OLD FORGE – Valley View remained in Lackawanna League Division 2 boys basketball title contention until the final night of the first half.
The Cougars started the second half Tuesday night by combining the elements they will need to make another run at the division leaders.
Valley View combined strong rebounding, valuable contributions from the bench and the ability to take advantage of one of the division’s most dangerous scorers to turn back Old Forge, 56-45.
“We took a little break for a couple days then refreshed our memories about what we need to do,” Cougars coach Larry Pegula said after his team managed just 13 points in the first three quarters of its last outing against first-half champion Holy Cross.
Old Forge scored the game’s first five points, but Valley View moved in front, 10-9, on a Kyle Colachino three-pointer with 1:46 left in the first quarter and stayed there the rest of the way.
Colachino had eight points in the first quarter and 13 in the second half to finish with a game-high 21 points along with seven rebounds. He went 3-for-7 on three-pointers, keeping him over 40 percent on more than 100 long-range shots while averaging 17.8 points per game.
“When he gets open, he has a great shot,” Pegula said. “Tonight, he even took some off the dribble and our guys did a good job finding him and getting him the ball.”
John Strauss added 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
The Cougars took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter, which they opened with three subs on the floor. The bench players – Brandon Cholish, Jordan Fata and Mike Casey – provided 12 points in the final eight minutes and outscored the Old Forge bench, 21-2, for the game.
“Whoever’s hot is who we go with,” Pegula said. “The guys who came off the bench did a great job. On defense, they filled a few gaps and on offense, they came through when needed.
“Cholish hit a three-point shot that was critical.”
Cholish connected from the left corner with 2:22 left in the third quarter after Old Forge had closed within two for the final time.
Robbie Pryal was called on for all of 10 seconds to protect Fata, who had three fouls at the end of the third quarter. He made the most of that time, clearing a defensive rebound as part of a 37-19 rebounding edge for the Cougars.
“One of our keys to the game was rebounding, crashing the boards and not giving them a second chance,” Pegula said. “They didn’t shoot as well as they could, but we didn’t give them any second chances.”
Corey Hodick, Gabe Wilson and Anthony Koulavongsa each had 13 points for Old Forge. Hodick also had five rebounds and five steals.
The Blue Devils, who finished fourth in the first half, one spot behind Valley View, had won four of their previous five. The only loss in that stretch was to Holy Cross.
Colachino also led Valley View to a win over Old Forge in the league opener in December when he scored 24 points in a 54-40 victory.
First-half Division 3 champion Mountain View fell, 39-35, to Montrose in its second-half opener. Alan Charles hit three three-pointers while scoring 16 for the Meteors.
Division 1 first-half champion Abington Heights opened the second half with a 55-49 victory over Scranton.
VALLEY VIEW (1-0, 9-7) 56
Colachino 7-15 4-4 21, Strauss 2-4 8-12 12, Siddons 0-2 0-0 0, Whartman 1-2 0-1 2, Cunningham 0-3 0-0 0, Cholish 3-3 1-2 8, Fata 2-5 3-4 7, Casey 1-2 4-4 6, Pryal 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-36 20-27 56.
OLD FORGE (0-1, 9-7) 45
Goodall 0-2 0-0 0, Hodick 3-15 5-7 13, Rava 1-6 2-2 4, Wilson 6-10 1-2 13, Koulavongsa 4-9 5-7 13, M. Avvisato 0-3 0-0 0, Mischello 1-1 0-0 2, D. Avvisato 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-46 13-18 45.
3-point shooting: Valley View 4-9 (Colachino 3-7, Cholish 1-1, Siddons 0-1), Old Forge 2-19 (Hodick 2-12, Goodall 0-2, Rava 0-2, M. Avvisato 0-3). Rebounds: Valley View 37 (Colachino 7, Strauss 6), Old Forge 19 (Hodick 5). Assists: Valley View 10 (Strauss 5), Old Forge 9 (Goodall 2, Hodick 2, Rava 2, Koulavongsa 2). Steals: Valley View 9 (Strauss 4), Old Forge 14 (Hodick 5, Rava 4). Blocked Shots: Valley View 2 (Colachino, Whartman), Old Forge 4 (Wilson 3). Team fouls: Valley View 17, Old Forge 24. Fouled Out: Koulavongsa. Turnovers: Valley View 23, Old Forge 13.