www.timesleader.com News Sports Weather Obituaries Features Business People Opinion Video Contact Us Classifieds

Patriots win DeMinico game for pride

PA defeats Wyoming Area, 66-54, in season finale

Above, Pittston Area’s Mike Schwab dribbles past Wyoming Area’s Mike Carey in the Patriots win over the Warriors on Tuesday night in Yatesville. Below left, WA’s Ryan Carey knocks down one of his three three-pointers on the night. Carey led all scorers with 21 points. Below right, PA’s Steve Sklanka is fouled by Warriors guard Lou Vullo while going to the basket.

photos by charlotte bartizek

Pictured above, the PIttston Area student section gets rowdy during the Patriots win over Wyoming Area on Tuesday night in the Thomas R. Kelly Gymnasium in Yatesville. Below left, PA’s Shawn McDermott and WA’s Mike Carey battle for a loose ball. Below right, PA’s Steve Stravinski comes down with a rebound in front of WA’s Bart Chupka.

photos by chalotte bartizek

Thirty minutes before the scheduled start of Tuesday night’s sixth annual Eugene R. DeMinico II Memorial Basketball Game between Cross River rivals Pittston Area and Wyoming Area, the Thomas R. Kelly Gymnasium was rocking.

This wasn’t a game for a league title or a playoff berth – it was for something more.

Bragging rights.

So a vivacious crowd in a packed house got the best efforts of both the Patriots and Warriors as Pittston Area took a, 66-54, victory from Wyoming Area on Senior Parents Night in Yatesville.

“Tear out the record books when these two teams get together,” said PA head coach Alan Kiesinger after his team’s Wyoming Valley Conference season finale. “The two of us aren’t playing for a playoff spot so were playing for pride.”

Louis Vullo scored seven of the Warriors first nine points but Joe Coyne and Steve Sklanka combined for five and Steve Stravinski drained two threes with a hand in his face to give the Patriots an 11-9 lead with 3:19 left in the first quarter.

RJ Emmett hit a deep ball seconds later off a Jordan Houseman assist to push the lead to 14-9. But Wyoming Area’s Trent Grove sank two shots in the lane to cut the lead to 14-13 with 30 seconds left in the opening stanza.

Coyne then sealed his defender from the inside of the lane and received a slick entry pass from Emmett before converting the easy lay-in to give the Patriots a 16-13 lead at quarter’s end.

After Vullo hit two free throws to start the quarter and cut the lead to 16-15, Sklanka drove the baseline and dropped a pass into the middle of the paint to a slashing Coyne to push the lead back to three points. However, Grove hit an impressive shot as he was falling to the ground and Ryan Carey hit a foul shot to tie the game at 18-18.

It would be the last time the game was tied.

Pittston Area responded with a 12-3 run as freshman Mike Schwab scored all seven of his points on the night with a baseline drive, a wide-open three, and two foul shots to give the Patriots a 30-21 lead.

With only seconds left in the half, Wyoming Area’s Carey drove to the hoop, drew contact and finished off the glass as time expired to get the Warriors within seven at intermission.

Holding a seven-point lead to start the second half, Pittston Area was able to contain most of the Warriors except for Carey who had 11 points in the third quarter including a deep three-ball from the left wing.

The Patriots answered with Coyne, Emmett, Chris Kovaleski, Sklanka, and Stravinski all scoring for the Patriots as they extended their lead to 47-38 at the end of the third.

Coyne dropped in a bucket and Kovaleski converted four from the charity stripe to bump Pittston Area’s lead to 53-38 just 1:16 into the final stanza.

Wyoming Area tried to claw their way back as Jordan Zezza hit four free-throws and Carey drilled his first of two threes in the quarter, but Pittston Area sank 10-of-12 free throws in the final two minutes to close the door on the Warriors.

“We have some pretty good players,” said Kiesinger, “Guys that can hit some shots.”

Seniors R.J. Emmett, Michael DiMaggio, Bill Ardoline and Joe Coyne walk away from Pittston Area basketball having won their final game in Patriot uniforms.

“They are good people,” said Kiesinger about his seniors. “They always seem to do the right thing. It’s a credit to their parents for doing a really nice job raising them. They are competitors as well.”

Sklanka, Stravinski and Coyne each scored 12 points, while Emmett and Kovaleski dropped in 11 each.

Carey connected on seven field goals including three from behind the arc for Wyoming Area to go with four free throws for a game-high 21 points. Grove added 10 points, Vullo nine and Zezza seven points.

Coyne and Carey earned co-MVP honors for their outstanding performances.

The Weekender Go Lackawanna Timesleader The Dallas Post Tunkhannock Times Impressions Media The Abington Journal Hazelton Times Five Mountain Times El Mensajero Pittston Sunday Dispatch Creative Circle Media Image Map