Ian Langendoerfer and Kevin Miller catapulted the Hornets into Saturday's title tilt.
Ian Langendoerfer and Kevin Miller made sure the Hornets extended their unbeaten streak at the start of the 2013-14 season.
These two talented players combined for 31 points Thursday night in the semifinals of the 54th Annual Jaycees Holiday Tournament. That total nearly equaled that of the entire East Stroudsburg South squad and sparked the Red & Black to a 48-35 win.
"I'm very proud of the effort this team put forth today," said Coach Tim Wood. "Ian and Kevin both played very well, but every single one of these kids went out there and gave 100 percent."
With this victory, Honesdale improves to 7-0 on the year and advances to the championship game and a date with Nazareth. The Eagles shrugged off a sluggish start, then soared to a 62-51 win over Wallenpaupack Area in the other semi.
Opening tip for this tourney title tilt is slated for 8 p.m. Saturday night at the Red Palace.
"We know Nazareth is a good team, but we're a good team too and we're really looking foward to the challenge. It should be a great game."
Paupack raced out to an early lead in Thursday's opener.
Under the direction of veteran coach Rich McGinnis, the Buckhorns carved out a 17-9 advantage after one period and led 27-25 at intermission.
Mike Galgano fired the opening salvos. An unheralded senior sharpshooter, Galgano dialed up a pair of long distance treys in the first quarter.
"We really needed it," Coach McGinnis said. "And that's exactly what we need from Mike. He's a pure shooter and I was happy to see him spot up and hit those shots."
Jamel Blanding also stamped his presence on the game. Paupack's senior point guard rained down three treys of his own and finished up the evening with a team-best 14.
Unfortunately for a large contingent of Paupack fans on hand, the Buckhorns saw their lead vanish after the break.
Nazareth seized momentum in the third and fourth quarters, outscoring the Bucks by a margin of 35-24 down the stretch.
Austin Cordero led the way, tickling the twine for a game-high 17 points. Three other Eagles also cracked double figures: John Kassis (15 pts), Bailey Brugler (13) and Brett Kline.
For Paupack, Reshawn Battle muscled his way to nine points and six rebounds in the low post. He was aided and abetted by teammates John Steffen (8 pts), Anthony Bouselli and TJ Root (7 pts each).
Langendoerfer burst onto the scene as a high-scoring freshman phenom last winter.
This season, Ian has struggled a bit offensively through Honesdale's first seven games.
However, the sophomore sensation authored a breakout performance Thursday night against East Stroudsburg South.
"I think it's safe to say that was Ian's most complete game of the season so far," said Coach Wood. "We challenged Ian to step up his defense tonight and he certainly did that. He did an outstanding job."
Despite drawing the night's toughest defensive assignment, Langendoerfer still managed to tally a game-high 17 points. He also hauled down seven rebounds and held the Cavaliers' top scorer, O'Neal Holder to just five field goals.
Honesdale tweaked its trademark high-pressure defense to start the second quarter and ESS was baffled. The Hornets would force 18 turnovers on this night and forge a 31-15 lead by halftime.
Cole McConnell anchored the Red & Black defense in the paint, forcing the Cavs to fire up one ill-advised jumper after another.
Honesdale's hard-nosed senior center snagged six rebounds, played stout defense and earned nothing but praise from his skipper.
"Cole McConnell is a typical, hard-working blue collar Hornet player," Coach Wood said.
"He goes out there and does all the little things that a team needs to win. Cole is az tough as they come and we love having him out there."
While Langendoerfer and McConnell patrolled the interior, Miller terrorized ESS on the perimeter and in transition.
Kevin scored 14 points, the most important of which was a deep trey late in the third quarter. That trifecta stopped a mini-run by the Cavs and pushed Honesdale's lead back into double digits.
Nick Casazza contributed six points to the Hornets cause, while Pat Hart chipped in with five. McConnell (3 pts), Kyle Carney (2 pts) and Gus Martin (1 pt) rounded out the Hornets scoring.
Score by Quarters...
HON (7-0) 15 16 8 9 - 48
ESS (3-1) 11 4 9 11 - 35