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Williamsport boys fall to Scranton in District 2-4 Class 6A championship game

WILKES-BARRE — As Scranton players were celebrating and walking to the far end of the court for a group photos with their gold medals and District 2-4 Class 6A championship trophy inside Mohegan Sun Arena, Williamsport’s Zach Lake simply stood on the court staring at the celebration near Williamsport’s bench.

He was the last Millionaire to walk toward the locker room at Mohegan Sun Arena, simply taking in the scene of what could have been.

The frustration and disappointment could be felt from Lake and the rest of Williamsport’s players slowly walking toward the locker room. The Millionaires had their chances in the fourth quarter and had the game within reach only to see it slip away.

Coach Allen Taylor stood in the walkway outside the locker room, occasionally glancing at the court almost imagining how things could have played out differently.

Williamsport made it an exciting game in the fourth quarter, but ultimately fell to Scranton in the District 2-4 Class 6A championship game at Mohegan Sun, 47-42, on Saturday night. The Millionaires (18-6) kept the game close throughout the fourth quarter, twice cutting the deficit down to two points and once to three points in the final four minutes.

“That was pretty much it. Forcing turnovers, had some scoring opportunities and just couldn’t take advantage of them,” Taylor said. “I don’t think it should have come down to those missed shots, truth be told. It just should not have come to that. It’s very frustrating. It’s just frustrating.”

Williamsport’s offense struggled in the second quarter. After leading by seven points with 67 seconds to play in the first quarter, Scranton (21-2) proceeded to go on a 10-0 run between quarters to take the lead it wouldn’t yield. The Knights went ahead when AJ Dinterman hit a 3-pointer with 5:29 left until halftime, 15-14. Scranton held a 23-16 lead going into the half.

“We just got to play through the contact. What else could I tell them? Play through the contact,” Taylor said as to what he told the team at halftime.

Williamsport’s only basket in the second quarter came when JJ Beagle hit a jumper with 3:54 to play to cut the deficit to 17-16 and snapped Scranton’s 10-0 run. The Knights would lead by as many as 11 points in the third quarter and twice led by nine, but Williamsport kept battling in the second half.

Xavier Taylor and Kenon Brown scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, to lead the Millionaires and Beagle had six points, six rebounds, an assist and steal. Williamsport held a 20-14 advantage in rebounding, and only allowed Scranton to grab two offensive rebounds.

“Those guys, they played hard. Xavier’s good defensive player with all the hustling for us for all his high school years. I was happy he was able to go out there and get us off to a good start, he scored first five points for us. Defense you never question, he’s always gonna put it out there,” Allen Taylor said. “It’s tough to see seniors go out the way we’re going out. The only thing you can ask your kids to do is compete and give their best effort and I thought we competed. We didn’t always make smart plays, but it’s frustrating.”

In the fourth quarter Williamsport used a fast scoring spurt over the course of 23 seconds to score six points and trail by just two, 38-36, forcing Scranton to call a timeout. The Knights responded with a layup to go ahead by four, before Williamsport cut it back to two, 40-38, with 2:40 to play.

It seemed anytime Williamsport cut it and seemed to start to shift momentum, Scranton answered right back. After Lake hit the first of a 1-and-1 free throw, Williamsport trailed by just three points, 42-39. The Millionaires had opportunities and possessions after those free throws, but had a handful of missed opportunities as Scranton sealed it.

“We expected what happened, to be honest, with the exception of the outcome,” Taylor said in regards to what he expected from Scranton. “I thought we’d be able to play through it and we would be a little bit more efficient offensively, but like I said, it’s kind of difficult playing through contact.”

Justin Shields scored 17 points to lead Scranton and Arvel Chandler added 10.

“He’s a pretty good player,” Taylor said of Shields.

WILLIAMSPORT (42)

Kenon Brown 4 1-3 10; Jakhi Kline 1 0-0 2; George Whaley 1 1-1 3; Thomas Takach 1 0-0 3; Zach Lake 1 1-2 3; Xavier Taylor 5 0-0 12; Elijah Frierson 1 1-5 3; JJ Beagle 3 0-0 6; Claeb Fausnaught 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 4-11 42.

SCRANTON (47)

Jason Shields 6 5-7 17; Arvel Chandler 4 1-2 10; Paul Gammaitoni 0 0-0 0; AJ Dinterman 2 0-0 5; Dillon Lazdowski 3 0-0 7; Joshua Williams 3 0-0 6. Totals 18 6-9 47.

Williamsport 14 2 9 15 — 42

Scranton 9 14 11 13 — 47

3-point goals: Williamsport 3 (Taylor 2, Brown 1), Scranton 3 (Lazdowski 1, Dinterman 1, Chandler 1).

Records: Williamsport (18-6), Scranton (21-2).

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