(caption) Susquehanna's Mason Deakin (10) looks to attack the Mountain View defense in Saturday's Lackawanna League Division 4 boys' basketball championship game. Bryce Baldwin (25) and C.J. Stone (20) are also in the play for Susquehanna against Mountain View's Tyler Henke (13), Michael Fanelli (23) and Ryan Henke (24)
CARBONDALE – Susquehanna won the first division boys' basketball title in school history in the 2017-18 season.
Mountain View made sure getting a second was never easy.
With returning first-team, all-stars Bryce Baldwin and Mason Deakin leading the way in Saturday's Lackawanna League Division 4 championship game, a veteran Sabers team finally secured its title repeat with a 43-40 victory over the Eagles at Carbondale's Peter Turonis Gymnasium.
"This was hard this year," Sabers coach Lawrence Tompkins said. "Mountain View's a really good team. I kept telling our guys that everything is hard before it's easy."
The playoff was needed when both teams finished 9-3 in the division at the end of a season in which Mountain View posted a pair of one-point victories over Susquehanna. The Sabers had gone 11-1 while winning their first championship.
Baldwin scored 13 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, blocked 2 shots and hit the clinching two free throws with 5.4 seconds left.
"When we started getting into the season, we realized that teams were going to give us the best that they can give," Baldwin said. "I feel like (Saturday), we just knew that we had to fully accomplish the game plan.
"We also knew that this was the last time we get to play them so we had to come out and give it our all."
Deakin scored 8 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, making all 6 free throws, including 4 in the final 46.1 seconds. He also grabbed six rebounds, dished out five assists, made two steals and handled the team's toughest defensive assignment.
"This was definitely one of our goals to get back-to-back championships," Deakin said.
Mountain View made that into a serious challenge.
"They play really, really aggressive D and they're really good in the open court," Deakin said.
Adam Rockwell got Susquehanna off to a strong start and finished with nine points and seven rebounds. C.J. Stone scored all five of his points in the fourth quarter and also contributed five rebounds and three blocked shots.
Mikey Schermerhorn led Mountain View with 16 points, 5 assists and 4 blocked shots. Michael Fanelli added 10 points and 8 rebounds. Wyatt Brozonis made three steals.
Susquehanna missed its first six shots before Rockwell scored the team's first five points and put up seven points in 3:29 to help the Sabers to a 12-6 lead.
Tyler Henke's 3-pointer from the left corner cut that lead to 12-9 after one quarter.
The Sabers held the lead until a third quarter in which the teams were tied three times and Mountain View moved into the lead for 34 seconds.
Susquehanna began taking control early in the fourth quarter when Stone drove for a three-point play to start a 7-0 run to a 35-26 lead. Baldwin converted a rebound and Deakin hit two free throws in the streak.
Mountain View did not get closer than five again until Schermerhorn hit 3-pointers with 18.1 seconds left to make it 39-35 and 11.1 seconds left to make it 41-38.
"He's the best shooter our league has seen, especially off the dribble, in a long time," Tompkins said. "We've had good stationary shooters – I have one on my team – but off the dribble, he's a very dangerous player."
Deakin's defense, with help from his teammates, limited Schermerhorn to seven points until he hit three 3-pointers in the final 2:36.
"At the end of the game there, when you're up by eight or nine, you're really just trying to not foul; you're trying to contain," Tompkins said. "You're not playing as tight as you would normally and he got loose for two or three.
"I thought Mason played outstanding against him, but it's a team effort, too. We're trying to get out there and cover those ball screens and there's another defender we're bringing at him all the time."
Deakin hit both ends of a one-and-one in between the two Schermerhorn bombs and Baldwin added two after.
(caption) Taylor Huyck became the fifth girl in school history and the first in 10 years to reach the 1,000-point mark in basketball at Susquehanna. (Submitted Photo)
Taylor Huyck needed just 1:08 of Friday night's game to get a career milestone out of the way, then went about helping Susquehanna complete a second straight Lackawanna Division 4 girls' basketball season.
Huyck scored 15 points, including the 1,000th of her career, in a 58-24 victory over visiting Forest City.
The Lady Sabers finished 12-0 in Division 4 and 16-6 overall to also secure the top seed for the District 2-11 Class A Subregional.
Huyck hit a 3-pointer from the left wing on her first shot of the game. The junior finished the night at 1,012 for her career.
By the end of the first quarter, Huyck had seven points and the Lady Sabers were in front, 16-8.
They duplicated that effort in the second quarter for a 32-16 lead with the help of two Mackenzie Heath 3-pointers.
Susquehanna finished with nine 3-pointers. Huyck and Heath made three each, Bethany Maby had two and Mackenzie Steele had one.
Heath finished with 13 points and Steele 11. Maby had eight in her first game back from an ankle injury.
Bella Pleska made four 3-pointers and scored 16 for Forest City.
