First Posted: 12/30/2014
Back Mountain wrestlers found individual success and the Dallas boys basketball team discovered a new combination to try to snap out of an early-season rut during holiday high school sports events.
TUNKHANNOCK – Lake-Lehman’s Josh Sayre and Derek Dragon, Tunkhannock’s Dalton Ray and Dallas’ Ryan Monkall won individual titles at large wrestling tournaments.
Sayre, Dragon and Ray won titles in the 26-team Tunkhannock Kiwanis Tournament that was held Monday and Tuesday.
Sayre edged Tunkhannock’s Mike Manley, 3-2, in the 145-pound final.
Dragon won the 182-pound title, 6-1, over Niko Cappello of Cranford, N.J.
Tunkhannock sent four wrestlers to the title. Ray used a first-period pin to win at 170 pounds while Tom Bachman (113) and Bill Manley (138) matched Mike Manley’s second-place finish.
The Tigers were third behind Wyalusing and Cranford. Lake-Lehman finished seventh.
Ryan Monk from Dallas won the 285-pound title in the 25-team Buckskin Classic at Conestoga Valley High School Dec. 27-28.
Monk posted a pair of first-period pins, before battling to decisions in the semifinals and finals. He topped Brock Hartman of New Oxford, 7-3, and Austin Knies of Westfield, Va., 3-2.
Jerry Ogurkis placed sixth at 220 pounds.
Wrestling with a limited lineup, the Mountaineers finished in 22nd place.
Owen J. Roberts won the team title.
WEST PITTSTON – The Dallas lineup went through a distinct change but Allen Fell’s role remained the same.
The 6-foot-6 senior center dominated in the post when Dallas jumped out early on the way to a 70-55 win over host Wyoming Area in the new Backyard Brawl Trophy game between the two schools.
The game was created when former Dallas assistant Pete Moses took over as Wyoming Area’s head coach this year.
Fell scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, despite not playing in the fourth quarter, to earn his team’s Most Valuable Player Award.
“We got out on them real fast and played real hard,” Fell said after the Mountaineers scored the game’s first 13 points and opened a 20-2 lead before Wyoming Area scored its first field goal.
With the Mountaineers, expected to be a contender in Division 1 of the Wyoming Valley Conference this season, off to a 1-5 start, coach Doug Miller decided to make some changes.
Miller inserted freshman point guard Jay Bittner and sophomore wing Ben Donahue in the starting lineup and saw immediate results.
“They had been in the 10-man rotation, but we thought we needed to try something different to shake things up a little bit,” Miller said. “I was a little nervous about what I was going to get, but when you’re on a losing streak you’ve got to change something.”
Bittner did not miss a shot while scoring 10 points and providing a team-high six assists. He had seven points in the first quarter and five of his assists in the first half.
Donahue scored 11 points, including a 3-pointer to open the game and a fastbreak basket for a 7-0 lead after just two minutes.
“I thought we showed a lot of energy,” Miller said.
Helping in the process was that Matt Ross and Omar Nijmeh, the two seniors displaced from the starting lineup, played well as the top two subs. Ross had seven points and three assists in the game. Nijmeh led the team in the second quarter with six points and also had a pair of assists.
“I thought they handled it with a ton of class,” Miller said. “You don’t want to mess with their confidence level.”
Mike Symeon was named to the all-tournament team when Lake-Lehman placed third at the 49th annual Robert McGrane Memorial Tournament at the Wilkes-Barre CYC.
Symeon went 11-for-15 from the line and finished with 14 points when Lake-Lehman defeated Pittston Area, 56-50, for third place Dec. 27. The night before, he had 13 points and seven rebounds during a 69-53, opening-round loss to Hanover Area.
Lake-Lehman reached the championship game of the Greater Pittston Holiday Tournament before falling to host Pittston Area, 68-57, Monday night.
Cayle Spencer and Julia Eneboe made the all-tournament team after strong efforts in the final. Spencer led the Knights with 19 points. Eneboe hit six 3-pointers while adding 18.
Spencer went 17-for-24 from the line and scored 30 points when Lake-Lehman reached the final with a 44-35 victory over East Stroudsburg South Dec. 26. Eneboe added eight points.
Dallas lost to Emmaus, 54-42, in the Judy Knorr Tournament Monday to fall into the third-place game against host Berwick.