Championship Weekend 2018 went off without a hitch at Lakeside
A big, enthusiastic crowd filled the stands this weekend at Lakeside Elementary to officially bring down the curtain on the 2017-18 Biddy Basketball season.
Saturday saw Junior and Senior Division teams duke it out in the playoff semi-finals, followed by Sunday's championships games and All-Star contests.
“It's been a great season,” AG Howell told a packed house following the Junior Division title tilt.
“We really appreciate all the support we get from you parents, from the school district and the community. We also want to thank the volunteers who work so hard all year. We couldn't do this without you.”
This marks the 52nd season for Biddy Basketball in Honesdale, which began back in 1965-66.
According to Commissioner Pete Goyette, more than 150 players and cheerleaders took part this season.
Championship Weekend went off without a hitch as the four remaining teams in each bracket put on an entertaining hoop show for appreciative local fans.
Today's story will focus on the Senior Division, followed by the Junior Division tomorrow.
The Blazers were first to punch their ticket to the Senior Division finals.
Coach Jamie Rutherford's squad rocketed out to a big early lead in Saturday's semifinal against the Bulls, then cruised to an eventual 29-13 victory.
The Blazers led 10-2 after one and 17-3 at halftime. To their credit, the Bulls played much better after the break, trailing the eventual champs by just 12-10 over the final two periods.
Trent Gombita paced the offensive attack. The southpaw center muscled his way to a game-high 13 points on the strength of five field goals and a 3-for-4 stint at the stripe.
Lance Peak also cracked double digits, finishing with 10. Logan Novobilski (four) and Bryce Dressler (two) rounded out the scoring.
Kage Southerton led the Bulls with eight. He was aided and abetted by Kole Fries, who tallied three, and Zach Gledhill, who chipped in with two.
Saturday's second semi-final saw the Mavericks rally from a late-game deficit to post a thrilling 25-23 win over the Hawks.
Led by the tag-team duo of Peter Modrovsky and Brayden Hall, the Hawks jetted out to an 8-6 lead after one. Modrovsky closed out the contest as his team's top scorer with eight, while Hall added six.
The Mavs erupted for 11 points in the second period to seize the momentum at intermission, 17-12.
Eliott Hocker paced a balanced Maverick assault with nine. Nate Greene and Nate Hugaboom each contributed six to the cause, while Luke Murray finished up with four.
Coach Joey Murray's squad led 23-16 a the end of the third quarter, but had to hold off a furious Hawks' rally in the waning minutes to preserve a two-point win.
These results set the stage for Sunday's exciting final between the Blazers and Mavericks.
Peak and Dressler each scored early, giving the Blazers a 4-2 lead after one quarter. However, the Mavs rallied in the second period, taking a 12-10 lead. Hugaboom showed the way and would close out the contest with a team-best eight points.
Gombita took over after intermission, though.
Trent exploded for nine points in the third. He finished up with a double-double: 18 points and 12 rebounds. Gombita also recorded five blocks.
The score see-sawed back and forth before the Blazers finally pulled away as time wound down. The final score was 28-24.
In addition to Gombita, Novobilski rattled the rims for six points, while Peak and Dressler rounded out the winners' scoring.
Hugaboom was Top Gun for the Mavs. He received support from Dickison, Hocker and Greene each tallied four. Krasniak and Murray also netted two.
Following this year's title tilt, league officials took center court to offer a brief tribute to the late Kelley Lalley.
The son of Bill Lalley, one of Biddy Basketball's founding fathers, Kelley was a volunteer coach and referee for more than three decades. Sadly, he passed away last year as the result of a tragic accident.
In his memory, the league has established an award to be given annually to the Most Valuable Player of the Senior Division championship game.
The first-ever recipient was the Blazers' Trent Gombita, who scored 18 points, grabbed 12 boards and blocked five shots.
Jamie Rutherford, a longtime Biddy official and coach, presented the inaugural award and offered a brief synopsis.
“We created an annual award in the Senior Division to be given to the Most Outstanding Player from the championship team,” Jamie said.
“This award is given to a player who displays exemplary basketball skills, along with unselfishness teamwork and hustle.
“These are qualities that were defined by Kelley Lalley. Trent Gombita is definitely a worthy recipient of the award.”