Ian Langendoerfer and Nick Casazza paced the Red & Black to a rout of Wilkes Barre Coughlin
Veteran boys basketball coach Tim Wood admitted that he wanted his team to make a statement in Tuesday night's game.
Much to the delight of a big Red Palace crowd, Honesdale dominated Wilkes Barre Coughlin in its opening game of the District Two tournament.
The Hornets outscored the Crusaders in every quarter, riding stellar performances by Ian Langendoerfer and Nick Casazza to an impressive 59-35 victory.
"When you're an upper seed and you have a home game, you really want to go out and take control of things right from the start," Coach Wood said.
"I was very pleased with our intensity, especially on defense and on the boards. This is a veteran, senior-laden team and they showed a lot of poise tonight."
With this win, Honesdale advances to the district quarterfinals and a date with Nanticoke. The Trojans moved on via a 45-32 decision over Berwick.
That contest is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Lackawanna College.
The Hornets wasted no time taking control of Tuesday's game against Coughlin.
Langendoerfer ignited the first run, slashing his way to three early baskets while Honesdale's defense suffocated the Crusaders.
In fact, the visitors' lone first quarter highlight was Jose Rivera's desperation buzzer-beater from just beyond halfcourt.
Adam Kelly cranked up the offense in the second stanza. The junior guard scored seven of his 13 points in the period, including a deep trey from the right wing.
When Kelly and Gus Martin hit back-to-back fastbreak lay-ups, Honesdale had a 21-7 lead. All Coughlin Coach Mike Day could do was call timeout in hopes of stemming the tide.
To his credit, the ploy worked. After the Hornets pushed their advantage to 25-9, the Crusaders went on a 10-0 run to close out the half.
"We lost our focus a little bit and really didn't play very well," Coach Wood conceded. "But, we talked it out, made a couple of adjustments and got back on track."
Casazza led the charge after intermission.
Nick erupted for seven points in the quarter, including a long-distance trey that pushed Honesdale's lead back to double digits.
Langendoerfer also knocked down a three-pointer and began asserting himself on the glass. By the time the night was out, Ian would post yet another double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
"Ian has been battling illness and injury for a couple of weeks now," Coach Wood said. "But, he toughed it out and gave us a very good game."
The Hornets carried a 42-27 lead into the fourth quarter and that's when their depth began taking its toll on Coughlin.
Gus Martin contributed key plays down the stretch, closing out his night with nine points, five rebounds and three steals.
"Gus has that football mentality out there," Coach Wood said. "He gives us some toughness in the paint. Honestly, I think pound-for-pound and inch-for-inch, Gus is the best all-round inside player in our league."
Casazza added another trey and two free throws in the final stanza. Nick wound up with 14 points, three assists and three steals.
Pat Hart also earned high marks from his mentor, notching six points and hauling down four rebounds.
"When Pat stays within himself, he's a terrific player," said Coach Wood. "He's a veteran kid and a hard worker. Pat does a little bit of everything when he's out there."
Josh LoBasso, Alex Evanitsky, Don McGinnis and Karl Surge entered the fray and gave Honesdale quality minutes as well.
Over & Out
The Hornets simply overwhelmned Coughlin in the second half, outscoring the Crusaders by a margin of 34-16.
And, they were particularly tough on the perimeter.
The visitors came into this contest averaging more than six made treys per contest. However, Honesdale held them to a miserable 4-of-17 from beyond the arc.
"They're a pretty good team and they love to shoot the threes," Coach Wood said. "Shutting them down from the outside was one of the real keys to winning this game."
Rivera proved to be Coughlin's only consistent weapon. The junior guard drained a pair of trifectas and finished up with 14 points.
Score by Quarters...
HON (17-6) 12 13 17 17 - 59
WBC (8-15) 7 12 8 8 - 35