Wilkes-Barre and Delaware Valley varsity boys basketball teams had very comparable records when they met on Feb. 23 in Milford.
The Wilkes-Barre Wolfpack’s advantage was that they were very fast. They were also determined and very athletic.
But the Warriors were equally determined. Not only did they have court savvy and home-court advantage, they had senior shooting guard Ronnie McManus.
On the opening play, McManus drove full-court, weaving between opposing players to put up a beautiful layup. He followed it with a 3-pointer then made a sweet feed to sophomore guard Logan Olsommer. From the Delaware Valley side, it was the Ronnie McManus show.
In the second quarter, sophomore guard Isiah Berrios hit two 3-pointers while Jake Brower, a senior guard, delivered with a monster block.
But don’t be deceived. Wilkes-Barre wasn’t standing around watching. They were putting on their own show, and at half time, the score was tied at 19-all. As the third quarter wound down, the score was 33-33.
At one point in the fourth quarter, the Wolfpack went up by 5 and it looked like the game might be slipping away from D.V.
But the Warriors would go as far as McManus could carry them. He blocked a shot then made a face at the Wilkes-Barre player who shot it and as promptly given a technical foul for taunting as the fans in the stands went ballistic. Moments later, a second technical was called on McManus, which put him out of the game.
So now what? The rest of D.V. had to pick up the slack.
Brower, D.V.’s usual scoring machine, intercepted a pass but was pushed across the line. With no foul called, he blocked a shot and passed to Berrios who made the shot. The momentum lead to a 10-point D.V. lead with 3:23 to play.
With time ticking away, Wilkes-Barre had to foul in hopes of getting the ball back, putting Brower on the free-throw line to shoot a 1+1.
He hit them both.
After a tight and hard-fought battle, the Warriors pulled out a 48-54 victory to move onto the playoffs. They will travel to Williamsport to face number one-seed this week.
McManus led D.V. with 17 points even though he didn’t play the whole game. Brower and senior forward Tyee Irving each had 12 points while Berrios scored 8 and Olsommer, 4 in what was easily the most exciting game of the year.
Keep it up, boys.