EXETER — For Meyers, the degree of difficulty had gone up.
After finishing off a fourth straight undefeated Wyoming Valley Conference season, the Mohawks learned they would enter the District 2 playoffs without talented starter Tyriek Steward.
And Saturday’s quarterfinal against Wyoming Seminary was going to be their first real test without him.
So far, so good.
Top-seeded Meyers had four starters finish in double figures – including Steward’s replacement, Dominic Pittman – as the Mohawks took down the Blue Knights 64-43 in a Class 2A tournament game at Wyoming Area.
Up next for top-seeded Meyers (22-2) is a date with fourth-seeded Mid Valley (22-4) in the district semifinals on Wednesday. A win there would wrap up a trip to states for the third straight season.
Pittman (12 points) knocked down two early threes to help set the tone on Saturday.
“He can play,” Meyers coach Pat Toole said. “We expected that. He’s a kid that’s gonna make teams pay that try to gimmick us because he can knock down the outside shot. And he rebounds the basketball pretty well, too.
“It’s just getting him to feel a little bit more comfortable with the other guys in there, and then I think we’ll be OK.”
Meyers looked plenty comfortable in this one, leading the ninth-seeded Blue Knights (14-8) from wire-to-wire.
Toole said he was pleased with how his players have responded to Steward’s injury, which will likely keep him out the rest of the way.
“It’s a challenge,” Toole said. “And they know you can’t replace a kid who has Tyriek’s athleticism. But different kids bring different things to the game. Dominic can shoot the three better than Tyriek can, so we gotta learn to take advantage of that.
“But it still comes down to our two seniors. They have to, every game, step up offensively and defensively for us.”
That would be team captains Ryan Krawczeniuk and Rasheed Moore, both of whom did exactly that on Saturday.
The seniors scored 19 points apiece with Moore taking control in the paint and Krawczeniuk scoring from all over while also finding open teammates with pinpoint passes.
Seminary withstood the Mohawks’ opening charge, falling behind by 12 in the first quarter before pulling within 21-18 midway through the second.
That was as close as the Knights got.
A 12-2 run by Meyers closed out the half as the Mohawks took a 33-19 lead into the locker room. On the other side of the break, Meyers went on another 12-2 run to put the game away.
“I thought it was more a case of them beating us than us playing really poorly,” Seminary coach C.J. Kersey said. “I give Meyers credit – they made a nice run right at the end of the half to regain momentum, and that’s what good basketball teams do.”
: Jason Ellis 4 0-0 8, E.J. Flippen 8 4-6 20, Brad Sedor 0 0-0 0, Zach Wise 0 0-0 0, Seth Callahan 6 2-4 15, Alex Barillo 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 6-10 43.
: Matt DeMarco 5 1-1 13, Ryan Krawczeniuk 6 4-7 19, C.J. Szafran 0 1-2 1, Rasheed Moore 8 2-4 19, Dominic Pittman 3 4-4 12, Michael Kendra 0 0-0 0, Tyler Smallcomb 0 0-0 0, Anthony Havard 0 0-0 0, Andrew Davidson 0 0-0 0, Ryan Wasley 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 12-18 64.
— WS 1 (Callahan); MEY 8 (Krawczeniuk 3, DeMarco 2, Pittman 2, Moore)