H.S. Boys Basketball: Dallas rallies to defeat Pittston Area in D2-5A semifinals

DALLAS TWP. — Placed in a deep hole by a sizzling shooting half from visiting Pittston Area, Dallas coach Mark Belenski just wanted his Mountaineers to get within range for a fourth-quarter comeback.

They did their best to accelerate that schedule.

“I said let’s get it close in the fourth quarter, but they did it all in the third quarter,” Belenski said after the Mountaineers recovered for a 56-49 victory Thursday night in the District 2 Class 5A semifinals.

After using an 18-7 third quarter to close to within a point, Dallas followed it up with a 16-8 fourth quarter, including a 16-4 finish over the final 5:35.

“Kudos to these kids,” Belenski said. “They don’t quit. They’ve been through it all.

“It was a great team effort. It didn’t matter who I put in, they all stepped up.”

Mikey Cumbo led that effort with 13 of his team-high 17 points in the second half, including the team’s biggest baskets. He also led the Mountaineers in rebounds (eight), assists (five) and blocked shots (three) while sharing the lead in steals (two).

“They made a lot more shots in the first half, but our defense amped it up and made them go faster in the second half,” Cumbo said.

After going 7-for-12 from 3-point range, primarily shooting over a Dallas zone, Pittston Area was 2-for-13 against a more-active man-to-man defense in the second half.

“We worked hard,” said Jude Nocito, who had 10 of his 14 points after halftime. “We were ready for the second half. We knew we were conditioned and we just didn’t give up.”

Cameron Faux hit three 3-pointers while adding 13 points to the win.

Paul Jordan McGarry, who finished with 21 points, did all the Pittston Area scoring in an 8-2 start. Running in and out of the game on every whistle for offensive and defensive situations after picking up two early fouls, he hit two more 3-pointers in the last 1:45 of the quarter, including a 40-footer at the buzzer for a 16-9 lead.

Silvio Giardina took it from there with three 3-pointers and 10 of his 14 points in the second quarter for a 34-22 halftime lead. Giardina’s only six starts were in the last six games of the season after returning from injury and helping to give the team a spark.

The sixth-seeded Patriots, who had slipped to 5-13 overall when they lost 10 of 11 games, closed out the season with five straight wins, then one strong upset bid Thursday night.

“I’m extremely proud of our kids,” Patriots coach Al Semenza said. “At 5-13, everybody pretty much had us buried and was throwing dirt over us, but our kids kept coming.”

Dallas immediately went to work after halftime with Cumbo scoring the first four points and Nocito the next four in an 8-2 start to the third quarter.

Cumbo grabbed a defensive rebound and trailed the fastbreak in the fourth quarter, moving into position to hit his only 3-pointer and force the game’s first tie at 45-45 with 4:43 left. On the next possession, he stole a pass in the backcourt for a layup and the first lead. He later put the Mountaineers ahead for good on a 14-foot, pull-up jumper with 2:54 left to start a 9-1 finish.

District 2 Class 5A semifinals

Dallas 56, Pittston Area 49

PITTSTON AREA (43) — Lopresto 0 0-0 0, Giardina 4 3-7 14, Walter 5 0-2 10, McGarry 7 1-2 21, Bilbow 2 0-2 4, Lynn 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 4-13 49.

DALLAS (56) — Nocito 5 3-4 14, Faux 5 0-0 13, Paczewski 0 0-0 0, Cumbo 5 6-6 17, Williams 3 1-1 7, Zapoticky 0 1-2 1, Farrell 1 0-0 2, Dale 1 0-0 2, Flanagan 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 11-13 51.

Pittston Area`16`18`7`8 — 49

Dallas`9`13`18`16 — 56

Three-point goals – PA 9 (McGarry 6, Giardina 3); DAL 5 (Faux 3, Nocito, Cumbo)


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