Back Mountain teams fall in first-place battles; Lake-Lehman alone in wrestling lead

By Tom Robinson - For Dallas Post
Jay Bittner (No. 35) of Dallas, battles Hazleton’s Joey Grula for a rebound. - Fred Adams | For Dallas Post
Brody Strickland (No. 12) of Dallas, guards Hazletons Jeffery Planutis. - Fred Adams | For Dallas Post

Before weather again interrupted the winter sports schedule, wiping out out every contest on Tuesday and Wednesday, the five-day stretch that ended Monday went a long way toward determining Wyoming Valley Conference divisional leaders.

The Dallas boys basketball and girls swimming teams and the Lake-Lehman girls basketball teams all lost a share of first place during a tough week of competition with other title contenders.

While those Back Mountain teams took a step back in their title pursuits, Lake-Lehman was taking command of the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 wrestling race.

Dallas and Tunkhannock made it through as the last two unbeatens, sharing the lead in WVC boys swimming, while Tunkhannock was also one of the last two teams with perfect records in WVC wrestling.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Hazleton Area 77

Dallas 60

Dallas cut 12-point deficits to three in both the second and third quarters of the Jan. 12 battle of WVC Division 1 co-leaders before falling to the unbeaten and state-ranked visitors from Hazleton Area.

Defending division champion Hazleton Area broke away for good with a 12-point streak early in the fourth quarter.

Both teams were unbeaten in WVC play going into the game at Dallas.

Josh Samec had 20 points to lead Hazleton Area to the win.

Jay Bittner led Dallas with 23 points. Alex Charlton added 11.

“I’m happy with the way we played,” Dallas coach Mark Belenski told the Times Leader. “We got beat, but we’re in a building process and have a lot of season left.

“We’re going to learn from this and we’re not going away.”

Nanticoke 62

Lake-Lehman 46

Nanticoke opened a 21-4 lead after one quarter in the Jan. 12 WVC Division 2-3 crossover game.

Max Paczewski led the Black Knights with 14 points. Danny Kutz added 10.

Tunkhannock 56

Northwest 45

Sean Harder and Tyler Faux each hit four 3-pointers to lead the Tigers to the WVC Division 2-3 crossover win Jan. 12.

Harder finished with 20 points and Faux had 18.

The Tigers led 24-7 after one quarter.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Wyoming Valley West 50

Lake-Lehman 35

Toni Amato scored 22 points Monday night when defending WVC Division 1 champion Wyoming Valley West knocked Lake-Lehman out of the Division 2 lead by handing the Black Knights their first conference loss.

Lake-Lehman led 20-15 at halftime before being outscored 18-7 in the third quarter and 35-15 total for the second half.

Madison Borum had 17 points in the loss.

Lake-Lehman 43

Wyoming Seminary 40

Madison Borum scored 15 of her 23 points while Lake-Lehman was overcoming a one-point halftime deficit Jan. 12 to complete a 6-0 run through the portion of its schedule where it played the six WVC Division 3 teams.

“Madison Borum had a great game,” Lake-Lehman coach Charlie Lavan told the Times Leader. “She carried us for three quarters.”

Lake-Lehman held Wyoming Seminary scoreless for the final 1:34 after the Blue Knights had pulled within a point.

Hazleton Area 55

Dallas 42

Hazleton Area held on to its WVC Division 1 lead by overcame visiting Dallas scoring the first 11 points of the Jan. 11 game.

Olivia Johnson hit two 3-pointers in the 11-0 start and finished with 17 points to lead Dallas.

Faith Grula scored 20 points and Maddie Mrochko came off the bench to add 17 for Hazleton Area.

WRESTLING

Lake-Lehman 51

Nanticoke 28

Zack Stuart’s pin at 120 pounds Monday night put host Lake-Lehman ahead and started a streak of five straight bouts that the Black Knights won.

Hunter Burke also had a pin at 138 for Lake-Lehman, which turned a 20-18 deficit into a 48-20 lead with the help of three forfeits during that stretch.

Riley Newman, at 170, and T.J. Meehan, at 195, had pins in two of the first three bouts for the first-place Black Knights.

Lake-Lehman 66

Berwick 15

Preseason favorite Lake-Lehman took the early lead in the WVC Division 2 race with the Jan. 11 road win.

The Black Knights improved to 2-0 with division wins on consecutive nights, quickly becoming the only division team without a loss by beating the Bulldogs, who had been off to a 2-0 start.

Robert Long, Garrett Kolb, Hunter Burke and Jake Trumbower had consecutive pins from 126 through 145 to stretch a 24-15 lead to 48-15.

T.J. Meehan (195) and Nick Zaboski (160) also won by pins.

Tunkhannock 42

Hazleton Area 28

Tunkhannock won a battle of WVC Division 1 unbeatens for the second straight night, emerging from the match in a tie for the division lead with Coughlin.

One night after breaking away early against Dallas, Tunkhannock won when David Gavek and Ethan Munley posted pins in the final two bouts at 126 and 132.

Gavek’s 22-second pin added to a 30-28 lead and clinched the victory.

Tom Traver (138) and Jake Stephens (195) also won by pin for the Tigers.

GIRLS SWIMMING

Wyoming Seminary 51

Dallas 43

Annalise Cheshire won three events and Abby Zolner set a school record Jan. 12, but it was not enough for Dallas, which lost the battle of WVC powers at defending champion Wyoming Seminary.

Both teams again came into the meet unbeaten.

The Blue Knights are the only team to beat the Mountainners, who won the previous two championships, in the past four conference seasons.

Cheshire and Zolner were both part of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay team. Cheshire also won the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Zolner broke a 19-year-old school record in the 100 breaststroke while finishing second in 1:11.78.

Lake-Lehman 96

Wyoming Area 54

Abby Bartuska and Emily Burgit each won two individual events Jan. 11 to lift Lake-Lehman to its first win of the season.

Bartuska won the 200- and 500-yard freestyles. Burgit won the 100 freestyle and 200 individual medley.

BOYS SWIMMING

Dallas 63

Wyoming Seminary 30

Shane Szczecinski and Ryan Spears were each part of the 200-yard medley and 400 freestyle relay teams in addition to winning two individual events when Dallas went on the road Jan. 12 to win the meet between WVC unbeatens.

Szczecinski won the 200 and 500 freestyle. Spears won the 100 free and 100 breaststroke.

Mikail Krochta was on the same two winning relays and finished first in the 100 backstroke for the Mountaineers, who are 3-0 and tied for first with Tunkhannock.

Former Lake-Lehman swimmer Yonah Wasik won the 200 individual medley for Wyoming Seminary.

Wyoming Area 53

Lake-Lehman 12

Wyoming Area won the Jan. 11 meeting of winless, short-handed teams.

Jay Bittner (No. 35) of Dallas, battles Hazleton’s Joey Grula for a rebound.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_da_hz2_faa-2.jpgJay Bittner (No. 35) of Dallas, battles Hazleton’s Joey Grula for a rebound. Fred Adams | For Dallas Post

Brody Strickland (No. 12) of Dallas, guards Hazletons Jeffery Planutis.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_da_hz3_faa-2.jpgBrody Strickland (No. 12) of Dallas, guards Hazletons Jeffery Planutis. Fred Adams | For Dallas Post
Lake-Lehman alone in wrestling lead

By Tom Robinson

For Dallas Post

Reach the Dallas Post newsroom at 570-704-3982 or by email at news@mydallaspost.com.

Reach the Dallas Post newsroom at 570-704-3982 or by email at news@mydallaspost.com.