Susquehanna had already clinched its title repeat before pursuing the perfect finish last week.
Steele scored 19 points, Huyck 15 and Heath 13 in a 60-29 rout of Lackawanna Trail Feb. 11.
Mountain View defeated Montrose, 36-33, Wednesday to break a second-place tie.
The final division standings: Susquehanna 12-0, Mountain View 9-3, Montrose 8-4, Elk Lake 7-5, Forest City 3-9, Blue Ridge 2-10, Lackawanna Trail 1-11.
In boys' basketball, Susquehanna and Mountain View each were upset Feb. 12 before bouncing back Thursday to make sure Lackawanna Trail did not join a first-place tie.
The Sabers recovered from a 50-41 loss to Lackawanna Trail to defeat Forest City, 55-30.
Rockwell and Baldwin had seven points each during a 16-2 first quarter against the Foresters.
Baldwin finished with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 6 blocked shots.
Rockwell had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Deakin had 14 points, 6 assists and 4 steals.
Mountain View came back from a 39-38 loss to Forest City to defeat Montrose, 60-46.
Schermerhorn made five 3-pointers while scoring 31 points against the Meteors.
Fanelli added 12 points and Jake Andzulis had 11.
Andrew Rapisardi made three 3-pointers while scoring 13 points for Montrose, which also got 10 points from Brennan Gilhool.
The final Division 4 standings were: Susquehanna 9-3, Mountain View 9-3, Lackawanna Trail 8-4, Elk Lake 6-6, Forest City 4-8, Montrose 3-9, Blue Ridge 3-9.
Skyla Wilson is already making an impact on the University of Pennsylvania women's track and field program.
The freshman from Susquehanna was part of a 1600-meter relay team that broke the existing school record by almost four seconds Feb. 9 in the Texas Tech Shootout. Wilson ran the third leg of the team's 3:38.29 effort that was good for a second-place finish in the meet.
District 2 basketball gets underway this week.
In boys' basketball, three county teams will be playing in a Class 2A quarterfinal doubleheader at Tunkhannock Wednesday.
Fourth-seeded Mountain View (11-12) plays fifth-seeded Lackawanna Trail (10-12) in the 6pm opener.
The second game has third-seeded Susquehanna (15-8) facing sixth-seeded Elk Lake (10-12).
Blue Ridge is the eighth seed and plays at defending champion and top-seed Holy Cross (17-5) Wednesday at Dunmore at 7:30pm.
Montrose, which had already declared it would not participate in Class 3A, and Forest City, in Class 2A, each failed to qualify.
The Class 2A semifinals are Saturday.
In girls' basketball, Susquehanna (16-6) will play fourth-seeded Salem Christian (12-7) Tuesday, February 26 in a District 2-11 Class A Subregional semifinal.
A state tournament berth will be at stake. The site and time have not been announced.
Forest City did not make the subregional field, but qualified to face Susquehanna in the Feb. 28 District 2 championship game at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. That game does not have impact on state tournament qualifying.
Mountain View, Elk Lake and Blue Ridge were all scheduled to play in Tuesday's Class 2A first round where they were trying to reach Friday's quarterfinals.
Mountain View (9-13) and Elk Lake (10-12) played each other as the fourth and fifth seeds, looking to get into a game with top seed and defending champion Old Forge (17-5).
Blue Ridge (2-20) opened against Holy Cross (14-8).
In wrestling, the District 2 Tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at Hazleton Area High School.
Each of the county teams are part of the Class 2A tournament.
In swimming, the diving portion of the District 2 championships will be held Saturday morning at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com or followed on Twitter at @tomjrobinson.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.--Denny Hamlin led a trio of Joe Gibbs' Toyota's across the finish line in a marathon Daytona 500. Kyle Busch was runner-up and Eric Jones was third in a race that lasted 4 hours and 15 minutes.
"What happened here is an emotional high for all of us," said Gibbs. "It's unreal. It's an unbelievable experience. We're all shocked."
The victory Sunday honored Joe's son, J.D. Gibbs, who died last month after battling a degenerative neurological disease. He co-founded the race team with his father and signed Hamlin as a driver.
The race was marred by 12 caution and three red flag periods. Only three of the 40 cars that finished the race had not been involved in some type of wreck or accident. There were five wrecks in the final 20 laps of regulation – and only 14 cars finished on the lead lap.
Hamlin and Busch were two of the cars that were unscathed. Ross Chastain was the only other driver to avoid trouble. It was the first time since Hendrick Motorsports in 1997 that a team swept the top three spots in the Daytona 500.
"It's amazing to be here in victory lane," said Hamlin, who won the 2016 Daytona 500. "The other one was great, but now, I can let this one sink in. I'll have a terrible hangover tomorrow, but I'll enjoy this one the rest of my life."
The remaining top-10 finishers: 4. Joey Logano, 5. Michael McDowell, 6. Ty Dillon, 7. Kyle Larson, 8. Ryan Preece, 9. Jimmie Johnson, 10.Ross Chastain.
