LEHMAN TWP. — Honesdale head coach Ryan Chulada admitted on Wednesday that before the season started, everyone in Class 2A picked Lake-Lehman as the team to beat.
Well, the Hornets went to Lake-Lehman and knocked off the team to beat in the semifinals of the District 2 Class 2A Duals Tournament.
Honesdale, the defending tournament champion and the No. 2 seed from the Lackawanna League, picked up six pins in the semis to roll to a 47-28 victory.
“I think coming into the year, I think (Western Wayne) coach (Dante) Terenzio will agree that I think everyone picked Lake-Lehman,” Chulada said. “They have some very, very talented freshmen coming up that are now on the varsity and have been punching out wins all season. And we’re certainly ecstatic to come out on the winning side of that because that could have gone very easily.”
Honesdale advances back to the finals where it will see Western Wayne in a rematch from last year’s final, and a rematch of a close dual won by the Wildcats last week on criteria. Lake-Lehman falls into the consolation bracket and will face Nanticoke 20:30 a.m. Saturday.
In the other Class 2A consolation match, Wyoming Area meets Scranton Prep. The Warriors lost to Honesdale, 44-27, in the quarterfinals before defeating Montrose, 39-38. Nanticoke lost to Scranton Prep in the 2A quarterfinals before defeating Berwick via criteria in the elimination round.
The Wyoming Valley Conference top-seeded Black Knights, who beat Montrose 50-24 in the quarters, couldn’t get any momentum going in the semis.
After getting a pin from 132-pounder Bob Long to start the dual, the Hornets answered with a fall of their own by Matt Davis at 138. After Lehman’s Hunter Burke won by decision at 145 giving the Black Knights a 9-6 lead, Honesdale reeled off two consecutive falls to go up 18-9.
Nick Zaboski pulled Lehman within 18-15 after a pin at 170, but again, the Hornets answered in a big way, winning by pin, tech fall, pin in the next three bouts to open up a 35-15 advantage.
Lehman closed out the dual with wins in three of the last five bouts, but it was too late.
“Lehman, I thought was gonna pack us in six weights,” Chulada said. “I think we only surrendered two pins and I couldn’t be happier with that.
“Jay (Konigus, Lehman coach) gambled a little bit bumping all his guys up and they gave up some weight to exploit some of our weakness. And it panned out a little bit at the end there because they won the last bout at 126.”
Wyoming Area pushed Honesdale to the limit in the quarters, and after Damon Barhight pinned Kenny Huber at heavyweight, the score was tied at 27-27 with three weights left, but Honesdale won the last three to advance.
The Warriors, who forfeited three matches against Honesdale and two versus Montrose, was victorious in six of 11 contested bouts against the Hornets and in five of nine contested matches against the Meteors.
“We were just looking for individual matchups to get our kids ready for the biggest tournament of the season, individual districts,” Warriors coach Jason Prokopchak said. “My kids had a great time. They wrestled free and they represented themselves very well, and the Wyoming Valley Conference as well.”
Wyoming Area fell to Scranton Prep earlier in the season, so the Warriors will be looking to avenge that setback. Winner of the consolation bouts will advance to the third-place dual at noon on Saturday at Pittston Area.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle