Honesdale opened its quest for a District Two boys basketball title Wednesday night with a convincing win over Wyoming Area. Senior center Nick Joyal led the way with 23 points and 11 rebounds as the Hornets cruised, 57-41.

Honesdale officially began its quest for a District Two boys basketball title Thursday evening in Exeter.

The Hornets leapt out to a big early lead against Wyoming Area in this special Class AAA play-in game, then cruised to an eventual 57-41 victory.

With this win, the Red & Black set up an opening round D-2 battle with top-seeded Holy Redeemer.

“I’ve drawn up a list of 19 ways to beat Holy Redeemer...and only a few of them involve a chainsaw,” Coach Tim Wood jokingly told TWI Sports. “Seriously, though: we’re very excited to be playing against the #1 team in all of District Two. It’s a rare opportunity and we’re going to make the best of it.”

The Royals head into the tournament with an outstanding 21-2 overall record. Under the direction of veteran Coach Belenski led Redeemer to the all-season WVC title in DIvision II.

The Royals finished in a tie with Coughlin at the end of first half action, but defeated the Crusaders in a special play-off game, 52-33.

Honesdale and Holy Redeemer were originally set to play Friday night. However, due to a massive snowstorm predicted for the northeast beginning on Thursday, the game will likely be played Saturday or Sunday.

Stay tuned to TWI Sports for updated information as soon as it becomes available.

Honesdale wasted no time in taking control of this play-in game against Wyoming Area.

The Hornets jetted out to a 12-6 lead after one quarter, then increased that advantage to 33-12 by halftime.

Nick Joyal led the way for Honesdale. The Red & Black’s senior center rattled the rims for a game-high 23 points. Joyal also pulled down 11 rebounds and snagged four steals.

“Nick played an outstanding all-round game,” said Coach Wood. “He’s playing his best basketball of the season at the perfect time.”

The highlight of Joyal’s evening came midway through the third period.

Nick stole a pass near midcourt, drove hard to the hole and unleashed a thunderous dunk. Joyal’s lightning bolt upped Honesdale’s lead to 20 points and prompted a timeout by Wyoming Area.

“That pretty much sealed the deal,” said Coach Wood. “Nick’s understanding of the game has gotten much better as the year’s gone by. That was the perfect time for a big dunk.”

The Hornets increased their cushion to as much as 25 points late in the period. Then,  Coach Wood began mass substitutions.

Kyle Rickard and Jesse O’Connell drew rave reviews for their play.

Rickard is a junior guard who provides hustle & tenacity off the bench. On this particular night, Kyle handed out a team-best four assists and snared three steals.

O’Connell is still just a sophomore, but he appears ready to make a big contribution next season. Against Wyoming Area, Jesse scored a basket, played tireless defense and went to the floor after several loose balls.

“Hey, Jesse O’Connell was terrific off the bench,” said Coach Wood. “He’s really blossoming into a good all-round player and not just a 3-point shooter. I’m thrilled with Jesse’s progress.”

Over & Out
Wade West and Ben Krempasky also contributed key plays to the Red & Black cause.

West scored eight points and hauled down nine rebounds. Krempasky added seven markers.

“I saw some very good things out there,” said Coach Wood. “I hope this win gives us a little bit of confidence and some momentum going into the Redeemer game.”

HON (7-16) 57: Joyal 11 1-5 23, West 3 2-3 8, Meyer 2 1-2 6, Rogers 1 2-3 5, Z. Rickard 0 2-2 2, K. Rickard 0 1-2 1, Krempasky 3 1-2 7, Koberlein 0 1-2 1, O’Connell 1 0-1 2, Brown 0 1-1 1, Douglass 0 0-0 0, Wilson 0 0-0 0.

WYO (1-22) 41: Gates 1 2-2 4, Bellino 3 2-3 8, McDermott 4 0-0 9, Carey 3 3-6 11, Vullo 2 1-1 5, McDermott 0 2-2 2, Klus 0 2-2 2, Drivinghawk 0 0-2 0.

Score by Quarters...
HON  12  21  12  12 - 57
WYO  6    6   11  18 - 41