Local fans were treated to an exciting weekend of youth hoops action as the Honesdale Biddy Basketball Association hosted its annual play-off tournament at Lakeside Elementary.

Kevin Miller stood on the foul line, his eyes riveted on the basket. An electrically-charged silence had descended on an overflow crowd at Lakeside Elementary.

Just four seconds remained in the final quarter of Sunday’s Honesdale Biddy Basketball Senior Division championship game. Miller, who almost single-handedly kept the Blazers in this ballgame, had just been fouled while trying to shoot a trey.

That meant Kevin would have three free throw attempts...and he needed all three since his team trailed the Bulls by a score of 36-34.

When referee Jeff Firmstone handed him the ball, Miller took a deep breath and swished his first attempt. 36-35. He repeated the process a moment later, draining his second try to tie the game at 36-all. Now, all that remained was the final shot. Would Miller give his team the lead, or would the game be headed in to overtime?

Once again, Kevin took a deep breath, bent his knees and let fly. This time, his shot barely carried the front of the rim. The ball bounced up in the air, then did a tantalizing little dance around the iron. Finally, as the crowd rose in unison, the shot went down. A deafening roar went up from the hundreds of fans on hand.

The Blazers led for the first time since early in the opening stanza. Still, there were four seconds left on the clock and the Bulls had once last, desperate chance.

Or so they thought.

Miller played the hero for the Blazers one last time. Kevin didn’t just stand on the free throw line to celebrate his achievement. No, he alertly sprinted to the baseline and stole the inbound pass. Miller dribbled out the remaining four seconds, thereby sealing the deal on a breathtaking 37-36 victory.

“I’ve been coaching Biddy Basketball for 10 years now and this is probably the most exciting game I’ve ever been involved in,” Blazers Coach Bob McHugh told TWI Sports. “I had a feeling that if both these teams developed the way they should, we might just end up playing for the championship. This win was extra special for us because we haven’t beaten a team coached by Ed Hart and Mark Hopkins in maybe five or six years. They did a great job and we’re just happy to come out of this with a win.”

Meanwhile, on the Junior Division scene, the Bullets put the finishing touches on an undefeated season. Under the direction of coaches Pete Goyette and Luke Turano, the Bullets rallied from a third quarter deficit to hand the Falcons a 27-22 defeat.

The Bullets closed out their 2008 campaign with an unblemished 9-0 record.

“Every single player on this team improved so much from the beginning of the season until now,” said Coach Goyette. “I’m so proud of these boys. They all contributed to this big win today. And, I have to compliment the Falcons. They gave us all we could handle.”

 Semifinal Battles
On Saturday evening, the HBBA tipped-off its annual championship weekend with a full slate of play-off games at Lakeside. The Junior Division lads were up first and treated the big Maple City crowd to a pair of exciting contests.

The Falcons opened up a big early lead on the Hornets, but then had to survive a second quarter scoring drought en route to a 26-15 victory. This was a two-point game heading into the final stanza, when the Falcons finally pulled away.

Ian Langendoerfer led the charge offensively. A gifted young guard/forward, Ian was held scoreless until the third period, but made up for lost time thereafter. Langendoerfer hit a pair of buckets just after intermission, then ran wild in the fourth quarter. Ian scored nine points in the final six minutes on his way to a game-high 13.

Kody Welsh helped the Falcons to a quick lead, scoring all six of his points in the opening stanza. Brian Reed also played a key role in the contest, tallying five points, all in the second half. Wyatt Bunnell rounded out the Falcons’ scoring with one bucket.

Chad Schull was Top Gun for the Hornets. He scored seven points in a gallant losing effort. Jason Reed and Jonathan Werner chipped in with four points each. The Hornets are coached by John & Tom O’Neill and ended their season with a solid 4-4 record.

Falcons (7-1) 26: Langendoerfer  5 3-4 13, Welsh 2 2-4 6, Reed 2 1-2 5, Bunnell 1 0-0 2, Ambrose 0 0-0 0, Armetta 0 0-0 0, McConnell 0 0-0 0, McVeigh 0 0-0 0, Putzi 0 0-0 0, Vlacich 0 0-0 0.
Hornets (4-4) 15: Schull 3 1-1 7, Werner 1 2-2 4, Reed 2 0-0 4, A. Adams 0 0-0 0, O. Adams 0 0-0 0, Felicetta 0 0-0 0, Figura 0 0-0 0, Hiller 0 0-0 0, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Rickard 0 0-0 0.
Score by Quarters...
Falcons    8   0   6  12 - 26
Hornets    4   2   6    3 - 15

Saturday’s second game proved to be one of the year’s most exciting. In this one, the Bullets needed overtime to keep their unbeaten streak alive against a scrappy Sixers’ squad.

With veteran coaches Dave Bierema and Charlie Gries calling the shots, the Sixers had the regular season champs on the ropes before finally running out of gas. The Bullets needed a clutch basket from Jonathan Bibiloni (his only two points of the game) in overtime to secure a spot in the final.

“We’re very lucky to have escaped that game with a win,” Coach Goyette said. “Those boys played a great game and could easily have won. Biddy Basketball is all about helping kids improve their skills and I think the Sixers are one of the most improved teams in the league.”

