Wallenpaupack Area's boys basketball team advances to the Class 5A semifinals

Wallenpaupack Area was a very good team during the Lackawanna League boys basketball season.

The Buckhorns survived a brutal schedule and eventually emerged as Division II champions with a 9-4 record.

In recent weeks, however, Paupack appears to have taken its game to an entirely new level thanks in large part to the play of Gabe Springer.

A wildly talented junior center, Springer was slowed by injury through much of the 2018-19 campaign. Now that he’s near 100 percent, though, Springer is proving to be pretty much unstoppable.

On Tuesday night, Gabe turned in a brilliant all-round performance against archrival Honesdale in the opening round of this year’s District Two playoffs.

Springer dominated the paint at both ends of the court. He powered his way to a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Gabe also added six blocks in leading Paupack to a 61-52 victory.

“He missed a lot of time early in the year, but lately he’s been feeling better and playing lights-out,” Coach Jim McGinnis said.

“Gabe was great tonight. He rebounded, scored in the paint and blocked a bunch of shots. When Gabe plays like that, I like our chances against just about anyone.”

With this win, the Buckhorns improved their overall record to 17-6. They’ll now move on to the Class 5A semifinals and a battle with Crestwood.

The second-seeded Comets moved on via a 45-32 decision over West Scranton.

Weather permitting, this contest is scheduled for Friday at a time and venue to be determined.

Back & Forth

Paupack raced out to an early lead Tuesday night at North Pocono.

Elijah Rosenthal brought Buckhorn fans to their feet, burying a deep trey to start the game. The sharp shooting junior guard terrorized Honesdale all night long, finishing up with a 22 points.

“Elijah has come a long way when it comes to leadership,” said Coach McGinnis. “He’s making good decisions with the ball, setting up his teammates and knocking down key shots.”

Paupack opened up a 9-2 lead and appeared ready to run away with this one. But, that’s when Joey Scarfalloto burst onto the scene.

Honesdale’s junior captain rode to the rescue with a dizzying array of moves. Scarfalloto drove baseline for a sweet reverse lay-up, then stepped outside and drained a three-pointer that roused Hornet fans from their lethargy.

Joey would close out his night with a team-best 16 points on the strength of one field goal, four treys and a 2-for-4 stint at the charity stripe.

Paupack led 12-11 after one and 30-28 at halftime when freshman Jack Smith broke the tie with an acrobatic fast break lay-up at the buzzer.

Taking Control

The Buckhorns began pulling away midway through the third quarter.

Izaiah Santiago delivered two clutch treys, while Alex Pillar contributed eight points and three key assists to the cause.

And, when Springer hit a short turnaround jumper in the lane, Paupack’s lead grew to double digits at 39-28.

Once again, though, Honesdale battled back. This time it was Colin Rickard and Jimmy Rodda who led the charge.

Rickard slashed his way to 14 points on the night, including a highlight reel putback off a missed free throw. Rodda showed his versatility once again, scoring both in the paint and from beyond the arc.

“Honesdale killed us on the boards in the second half,” Coach McGinnis said. “They’re a good team. We knew they’d make a run and they did. I give our kids a ton of credit because they stayed cool and kept their poise.”

Paupack’s advantage reached double digits again in the fourth, but Honesdale rallied one last time.

Scarfalloto hit from downtown again, narrowing the deficit to just six points with 5:21 remaining.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, the combination of Springer and Rosenthal was just too much to overcome.

Gabe sealed the deal on this win with a monster two-handed dunk over Rickard, who incurred his fifth foul on the play.

With Colin relegated to the bench, Springer calmly swished his free throw and the countdown began.

Moments later, the final buzzer sounded ending Honesdale’s season and catapulting Paupack into the district semifinals.

Over & Out

Derrick Vosburg and Smith rounded out Paupack’s scoring with four and five points, respectively.

The Buckhorns put the finishing touches on this one with a 13-for-17 performance at the free throw line. In addition, Coach McGinnis’ lads forced Honesdale into 18 turnovers.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “When we’re hitting on all cylinders, we’re definitely a tough out. I like our chances and I’m anxious to see what we can do going forward.”

 

Score by Quarters...

HON (12-11) 11 17 5 19 – 52

WAL (17-6) 12 18 14 17 – 61