Pioneer City lads surging in the second half

Carbondale Area has staged an electrifying charge to a 7-3 mark down the stretch.

This includes five straight wins heading into the regular season finale last night (Thursday) at Holy Cross.

The run has been keyed by the elevated play of seniors Andrew Manarchuck (5-10) and Bailey Rumford (5-9), along with junior Mike Zazzera (5-9) rounding out the starting five.

The Chargers’ sudden surge has been powered by different players stepping up in crucial times in game.

Senior Bobby Salitsky has been the team leader all season and top scorer.

Pat Durkin has been an ever-growing force as well, highlighted by game-winning free throws vs. Dunmore. But the other trio has really stepped into the spotlight of late.

Terrific Triad

Since burying a game-winning trey in the final :19 at Old Forge in a 50-48 victory, Manarchuck has become a force in other areas.

“Chuck has committed himself to becoming a more well-rounded player,” noted head coach Landon Gabriel.

“Earlier in his career, he was more of a 3-point shooter. Now, he rebounds, attacks off the dribble, posts up well and hits the timely three, like the Old Forge game.”

On the season, Manarchuck has posted 8.7 ppg including a team-high 29 treys. He’s added 81 rebounds.

Rumford has elevated his game as the season has progressed and taken on a larger role in the Chargers’ game planning.

“Rummy has taken over the responsibility of guarding the opponents’ best player in just about every game,” offered Gabriel. “He’s had some big steals and conversions in recent games and nailed some timely threes. He’s also improved his game attacking the basket.”

Rumford has buried 69.2 percent of his free throws and 6.1 ppg on the season. In recent contests, Rumford has aided CA’s floor game with a six assist effort vs. Elk Lake.

Zazzera has given the Chargers it’s biggest jolt during the hot streak.

Struggling earlier in the season, Zazzera has been sizzling over the last seven games.

“Mike has really simplified his game since earlier this season,” opined Gabriel. “Earlier in the year, he was hesitating, overthinking. Now he’s played so much better in the flow of the game.

“He’s used his athleticism to beat teams off the dribble and especially in rebounding. He has been finishing so much better around the basket.”

By the Numbers

In the recent win Tuesday vs. Riverside, Zazzera went 8-10 from the field, had five assists and buried 21 points.

In the last seven games, he’s averaged 11.2 ppg, had double figures in all but one game and averaged seven rebounds.

On the season, he leads the team in offensive rebounds and total rebounds, assists and has posted 8.7 ppg.

In recent games, non-starters, Noah Mauro (5-9), Keegan Durkin (6-0) and Adam Rossetti (5-8) have also responded when called upon.

Mauro banked in a buzzer-beating trey in the third period at Dunmore. That trey affected how the final stretch of the game played out with CA claiming a 57-54 win.

Mauro added 2-3 shooting and rebounding aid in 20 minutes of play vs. Riverside.

Keegan Durkin has been key contributor in the Chargers’ recent run. His two free throws with :06.3 left vs. Riverside righted a struggling 1-8 team free throw skid and gave CA a 50-45 lead in an eventual 50-48 win.

Rossetti nailed two treys in igniting a put-the- game away run vs. Elk Lake.

The Chargers have finished regular season play with strong performances. Each performer has been raising thier game in recent outings and playing a role in the Chargers’ surge.