Three months of basketball battles are in the record books. Teams, across the state, start a final February Frenzy before the PIAA's version of March Madness tips off.
During the next two weeks, ballcubs will attempt to navigate through their district playoffs to reach the Final 32 State Tournament.
All teams can dream at this point and chase that one shining moment. But, once the ball is tipped, how hard some teams have worked, will show in convincing wins or making the plays in crunch time. Yet, all squads realize, the game may just come down to a lucky bounce of the ball.
In District 2 Class AA, No. 1 and defending district champ, W-B Meyers (19-2 overall) appears to be a team to watch. The Mohawks have plenty of firepower back from a squad that reached the Sweet 16 a year ago.
Ryan Krawczeniuk (6-2) and Rasheed Moore (6-6), both double-digit scorers, lead a talented team into the post season. The Mohawks were dealt a setback when Tyriek Steward, considered by many the best pure athlete on the squad, suffered a season-ending injury against GAR. Whether that injury hinders the Mohawks district or state chances remains to be seen.
At No. 16 seed, Carbondale Area (7-15) faces the David vs. Goliath game of the opening round in its match at Meyers.
The Chargers, who look to their defense to keep games in the 40's to improve their chances at victory, have struggled with turnovers all season long and will have to take care of the ball to relieve some of the pressure on its defense.
Junior, Isaiah McCord leads the teams attack with 14.0 ppg. Junior, Jason Martin (8.2 ppg), and seniors, Bayley Hughes (6.0 ppg), Michael Farrell (5.3 ppg) and Joe Gigliotti (1.4 ppg) round out the starting five. Sophomores, Kyle Burrell, Chris Larson, Jordan Martin, Jeff Arthur and senior, Tom Owens have also been in the rotation.
The winner of that game faces the winner of the No. 8 Nanticoke (11-11) and No. 9 Wyoming Seminary (13-7) in the second round on Saturday.
No. 2 seed, Holy Cross (19-5) has been battling the injury bug all season and head into districts with two starters nursing ankle injuries and another starter out the last two playoff games vs. Mid Valley with the flu.
Senior all-stater, Josh Kosin and defensive stopper, Casey Gaughan's health will be key to the Crusaders' hopes. Connor Callejas and Connor Jones, who has been ill the last week, are state-tourney tested while Kerry Kearney has stepped into a key starting role this season.
The Crusaders host Northwest (5-17 overall).
The winner of the HC vs. NW game plays the winner of the No. 7 Riverside (15-7) against No. 11 Lackawanna Trail (8-13) battle. The Vikings are another dangerous team with Jaron Vishnefsky (17.8 ppg), Nico Munley, Connor Mailen and Randy Kincel leading the way. Dylan Harris (13.6 ppg) tops LT.
Page 2 of 2 - No. 3 seed, Elk Lake (18-4 overall) welcomes No. 14 Lakeland (9-13). The Chiefs boast a pair of 1,000 career point scorers in seniors, Kyle Kiehart and Eric Grabowski. Senior, Tyler Brady, who has also been a scoring threat, rounds out a solid trio. Senior, Kolby Clauss-Walton, sophomore, Josh Natale and freshmen, Tony Harding and AJ Wormuth round out the rotation. The Warriors ' guard-oriented attack features Tanner Reyan (17.2 ppg) and Rob Heft (16.0 ppg).
The winner of the Elk Lake vs. Lakeland game faces the winner of the No. 11 Hanover (10-12) at No. 6 Dunmore (14-7) game. The Bucks could be a sleeper team with Matt Clark (15.0 ppg), John Rinaldi (13.8 ppg) and a solid supporting cast.
No. 4 seed Mid Valley (20-4) hosts No. 13 seed Mt. View (7-15). On paper, Mid Valley's loss in the D-III title game to Holy Cross may have given the Spartans a less difficult road in the first two elimination rounds since they'll avoid the other top fellow D-III members. The Spartans have plenty of firepower with Ronny Tomasetti leading the way (14.1). Matt Tanner, Alex Krislupsky, Martin Walsh, AJ Gangemi and LJ DeMarco form a solid cast.
The winner faces the winner of the No. 5 Montrose (12-10) vs. No. 12 Blue Ridge (7-15) game. Blue Ridge is paced by Sawyer Dearborn (27.9 ppg) while Montrose is led by Cameron Dean (19.5 ppg).