Nikolas Krempasky scored the lone basket in the first quarter, giving the Bullets a 2-0 lead. Both teams ran wild in the second, though. Alex Evanitsky led the way with five as the Sixers roared back to take an 11-10 lead at the break. Evanitsky would go on to score a team-best 12 points.

Spencer Goyette paced a balanced Bullets’ attack with eight markers, six of which came after intermission. Goyette’s old-fashioned three-point play as time expired in regulation saved the Bullets and forced overtime. Bibiloni’s lone bucket of the night then proved to be the gamewinner.

Brad Welsh chipped in with four, while Reed McLaughlin added two.
Tristan Petroski (four pts) and Kyle McGraw (two pts) rounded out the scoring for the Sixers.

Bullets (8-0) 20: Goyette 3 2-3 8, Welsh 2 0-0 4, Bibiloni 1 0-0 2, McLaughlin 1 0-0 2, Krempasky 1 0-0 2, LoBasso 1 0-0 2, Carmody 0 0-0 0, Passaro 0 0-0 0, Bochnovich 0 0-0 0, Hull 0 0-0 0, Schweighofer 0 0-0 0.
Sixers (4-4) 18: Evanitsky 5 2-3 12, Petroski 2 0-0 4, McGraw 1 0-0 2, Bass 0 0-0 0, L. Hall 0 0-0 0, P. Hall 0 0-0 0, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Maxson 0 0-0 0, McConnell 0 0-0 0, Protzman 0 0-0 0, Worobey 0 0-0 0.
Score by Quarters...
Bullets    2   8   4   4   2 - 20
Sixers     0  11  3   4   0 - 18

With the Falcons and Bullets safely into the Junior Division final, it was now time for the Senior Division to take center stage. Saturday’s third encounter was an entertaining contest between the Cardinals and Bulls...a game the Bulls eventually won by a score of 38-26.

The Bulls raced out to an 8-2 lead after one, but were put on the proverbial ropes in the second period. Jason O’Connell of the Cards erupted for all eight of his points just before the break, tying the game at 14-all.

Alas for Cardinal fans, the momentum didn’t last. A re-energized Bulls’ squad went on a 9-0 third quarter run to build an insurmountable lead. Drew Dirlam and Patrick Hart provided a devastating 1-2 punch. Dirlam dominated the paint and ended with a game-high 11 points. Hart bombed way from the perimeter on his way to a 9-point outing. Mike Morgan added seven to the Bulls’ assault.

The Cards tried to rally again, this time in the fourth quarter. Cole McConnell sparked a late run and ended his night with eight points. Ryan Keen (six pts) and Tommy Figura (four pts) did a solid job down the stretch, but the Bulls held on for a double-digit victory.

Bulls (7-1) 38: Dirlam 4 3-5 11, Hart 4 0-0 9, Morgan 3 1-2 7, Carney 2 1-2 5, Canfield 2 0-0 4, Lowe 1 0-0 2, Kotran 0 0-0 0, Yatwa 0 0-0 0, Ordnung 0 0-0 0, Mascari 0 0-0 0.
Cardinals (3-5) 26: McConnell 4 0-0 8, O’Connell, Figura 2 0-0 4, Keen 3 0-0 6, Lamberton 0 0-0 0, McDougal 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Vanderstadt 0 0-0 0.
Score by Quarters...
Bulls     8   6    9   15 - 38
Cards   2  12   0   12 - 26

The Blazers punched their ticket to the Senior Division championship game via a 20-16 decision over the Mavericks.

Kevin Miller was once again the focal point of the Blazers’ offense. Miller didn’t score a single point in the opening two stanzas, but exploded for a game-high 13 points after halftime. Kevin drained a pair of long treys to go with two field goals and a perfect 3-for-3 performance at the foul line.

Jake Gregory also played a key role in the Blazers’ victory, scoring all five of his points in the fourth quarter. Noah Pietraszewski accounted for the Blazers’ final two markers with one basket.

Chris Nagel paced a balanced Maverick attack with eight points. Nick Casazza elicited a bog roar from the crowd when he nailed a long third quarter trey. Dakota Kronyak and Montana Kronyak chipped in with two points apiece.

Blazers (5-3) 20: Miller 4 3-3 13, Gregory 1 3-4 5, Pietraszewski 1 0-0 2, Langendoerfer 0 0-0 0, Fasshauer 0 0-0 0, Robbins 0 0-0 0, Weidner 0 0-0 0, Bunnell 0 0-0 0, Reynolds 0 0-0 0, Predmore 0 0-0 0.
Mavs (5-3) 16: Nagel 4 0-0 8, Casazza 1 0-0 3, D. Kronyak 1 0-0 2, M. Kronyak 1 0-0 2, Dell’ Aquila 0 0-0 0, Hartley 0 1-2 1, Kearney 0 0-0 0, Krause 0 0-0 0, Bothun 0 0-0 0.
Score by Quarters...
Blazers   2   0   5   13 - 20
Mavs       3   6   5    2  - 16

On to the Finals
Sunday’s grand finale saw a packed gymnasium for the conclusion of the 2008 HBBA campaign. In addition to the Senior and Junior Division title tilts, fans were treated to a pair of all-star games and free throw shooting contests.

