PLYMOUTH — As it so often happens in high school basketball, the first quarter sets the tone for the rest of the game.
In Lake-Lehman’s case, it put them on the bottom of a steep hill it was never able to climb.
The Black Knights never overcame their first-quarter troubles Friday in the District 2 Class 3A high school boys basketball quarterfinals. Crestwood sprinted to an early lead en route to a 56-44 victory over Lake-Lehman at Wyoming Valley West High School.
“This is the playoffs,” Crestwood coach Mark Atherton said. “At this point in time, there’s a lot of stuff you could look at during film. Ultimately, it’s a win and you advance to the next game.”
Crestwood will face GAR in the semifinal round on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined. The Comets and Grenadiers did not face each other in the regular season.
In the first quarter, the Black Knights were outscored 15-7 and never came to within a possession of the lead afterwards. Crestwood kept Lake-Lehman scoreless for the final four minutes of the first to build up its lead. The Black Knights committed nine turnovers in the first half alone.
“First half, it was a shame,” Lake-Lehman coach Brian Cutter said. “We started out with a little bit of nerves there. We were down nine at halftime, and that’s hard to come back from. We got straightened out and the kids found their ground in the third and fourth quarters.”
Lake-Lehman big man Pete Borum rejuvenated the Black Knights crowd with an emphatic dunk off an Adam Dizban steal to put his team behind 31-27 with 6:11 remaining in the third quarter. Borum finished with a game-high 17 points.
“Obviously, he posts a lot of problems inside for us,” Atherton said. “And I thought they were pretty aggressive in their zone and they did a nice job. We didn’t hit some shots too, and we didn’t get the ball into the middle of their zone.”
Crestwood went on an 8-2 run that was stopped by a Dizban three-point play. The Black Knights held the Comets to eight points in the third quarter.
The Comets’ Mike Fazzini put the dagger in the Black Knights with 2:29 remaining. Owning a five-point lead, Cole Wasco found Fazzini unchecked in the corner on an inbounds play. Fazzini drained the three-pointer to give the Comets’ a 49-41 lead.
Brian Markowski then forced a turnover and chipped in a layup to push the Crestwood lead to double digits.
“I like our weak side help throughout the game,” Atherton said. “I thought Fazzini had a huge shot in the corner. That was huge.”
Lake-Lehman committed six turnovers in the fourth quarter and Crestwood made 6-of-8 free throws in the last frame.
“Our foul shots were very important too,” Atherton said. “We struggled in the first half but we were solid from the line down the stretch.”
Markowski led the Comets with 16 points. Fazzini added 13, and Brady Gallagher reached double-digits with 10.
Dizban punched in 15 points for the Black Knights.
The Comets will have to deal with another big center in GAR’s Christian Skrepenak. Atherton said that the quarterfinal matchup with Borum will prepare them for the Grenadiers’ big men.
“We’re going to go up against a similar player in Skrepenak,” he said. “He’s a big guy. But they’ll couple that with another 6-4 guy (Isaiah Francis) in the paint. You know what? They pose a problem for everybody. We’re going to just play our style, play our defense and hope they don’t get layups. The big thing with GAR is they cause turnovers.”
The Grenadiers defeated the Comets twice last season.
: Brady Gallagher 3 2-2 10, Cole Wasco 2 3-4 9, Brian Markowski 7 2-3 16, Steve Roberts 3 1-2 8, Chris Fazzini 5 3-4 13, Mike Symeon 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 11-16 56.
: Jared James 3 3-4 9, Adam Dizbon 5 1-1 15, Cody Paraschak 1 1-2 3, Vinnie Williamson 0 0-0 0, Pete Borum 8 1-4 17. Totals: 17 6-11 44.
— CRE 5 (Gallagher 2, Wasco 2, Roberts); LL 4 (Dizbon 4)