WILKES-BARRE — The streak is over, extinguished at 64 games during a sometimes frantic 32 minutes of basketball Friday night at Holy Redeemer High School.
Redeemer built a third-quarter lead as high as 15 points, then held on to defeat Meyers 63-55 in a Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball interdivisional game. The losses ended Meyers’ WVC regular-season winning streak.
The Mohawks’ last setback during WVC play was 52-46 to GAR on Jan. 30, 2009.
“I don’t know if it was the streak as much as being undefeated in the league,” Meyers coach Pat Toole said of the pressure on this group of Mohawks. Only two started on last season’s team. “The goal was obviously to win the conference and get the best spot we can get in the district seedings. But now we have to regroup here and get ready for next week.”
Redeemer (7-2 Div. I, 10-8 overall) led for good when Brian Banas hit a three-pointer with 5:52 left in the first quarter. Meyers, though, was always within striking distance until the Royals began to ease away in the third.
Redeemer’s Mike Boutanos turned the final two minutes of the third into a personal highlight reel. The senior guard made a runner in the lane and followed by dishing off to John Kane inside. He then nailed a three-pointer and dribbled out of trouble for an outside jumper, increasing the lead to 52-37.
“They were pressuring me a lot so I knew I could go right by them,” Boutanos said. “I was just fortunate to make some shots to get my confidence up.”
Meyers finished off the quarter with an inside basket from Ryan Wasley, but the momentum needle was clearly pointing at the Royals. Or so it seemed until Meyers standout Tyriek Steward turned the tide.
Steward led an 9-0 run to start the fourth as Redeemer didn’t look like the same team to start the final eight minutes. He sank a pair of free throws with 5:22 remaining, moving the Mohawks (8-1 Div. III, 12-6) within 52-48.
“We play kind of not to lose sometimes,” Boutanos said. “They were pressuring me and we didn’t want a quick score so that’s why. We kind of snuck it out.”
Banas hit Redeemer’s only field goal of the fourth, but it was huge. His three-pointer from the left side stopped Meyers’ 9-0 run and snapped the Royals out of their stupor. Meyers was able to cut the deficit to five with about two minutes left, but Redeemer sealed the game with five free throws down the stretch.
“That’s why I tried to burn a couple of those timeouts early on,” Redeemer coach Paul Guido said. “I think sometimes they want to coach the game themselves and I’m trying to get them to just play. They were almost ready to put the brakes on and milk the clock. I was telling them ‘It’s too early. We still want to attack a little bit.’
“That’s something we’ve been working on, our little spread or delay game for the end of the game. They wanted to put it in action a little too early for my liking.”
Banas paced Redeemer with 21 points followed by Boutanos with 16 and Darius Washington with 13. Steward had 23 for Meyers, including 19 of his team’s 34 points in the second half.
Redeemer won for the eighth time in its last 10 games.
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Holy Redeemer 63, Meyers 55
MEYERS (55) — Shahee Aurelus 2 0-0 5, Tyon Thomas 3 0-0 7, Matt DeMarco 3 2-2 9, Tyriek Steward 7 9-12 23, Ryan Wasley 2 1-2 5, 2 1-2 5, Curtis Blue 2 0-0 4, Dominic Pittman 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 12-16 55.
HOLY REDEEMER (63) — Mike Boutanos 6 2-3 16, John Kane 2 0-1 4, Darius Washington 3 5-6 13, Brian Banas 5 7-8 21, Mike Prociak 1 0-2 2, Justin Renfer 1 0-0 2, Len Radziak 1 2-2 5, Jerry Busch 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 16-22 63.
Three-point field goals: MEY 3 (Aurelus, Thomas, DeMarco); HR 9 (Boutanos 2, Radziak, Washington 2, Banas 4).