Balanced effort fuels Lackawanna Trail’s win over Blue Ridge in boys hoops

By Robert Tomkavage -

CLINTON TWP. — Lackawanna Trail overcame a sluggish start to defeat Blue Ridge, 59-49, in a Lackawanna League Division 4 boys basketball game Feb. 6.

Lions junior forward Zach Stec scored eight of his 14 points in the second quarter to help Trail take a 25-21 halftime lead.

“We were playing aggressive and going to the basket,” Stec said. “Shots were finally falling and it sparked the offense a little bit.”

Two of Stec’s second-quarter baskets came off assists from Shawn Jones on set plays.

“Our last two league games, we really struggled to score,” Lackawanna Trail head coach Christian Sunseri said. “We’ve been anxious to take the first shot we see. Once we got in a rhythm and ran our sets, we took the shot we wanted as opposed to the first one. We started to see the ball go through the hoop and that helped their confidence.”

Blue Ridge’s Kaleb Folk scored five of his team-high 13 points in the first quarter when the Red Raiders took a 9-7 lead.

When starting guard Griffin Holmes went to the bench with two fouls late in the first quarter, senior Tim Cole came off the bench and made some key contributions, including hitting a 3-pointer to give the Lions an 18-15 lead. Cole finished with five points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal.

“He has always worked hard, even in practice,” Sunseri said. “He’s a guy that is willing to do the little things. He was in the right place at the right time and got after some rebounds.”

Josh Rzucidlo, who led the Lions with 16 points, five assists and three steals, scored seven in the third quarter when Trail stretched its lead to 10 points.

“We got into our press and each steal got us more hyped,” Rzucidlo said.

Zac Cost also scored six of his 11 points and added an assist in the third quarter for Lackawanna Trail (4-15, 1-2 Div. 2).

“We’ve been preaching that everybody has to be aggressive and ready to chip in,” Sunseri said. “Everybody has to be a threat to score and everybody has to work on defense. I think if we all chip in on both ends of the floor, we can be successful and we did that tonight.”

Sunseri was also impressed with his team’s ability to force Blue Ridge (2-17, 0-4 Div. 4) into turnovers and difficult shots.

“We’re trying to change (our defense) up every once in a while in a game,” he said. “We played a little man-to-man, some 2-3, and we pressed a little bit. We don’t want teams to get in a rhythm, offensively. We’re trying to keep teams on their toes and hopefully get some turnovers and easy shots.”

By Robert Tomkavage

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.