Jimmie Johnson was the highest finishing Hendrick Motorsport driver. His teammates, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, and William Byron finished 11th, 17th, and 21st, respectively.
The driver that led the most laps was Matt Dibenetto, driver of the No. 95 Toyota. He led 49 laps but was bumped from behind by Paul Menard on lap 190 that took out 14 cars. Binedetto was pushed into the outside wall, causing a domino-effect for the cars behind, leaving multiple drivers with no place to evade the incident on the inside and outside lanes.
"I don't really know what happened," said Dibenetto. "It was so sudden. I'm spinning, hitting the wall, and see cars all around me. There's really nothing you can do when that happens. The other guys are trying to win just like us."
Kyle Busch earned the Stage 1 victory, while Blaney won Stage 2.
Michael Annett led 5 times for 45 laps on the way to his first career Xfinity Series win Saturday at Daytona.
He struggled through a 2018 season that failed to produce a single top-five finish. Going into the race, his No. 1 Chevrolet team was not considered a favorite, because he had not won a race after 230 starts.
"I've spent eight years in the series, so this is amazing," said Annett. "I couldn't have done it without these guys (the crew). They've stuck with me through the hard times when everybody counts us out and wonders why I get to drive this car, and I think we showed it today. Hopefully, this is the start of something even better."
The remaining top-10 finishers: 2. Justin Allgaier, 3. Brandon Jones, 4. Ryan Sieg, 5. Austin Cindric, 6. Christopher Bell, 7. Jeff Green, 8. John Nemechek, 9. Tyler Reddick, 10. Chase Elliott.
Austin Hill managed to stay out of trouble during Friday night's Daytona Truck Series race, but had to hold off a hard charging Grant Enfinger, who came from three laps down to take second.
"We knew coming to Daytona was going to be tough," said Hill. "When we went overtime, man, I was just so scared. So much stuff was running through my head. That whole last lap my heart was pounding. I thought they were going to get to my outside and make it a drag race. I never thought in a million years I would win at Daytona."
Enfinger was involved in one of the earlier wrecks that saw only 9 of the 32 starting trucks take the checkered flag.
"We had some bad luck at the beginning," said Enfinger. "We had to fall back and regroup, but the team did a great job getting me back into it. The truck was running great at the end, but I just couldn't get to the front."
Ross Chastain was third, while Spencer Boyd and Matt Crafton rounded out the top-5 finishers.
Ryan Newman finished 14th in Sunday's Daytona 500, in his first start for Roush Fenway Racing.
While Newman is a veteran on the NASCAR circuit, he will be starting his 19th season with a new Cup Series team.
RFR is the winningest team in NASCAR history, but Newman said it's the opportunity, and not pressure, that will allow him to flourish this season.
"Obviously it's good to be in line with an organization that's got a lot of success stories, but at the same time there's no guarantee on future success," Newman told Omnisport during an interview. "As a team and an organization we have to keep our nose on the grindstone and stay focused do the things we need to be better than everyone else. That's the only way we are going to get to victory lane."
According to Newman, working with Roush Fenway doesn't equal automatic wins. He said he had a "good thing" with his previous team, Richard Childress Racing, but he won just one race (with 13 top-5 finishes) during his five years with RCR.
"The results are what you want to see because that was the reason for making the change," he continued. "I had a good thing going, I guess you could say, but that good thing wasn't good enough and I wasn't in victory lane.
"Ultimately now, it's about learning a whole new group of people and creating a new chemistry and being better than everybody else out there to get to victory lane. If you're not, it takes a little racing luck. Someone could have a misfortune, or you could be in the right place at the right time when the caution comes out, you never know. We just stay focused on what we need to do and go out and do our thing and grow together."
Racing Joke: Brad and his wife are out for a walk in the park, when she asks, "How would you describe me?"
Wife: "What does that mean?"
Brad: "Adorable, beautiful, cute, delightful, elegant, fashionable, gorgeous, and hot."
Wife: "Aw, thank you, but what about IJK?"
Brad: "I'm just kidding!"
Weekend Racing: The Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series will be racing this weekend at the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Sat, Feb 23: Xfinity Series race 2 of 33; Starting time: 2:00 pm ET; TV: FoxSports1.
Sat, Feb 23: Truck Series race 2 of 23; Starting time: 4:30 pm ET; TV: FoxSports1.
Sun, Feb 24: Cup Series race 2 of 36; Starting time: 2:00 pm ET; TV: FOX.
Racing Trivia Question: Which is the longest oval track on the NASCAR circuit?
Last Week's Question: Which Cup Series team will Daniel Suarez be driving for his year? Answer. He replaces Kurt Busch in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Ford.
Gerald Hodges is a syndicated NASCAR photojournalist and author. You may contact him by e-mail at: email@example.com.