The afternoon’s festivities tipped off with a much-anticipated showdown between the undefeated Bullets and the Falcons. These two teams had run 1-2 throughout the entire Junior Division season. So, it seemed only fitting they would square off in the championship game.

Rex Schweighofer broke the scoring seal for the Bullets’ hitting the only basket of the first period. The Falcons had four chances at the free throw line, but didn’t convert any. This would prove deadly for the underdogs, who missed 11 foul shots in the game.

Ian Langendoerfer flexed his muscles in the second quarter. The Falcons’ star guard scored three points in the minutes leading up to intermission. Ian would go on to score a game-best 15 points on the strength of five field goals and a 5-for-9 stint at the charity stripe.

Langendoerfer’s biggest bucket came at the end of the third quarter. Ian hammered home a bomb from just inside the halfcourt stripe.

The Bullets took command of this one in the third quarter behind a late-game shooting spree by Spencer Goyette. The Falcons held Goyette scoreless in the first two quarters, but then surrendered eight key points down the stretch.

Goyette brought the crowd to its feet with a SportsCenter-worthy highlight midway through the period. Spencer drove baseline, avoided a pair of Falcon defenders, then went airborne for a Julius Erving-esque reverse lay-up.

Brad Welsh also came alive after the break, scoring all four of his points in the final 12 minutes. Brad’s key basket came early in the third quarter, a jumper he banked in from the left wing to give his team a 14-11 lead.

The Bullets outscored the Falcons 11-4 in the third quarter, then were content to trade baskets the rest of the way. The two teams played to a 9-9 stalemate in the fourth, which made the final score 27-22.

“I’m very proud of this team,” said Falcons’ Coach Steve Langendoerfer. “This is a great group of kids. They worked hard all year and we had a lot of fun. It’s astounding for me to see how much they improved. They’re learning the game of basketball and that’s what’s important.”

Bullets (9-0) 27: Goyette 2 4-6 8, Welsh 1 2-4 4, Bibiloni 1 2-2 4, Schweighofer 2 0-0 4, McLaughlin 0 3-4 3, Krempasky 1 0-0 2, LoBasso 1 0-0 2, Carmody 0 0-0 0, Passaro 0 0-0 0, Bochnovich 0 0-0 0, Hull 0 0-0 0.
Falcons (7-2) 22: Langendoerfer 5 5-9 15, McConnell 2 0-2 4, McVeigh 1 0-0 2, Reed 0 1-2 1, Ambrose 0 0-0 0, Armetta 0 0-0 0, Bunnell 0 0-0 0, Putzi 0 0-0 0, Welsh 0 0-0 0, Vlacich 0 0-0 0.
Score by Quarters...
Bullets     2   5   11   9 - 27
Falcons   0   9    4    9 - 22

Right from the opening tip, it was apparent to the SRO crowd that the Senior Division championship game would be an epic. The Bulls earned the regular season crown and a #1 seed for the play-offs. However, the Blazers entered the title tilt as the HBBA’s hottest team.

Kyle Carney dominated the opening stanza. Carney muscled his way to a basket in the paint, then connected on 4-of-5 free throw attempts. When Gavin Canfield hit two foul shots and Mike Morgan added a field goal, the Bulls held a surprising 10-6 lead.

Kevin Miller began heating up in the second quarter. The Blazers’ star slashed his way to three baskets and a free throw. Pat Hart countered Miller’s assault with a pair of deep treys and the Bulls held a 17-13 lead at intermission.

Drew Dirlam helped the Bulls extend their lead to 30-25 after three. The Bulls’ center would post a double-double on this day, scoring 11 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.

Unfortunately for Bulls’ fans, Miller took over the game in the last six minutes. Kevin scored eight of his game-high 21 points in the final stanza.

Dirlam gave the Bulls one last lead (36-34) via an offensive rebound and power move with just :12 left in regulation. Then, Miller sent the fans into a frenzy with his last-second heroics.

“We played hard today and we played hard the whole season,” said Coach Mark Hopkins. “We just came up a little bit short at the end there. It’s definitely a tough way to lose, but our boys don’t have anything to hang their heads about. We had a great season.”

Blazers (6-3) 37: Miller 7 7-8 21; Fasshauer 2 0-0 4, Gregory 2 2-3 6, Reynolds 1 1-1 3, Predmore 0 1-3 1, Weidner 1 0-0 2, Robbins 0 0-0 0, Langendoerfer 0 0-0 0, Bunnell 0 0-0 0, Pietrazewski 0 0-0 0.
Bulls (7-2) 36: Dirlam 5 1-5 11, Hart 3 2-8 10, Carney 2 5-10 9, Canfield 0 2-2 2, Lowe 1 0-0 2, Morgan 1 0-0 2, Ordnung 0 0-0 0, Mascari 0 0-0 0, Kotran 0 0-0 0.
Score by Quarters...
Blazers   6   7   12   12 - 37
Bulls      10  7   13     6 - 36