Honesdale's boys varsity basketball team defeated Tunkhannock for its 5th straight win
HONESDALE — If there is a bona fide surprise so far on the local winter sports scene it would have to be Honesdale's boys varsity basketball team.
On Tuesday evening at the Red Palace, the Hornets won their fifth consecutive game and now boast a perfect 5-0 record.
Honesdale's latest victim was Tunkhannock.
The Tigers clawed their way to a first quarter lead, but then could only watch in horror as the Hornets utterly dominated the final three periods.
The result was a 70-53 win for the home team, but a realistic appraisal from veteran Coach Tim Wood.
"I never expected us to be 5-0 at this point in the season," he said.
"Of course, I'm thrilled to be undefeated, but we're far from a finished product. I'm going to keep coaching hard and the boys will keep working hard and we'll hope to get a little bit better every day."
Honesdale will be back in action this week in another non-league game. The Red & Black are slated to host Pocono Mountain East on Friday at the Red Palace.
Opening tip is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Above the Rim
Less than 24 hours after closing out a big road win at Dallas, the Hornets were back on the floor for a battle with Tunkhannock.
And, while it appeared that several of the younger players were a little bit leg weary, the same could not be said for Chris Nagel.
A senior forward who can just leap out of the gym, Nagel terrorized the Tigers from opening tip to final buzzer on Tuesday.
"Chris has been giving us good basketball all season," said Coach Wood. "Tonight in particular, though, he was outstanding. Chris is a blue collar kid who does all the little things that don't necessarily show up in the boxscore each night."
Nagel's name was all over the stat sheet at the end of this one. The high-flying tri-captain erupted for a game-best 23 points on the strength of three treys, six field goals and a perfect 2-for-2 stint at the stripe.
Nick Casazza also earned high marks for his all-round stellar performance.
The sophomore guard led Honesdale with five steals after a night spent making life miserable for Tigers' ballhandlers.
Casazza contributed key plays at the offensive end as well. Nick handed out a pair of assists and powered his way to seven points.
"For my money, Nick is one of the best defensive players in the entire area," said Coach Wood. "He just dominated Tunkhannock's point guard tonight.
"Especially in the third quarter, Nick came out and caused so many turnovers. It really ignited us as far as defense goes."
Thanks to the potent tag-team combination of Nagel and Casazza, Honesdale erased an early deficit and rocketed into the lead.
With junior point guard Kevin Miller directing the offense with ruthless efficiency, the Hornets went from trailing by one at the break to leading by as many as 18 in the fourth period.
Miller turned in another solid effort, scoring in every quarter en route to a 13-point performance.
Ian Langendoerfer once again came off the Hornets' bench to inject energy into the offensive assault.
A freshman who can play effectively on the perimeter or under the basket, Langendoerfer checked in with seven points. Ian also drove home the final dagger with a deep trey at the third quarter buzzer.
"That was a huge shot," said Coach Wood. "I think that really took the wind out of Tunkhannock's sails."
With that bucket in the bank, Honesdale carried a double-digit lead into the final stanza. The Hornets then began working their spread offense, which left the Tigers scrambling and gasping for breath.
"That's definitely one of the advantages of having a young team," Coach Wood said with a smile. "We just weren't as tired as they were late in the game.
"Plus, we can go eight or nine players deep and most other teams can't."
Kyle Carney returned to the line-up after missing a game due to illness and didn't miss a beat. Carney contributed 10 points to the Red & Black cause.
Jon Gillow paced the low post assault. The Hornets' senior center muscled his way to eight points, six rebounds and two blocks.
Cole McConnell rounded out Honesdale's scoring with two points.
Score by Quarters...
HON (5-0) 15 17 21 17 – 70
TUN (3-2) 18 15 10 10 - 53