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FAB FIVE

Old Forge wins 5th consecutive District 2 Class 1A crown

Old Forge’s Bill Nocera takes a shot in the District 2 Class A boys semifinal game on Tuesday night at Scranton High.

photo by BILL TARUTIS

The Old Forge boys’ basketball team poses with their fifth straight District 2 Class 1A championship medals and plaque after defeating Susquehanna, 47-24, at Carbondale Area High School on Friday night.

photo by rick notari

Above left, Old Forge’s Tony Goodall, left, looks to pass against Forest City’s Joe Caruso in a District 2 Class A boys semifinal game at Scranton High School on Tuesday night. Above right, Old Forge’s Tim McGrath grabs a rebound against Forest City.

photos by BILL TARUTIS

The old staple, ‘Defense wins championships,’ proved to be true once again for the Old Forge boys’ basketball team as the Blue Devils locked down Susquehanna in a 47-24 victory over the Sabers in the Peter Turonis Gymnasium at Carbondale Area High School on Friday night to capture an unprecedented fifth consecutive District 2 Class 1A title.

Old Forge allowed an opponent less than 35 points for the 11th time this season and it came at the right time as the Blue Devils – and leading scorer Tony Goodall – struggled at times on offense.

Susquehanna scored the game’s first points on an offensive rebound by Taylor Cundey, but the Blue Devils responded with a 15-5 run to end the first period. Fueled by four points from Connor Fultz and three each from Goodall, Mario Martinelli and Dom Avvisato, Old Forge took a 15-7 lead after the first eight minutes of action.

Old Forge could have put the game away in the second quarter but Goodall couldn’t find his stroke, shooting 1-for-6 from the field. The Blue Devils also struggled from the free throw line in the second quarter, going 0-for-6, and 1-for-11 overall in the first half.

But despite its struggles on the offensive end, Old Forge continued to shut down the Sabers on the defensive end, limiting Susquehanna to just four field goals in the second half, including just one - a three-pointer by Andrzej Tomczyk - in the second quarter.

The Blue Devils held Tomczyk, the Sabers leading-scorer, to 10 points, with only two coming after halftime.

The third quarter was a different story for the Old Forge offense as Goodall came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders.

The senior guard swished two free throws to start the quarter and then drilled his first three shots – including a three-pointer from each corner - as the Blue Devils started the second half on a 14-3 run to take a 37-15 lead and salt the game away.

Goodall finished with a game-high 15 points for the Blue Devils. Avvisato added nine points and 10 rebounds as Old Forge dominated on the glass. Eleven different players registered rebounds for the Blue Devils.

Fultz also added 10 rebounds and six points, and Tim McGrath added six points and four rebounds for Old Forge. Martinelli added eight assist and Brian Palma chipped in with four rebounds.

The Blue Devils will take on the loser of the District 1 championship game between Church Farm (20-1) and Faith Christian (20-5) on Friday at a time and local site to be announced. The two Philadelphia-area teams played yesterday at Villanova University.

OF 56, Forest City 30

One week sure makes a difference.

Seven days after West Scranton gave Old Forge a lesson in man-to-man defense at Scranton High School, the Blue Devils gave a lesson of their own at the same venue, holding Forest City to just eight field goals in a 56-30 victory over the Foresters in a District 2 Class 1A semifinal on Tuesday. The win gave the four-time defending district champ its 11th berth into the PIAA state tournament in the past 14 years.

Old Forge rode the hot hand of leading scorer Tony Goodall in the first quarter as the senior guard scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the opening four minutes of the game.

Goodall drained two free throws, drilled two three-pointers and scored on an offensive rebound as the Blue Devils ran out to a 16-5 lead. Old Forge scored eight of its 19 first-quarter points on offensive rebounds as Dom Avvisato added four points, and Tim McGrath two in the opening stanza. The Blue Devils 19-7 lead after the first quarter was punctuated by Billy Nocera’s triple from the left corner at the buzzer.

Old Forge pushed its lead to 30-9 halfway through the second quarter, but Forest City went on an 8-2 run to end the first half, trailing 32-17, as three Blue Devils starters – Avvisato, McGrath and point guard Mario Martinelli all sat during the span with foul trouble.

The lead grew to 42-22 by the end of the third as Forest City (5-18) managed just five points in the period. Martinelli and Goodall each buried three-pointers in the third, and Avvisato scored twice inside.

Old Forge then pushed its lead to 47-22 on a triple by Goodall and a bucket by Nocera before the Blue Devils reserves were called into action for the final six minutes of the game.

Martinelli, Nocera and Avvisato added eight points each for Old Forge. Martinelli chipped in with five assists for the Blue Devils, and Avvisato added six rebounds. McGrath added four assists and four rebounds for Old Forge also.

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