Millionaires come up just shy in loss

Williamsport nearly capped a season highlighted by dramatic comebacks with its best one yet.

The Millionaires rallied from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit with six minutes remaining in the District 2-4 Class 6A semifinals and took a one-point lead with 40 seconds remaining before Scranton fought back and defeated them 80-79 Saturday at Tunkhannock.

Williamsport was seeking its third straight finals appearance and second straight championship, but went down in valiant fashion.

Scranton (16-7) advances to the district final to face state-ranked Hazleton. Williamsport finished 13-10 and had one last chance to win in the final second but the inbounds pass was knocked away as time expired.

Marcus Simmons played a fabulous game for the Millionaires and scored 28 points, including 22 in the second half to help spark the comeback.

“Marcus did an excellent job of leading us offensively and knocking down clutch free throws,” Williamsport coach Allen Taylor said. “We made our run with Marcus, Ahmir (Ellzy), Ethan (Williams), Nassir (Jones) and Al-Tamar (Jason).”

Williams (10 points) hit a 3-pointer to give Williamsport a 77-76 lead with 40 seconds remaining but Scranton scored the next four points. Jason scored off a putback with three seconds left to make it 80-79. Two traveling violations by Scranton gave Williamsport one last shot under its basket, but Scranton played good defense to prevent a game-winning shot from being attempted.

Ellzy played an outstanding game and scored a career-high 13 points as did Jason. Williamsport outscored Scranton, 31-18 in the fourth quarter but slow starts to the game and the second half helped doom it. Scranton opened the game on a 7-0 run and the third quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 13-point lead. Ky’Ron Harbin scored a game-high 30 points for Scranton and hit the go-ahead free throws following Williams’ basket.

“We got off to a slow start both halves and had a difficult time keeping Scranton out of the lane. Their dribble-penetration created a lot of uncontested 3-point shorts and, unfortunately for us, they were knocking them down,” Taylor said. “A lack of effort on dribble-handoffs and miscommunication on defensive assingments really hurt us.”

Williamsport loses some quality seniors to graduation, but also has a solid core coming back led by players like Simmons, Williams, Jones and Ellzy.

Williamsport (79)

Ahmir Ellzy 4 4-4 13, Nassir Jones 1 2-2 4, Keith Jason 2 0-0 5, Marcus Simmons 7 10-10 28, Ethan Williams 4 0-0 10, Al-Tamar Jason 4 5-6 13, Darryl Wilson 0 0-0 0, Eric Smith 2 2-2 6, Tyler McCann 0 0-0 0, D’Angelo Strachon 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 23-24 79.

Scranton (80)

Derome White 1 0-0 2, Cameron Jordan 6 2-2 18, Isaiah Montgomery 3 5-6 11, Ky’Ron Harbin 8 13-14 30, Tyjay Ash 1 0-0 2, Robbie McAndrew 6 2-3 17. Totals 25 22-25 80.

Williamsport 13 21 14 31–79

Scranton 25 13 24 18–80

3-point goals: Williamsport 8 (Simmons 4, Williams 2, Jason 1, Ellzy 1); Scranton 8 (Jordan 4, McAndrew 3, Harbin 1).

Records: Williamsport (13-10), Scranton (16-7).