A quarter century ago, the Pioneer City was awash in celebrations
Twenty-five years ago, Carbondale Area vaulted into the state basketball spotlight during the PIAA Final 32 State Championship Basketball Tournament.
This weekend, the Final 32 Tournament tips off in six different classifications in the 2018 Edition of high school hoops’ March Madness.
In 1992-93, the Chargers carried a 25-0 record into the state event. The line-up featured junior, Dan Seigle (6-5), junior, Chris Daley (5-10), senior, Mike Connor (6-0) … all career 1,000 point scorers … senior, Leo Skorupa (5-9) and senior, Mark Seigle (6-0).
Carbondale was involved in just four single digit games in regular season action and had trailed only one time going into the fourth period.
Coach Glenn Moskosky’s ballclub vanquished GAR and Dunmore in 20+ victory margins in district play before tipping off their state journey on March 20, 1993 at the Scranton CYC vs District 1 champion, St. Pius X.
Before a capacity crowd, the Chargers and St. Pius battled to a 26-26 halftime tie before CA earned some breathing room with a 15-10 third period.
With Dan Seigle and Mike Connor eventually playing with four fouls apiece, senior, Micah McHale (6-3) and junior, Sean Tierney (5-7) provided bench help in the second period while senior, Brian Piatak (6-1) provided third period play.
With Dan Seigle finishing with 26 points and Daley and Connor posting 19 and 11 points, CA turned away the Winged Lions, 65-59 with a 17-21 fourth period effort on the charity stripe during a 27-23 fourth period scoring advantage.
At 26-0, CA was becoming the hottest ticket in post season play.
Four days later, the Chargers buried Saucon Valley, 69-36 in the Sweet 16 battle before a boisterous packed house at King’s College.
Connor (15), Dan Seigle (12), Daley (11) and Skorupa (10) led the attack, which included a pair of thunderous Seigle slam dunks.
On March 27 at Martz Hall in Pottsville in the Elite Eight Round, a standing-room only, filled-to-legal-capacity crowd witnessed one of the wildest fourth periods in state tournament history when 52 total points were scored.
The Bubblers scored 20 of those points in the last 2:09 when they were frantically fouling the Chargers.
CA answered with 17 points of their own in the last 2:09. CA nailed 21-27 free throws in the game, led by Daley’s 12-15 effort while Boiling Springs Marc Lay buried 20 fourth period points en route to 35 points.
Lay’s performance kept fans on the edge of their seats but CA prevailed, 77-69 despite being outscored 27-25 in the fourth period.
With Dan Seigle hindered with three first half fouls and eventually fouling out and missing 16:52 of the contest, Mark Seigle saddled with four fouls and Connor missing the last 6:17 of the first half, Moskosky pulled the substitute strings with McHale, junior Rob Zavislak (5-11) and Piatak.
The trio saw action in three of the four periods and provided solid efforts. Daley (26), Connor (17) and Dan Seigle (11) led seven scorers.
On March 31, the Chargers and their frenzied fans packed Martz Hall again in a Final Four battle vs. deliberate-style Reading Central Catholic.
The Cardinals jumped to a 10-0 start but Connor’s nine second quarter points capped a 23-16 rally to close the gap to 26-23 by halftime.
Daley’s 10 third period points ignited a 16-8 third period push that gave CA a 39-34 margin with 8:00 left.
In the closing seconds, CA clung to a 46-44 when RCC called a timeout with :06.2 left and possession.
Dan Seigle seemingly came out of nowhere, swatted a last second short jumper into the hands of Mike Connor and sent the Charger faithful spilling onto the court into wild celebration.
The Chargers had dropped a heartbreaking Final Four battle two years earlier when Andy Seigle (6-9) had carried the Chargers within four points of a state title appearance.
With a seemingly endless caravan of Charger faithful lighting up 81-North and the recent pulsating win dominating the topic of conversation in every car heading back to the Pioneer City, attention was already turned towards the Saturday, April 3 State Title game.
With each school allotted only 900 tickets, the CA School District already sent employee, Mike Critchley to Hersheypark Arena.
When the ticket office opened on Thursday morning, Critchley purchased 1,000 tickets.
Some CA alumni out west purchased tickets from the Chargers’ opponent, George Jr. Republic, while members of the CA Booster Club had purchased their share of tickets for its members.
Fans lined up at the school and quickly gobbled up tickets despite a limit per person.
After two days of Charger talk throughout Northeastern Pa., especially in every nook and cranny of the Carbondale area, the stage was set.
The Chargers and George Jr. Republic battled at Hersheypark Arena for the state crown.
In a wild first period, Daley and Seigle posted 10 and eight points respectively as the Chargers took George Jr.’s best shot, yet stood toe-to-toe and trailed just 25-24.
With Seigle finishingbthe half with 17 and Daley 16, the Chargers still stood face-to-face trailing, 43-42.
Tied after 16:00 at 55-55, tension grew with each possession in the fourth period.
In the closing 4:10, GJR did not score. They missed a lay-up and twice held the ball for the last shot. With the clock winding down and GJR with possession, Connor stripped the ball and Daley gained possession, dribbled to half court and called timeout.
Tied at 63, CA was about to blow the roof off the arena.
In bound to Daley, Connor to the hole, short, rebound loose, Skorupa with the underhand...
Each player found a way to contribute that day. Connor (5) buried an early trey and had the big strip. Mark Seigle (9) added huge second half scores.
McHale (2) provided defensive efforts. Seigle (27) and Daley (16) fueled the overall play. Zavislak, Piatak and Tierney has bruef appearances
And, defensive standout, Skorupa (6) produced a scoop of history that delivered one of those “where were you moments.”
Teams start their state journey this weekend dreaming about a a wild two week ride capped by a state title.
Twenty five years ago:
Carbondale, the Dream Came True.