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Patriots lose OT thriller in McGrane opener

Coyne’s double-double goes for naught in 79-73 loss to Hanover

Pittston Area’s Jordan Houseman brings the ball up the sideline against Lake-Lehman in the consolation game of the McGrane Tournament at the Wilkes-Barre CYC.


PA center Joe Coyne, right, shoots over Lake-Lehman’s Dylan Wasylyk.

Pittston Area’s Steve Stravinski (42) navigates his way through traffic against Lake-Lehman.

Pittston Area’s Steve Sklanka goes in for a layup against Lake-Lehman in the consolation game of the McGrane Tournament.

PA’s Chris Kovaleski shoots around Lake-Lehman’s Jesse Hauze in the McGrane Tournament at the Wilkes-Barre CYC on Wednesday night.

Pittston Area forward Chris Kovaleski goes for the reverse layup against Lake-Lehman.

photos by BILL TARUTIS

Hanover Area used a barrage of three-pointers en route to a 79-73 overtime victory over Pittston Area in the first round of the 45th annual McGrane Tournament at the Wyoming Valley CYC in Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday night.

Patriots senior big man Joe Coyne dominated the paint, scoring 23 points and pulling down 23 rebounds but it was Pittston Area’s outside woes that did them in.

Hanover Area’s senior guard Bilal Floyd - a Scranton High transfer - hit eight of the Hawkeyes 13 three-pointers while the Patriots were only able to knock down two - a 39-6 difference in scoring.

The Hawkeyes took the early lead with a 17-13 advantage after the first quarter, and extended its lead to begin the second quarter with two triples for a 23-13 lead.

That is where Coyne took over.

The 6’6 center pulled down eight boards and scored 15 points on seven buckets including a wild reverse layup to give the Patriots a 33-30 lead late in the first half.

But the Hawkeyes regained the lead, rattling off eight points including a three at the buzzer to take a 38-35 lead into the half.

The third quarter was much like the first two - evenly matched as both teams exchanged buckets. The quarter was highlighted by Steve Skalanka when he grabbed a rebound and pushed the ball down the center of the court. Skalanka faked out one defender with a hard crossover, dribbled to the foul line where he threw a no look pass to his right to hit Jordan Houseman for an easy two. Skalanka had 11 points and two assists in the third quarter as it ended in a 52-52 tie.

In the fourth, Hanover held a 64-59 lead with 2:49 left, but Pittston Area capitalized on Hanover’s missed free throws to score two quick buckets to cut the lead to 64-63. Floyd hit two foul shots for Hanover to give the Hawkeyes a 66-63 lead, and Skalanka came right back and hit a runner to cut the lead to 67-66 with 30 seconds left in the game.

Hanover made 1-of-2 free throws to take a two-point lead but with 11 seconds left Chris Kovaleski hit a game-tying layup to send the game into overtime.

Pittston Area managed to score just six points in OT while Hanover dropped 12 points to earn the 79-73 victory.

Coyne led the way for PA with 23 points and 23 rebounds, but was not the only Patriot to record a double-double.

Steve Stravinski scored 10 points and added 10 rebounds.

Kovaleski added 16 points and five boards, and Steve Sklanka scored 14.

PA 54, Lake-Lehman 60

Turnovers were the proverbial thorn in the side of the Pittston Area basketball team as they fell to Lake-Lehman 60-54 in the consolation game of the McGrane Tournament on Wednesday night at the Wyoming Valley CYC.

After a first quarter in which both teams seemed to be content to feel each other out and take their time on offense, Pittston Area held a 11-8 lead.

Lehman scored five straight points to begin the second quarter, resulting in the Patriots putting heavy defensive pressure on the ball to spark a 9-0 run to take a 20-13 lead with less than five minutes left in the half. However, PA only scored five points the rest of the half to go into halftime with a 25-21.

The Patriots started the second half in a full-court press that led to four consecutive turnovers by the Black Knights and another 9-0 run that put Pittston Area in control with a 34-21 lead.

But Patriots went ice cold offensively from that point, and Lake-Lehman went on a 14-4 run in the final five minutes of the third quarter to cut their deficit to 38-35 headed into the fourth.

Lake-Lehman started the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 42-38 lead before the two teams exchanged buckets with the Black Knights holding on to a slight lead during most of the fourth quarter.

With 1:13 left in the game, Shaun McDermott drove hard to the basket, hit the lay up, got fouled and made the free throw to tie the game at 54-54.

Lake-Lehman hit a free throw with 36 seconds left to take a 55-54 lead, followed by a PA miss in which the Patriots regained possession when LL knocked the ball out of bounds.

With 31 seconds left in the game, down by one point, with possession, the Patriots turned the ball over three consecutive times, handing the Black Knights the win. Lake-Lehman hit 2-of-4 free throws and completed a three-point play to take home the 60-54 victory.

Steve Stravinski led the way for Pittston Area with 22 points. Senior center Joe Coyne chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds. McDermott added eight points for the Patriots.

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