chris Dailey defends during Thursday night’s game.


WILKES-BARRE – Even a rarity in high school basketball these days – an old-fashion hook shot – found the mark Thursday night.

It was just that kind of game for Holy Redeemer as it opened the second-half season with a 58-41 victory over Dallas in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division II boys basketball game.

But, as Redeemer coach Mark Belenski put it, the victory was just the first step for the defending divisional champion Royals (1-0 Div. II, 10-6 overall).

“It’s one game,” said Belenski, whose team finished tied for second place in the first-half season. “Tonight we came to play. We didn’t get the first-half championship and our goal is to get the second-half one.”

Redeemer made a statement against Dallas (0-1 Div. II, 11-5), which it defeated 42-37 in overtime on Jan. 8.

Senior guard Zach Redding put on an incredible shooting display, hitting six three-pointers to finish with a team-high 20 points. His backcourt mate, senior Greg Sam, drove inside and added 11 points.

And 6-foot-11 sophomore Peter Alexis cleaned up inside, scoring eight of his 14 points on rebounds.

The three Royals combined for 31 points in the first meeting.

“Redding was unbelievable,” Dallas coach Ted Jackson Jr. said. “He was the difference in the game, not Alexis. I’m not taking away anything from the other guys on the court. They outplayed us in every phase of basketball tonight – offense, defense, rebounding, you name it.”

And, of course, hook shots.

Dallas had just gained some momentum on a pair of baskets by Henry Messinger, cutting the deficit to 25-20 midway through the second quarter, when Redeemer reserve Mike Desciak tossed in one of those hook shots Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made famous.

The basket was a flashback to yesteryear, but also a flashpoint for Redeemer. The Royals built their lead to double digits less than two minutes into the third quarter, and Redding’s shooting kept it that way the rest of the game.

“We needed consistency,” Belenski said. “Good teams and good players are consistent, and that’s what we lacked in the exhibition and the first half of the season. Being young, I expected that. But now we’re old.”

Messinger turned in an outstanding game for Dallas, scoring 29 points and putting the Mountaineers on the cusp of a possible rally a few times. The key, Belenski said, was keeping Messinger’s teammates from following suit. The Royals did so by limiting the four other starters to a total of 10 points.

“All our stuff goes through him offensively,” Jackson said. “We had a lot of guys who have been involved lately and just struggled tonight.”

Dallas led just once when Messinger opened the game with a three-pointer. Redeemer’s Zach Ell answered with a three, and the Royals took the lead for good when Alexis followed with a rebound basket.

NOTE: Holy Redeemer’s game with Wyoming Area on Feb. 6 will be on the road. The teams flip-flopped home dates after the Jan. 6 game was snowed out and Wyoming Area couldn’t find a suitable date for the makeup game on its court. … The game was part of the Coaches vs. Cancer fundraiser.

DALLAS (41): Dailey 0 0-0 0, Youells 0 0-0 0, J.Ellis 2 0-0 5, Messinger 11 4-6 29, Englehart 2 1-4 5, Mazur 0 0-0 0, Noyalis 0 0-0 0, Haughwout 0 0-0 0, Lombardo 0 2-2 2, Evans 0 0-0 0, Betocco 0 0-0 0, Murray 0 0-0 0, C.Ellis 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 7-12 41.

HOLY REDEEMER (58): Sam 5 0-0 11, Redding 7 0-0 20, Carr 0 0-0 0, Zurek 2 0-0 4, Alexis 7 0-0 14, Ell 2 2-2 7, Ruch 0 0-2 0, McCarthy 0 0-0 0, Desciak 1 0-0 2, Murray 0 0-0 0, Lambert 0 0-0 0, Templeton 0 0-0 0, DeReemer 0 0-0 0, Dunsmuir 0 0-0 0, Simon 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 2-4 58.

Dallas 8 15 8 10 41
Holy Redeemer 16 16 14 12 58

3-Point Field Goals— DAL 4 (J.Ellis, Messinger 3); HR 8 (Sam, Redding 6, Ell)

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