H.S. Boys Basketball: Holy Redeemer defeats Wyoming Area to take over first place

Jan. 31—EXETER — Holy Redeemer showed Tuesday night that it's not about to surrender its status as defending champion.

Even if the guys defending that championship are basically a new bunch.

One of them, though, was instrumental in last season's Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 boys basketball title and was instrumental in keeping hopes for a three-peat in place.

George Sabatini scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Redeemer pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 59-46 victory over Wyoming Area in a battle for first place.

Redeemer (8-1 Div. 2, 12-7 overall) also took a half-game lead over Wyoming Area (7-1, 12-5). The Royals also avenged a 74-68 triple overtime loss to Wyoming Area on Jan. 9.

"You know me, fouling out against them the first time I just wanted to go out and put it all on the court," said Sabatini, who tied his season high in points. "I feel like our team has gotten so much better. We went out there and proved what we've been working on."

Sabatini said he is dedicating the rest of the season to his grandfather Ray Sabatini, who died Thursday. The senior played inspired basketball down the stretch as Redeemer turned a one-point lead with just over four minutes to play into a 13-point victory.

Redeemer's Brayden Sock hit a 3-pointer for his only points of the game and to give the Royals a 46-42 lead at 4:27 of the fourth quarter. Sabatini then hit a 3-pointer and drove right down the lane for a layup, bumping the advantage to 51-42 with just over two minutes remaining. He scored the game's final points by grabbing a rebound and finishing off with a layup.

Wyoming Area overcame a shaky offensive performance in the second quarter, going nearly five minutes without a point and still managing a 22-21 halftime lead. The Warriors recovered in the third quarter and a consecutive baskets by Dane Schutter and Tyler Sciandra early in the fourth tied the score 39-39.

Wyoming Area, though, had just three more field goals in the fourth.

"We struggled a little bit offensively tonight," Wyoming Area coach Anthony Macario said. "We didn't shoot the ball particularly well. We had too many first-half turnovers that hurt us, and they got us on the glass pretty good. All those things kind of factored in the end result being what it was."

Sabatini also pointed to the play of Redeemer's guards, whose ballhandling significantly cut down turnovers after the first quarter. Guard Mark Atherton had 10 points, including a 3-pointer that gave Redeemer a 37-35 lead entering the fourth quarter. David Popson, the Royals' other big man, finished with 12 points and six rebounds.

"Our defense was there for all four quarters," Redeemer coach Paul Guido said, "but in the fourth quarter we really started letting our defense help us with our offense and get us some stops and some pushouts and get us in transition and get their defense scrambling a little bit."

Holy Redeemer 59, Wyoming Area 46

HOLY REDEEMER (59) — Mark Atherton 3 3-6 10, George Sabatini 9 0-1 21, Brayden Sock 1 0-0 3, David Popson 5 1-2 12, Cody Quaglia 2 4-6 9, Jack Hurst 0 2-2 2, Mike Dubaskas 0 0-0 0, Logan Sekol 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 10-16 59.

WYOMING AREA (46) — Tyler Sciandra 4 1-3 9, Anthony DeLucca 3 0-0 8, Brady Noone 5 0-0 10, Matt Rusinchak 0 0-0 0, Dane Schutter 6 2-3 15, Dan Feeney 0 0-0 0, Trevor Kruszka 1 2-2 4, Patrick Golden 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 5-8 46.

Holy Redeemer'11'10'16'22 — 59

Wyoming Area'14'8'13'11 — 46

Three-point goals — HR 7 (Atherton, Sabatini 3, Sock, Popson, Quaglia). WA 3 (DeLucca 2, Schutter).