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HomeSports ( January 12, 2022 )

Raiders, Lady Warriors Start Out 2-0, Take Early Division 4 Basketball Leads

By Tom Robinson

The Blue Ridge boys and Elk Lake girls became the first two teams to get to 2-0 in Division 4 when Lackawanna League basketball got underway last week.

The two teams also have the best overall records among Susquehanna County teams going into this week's action.

Blue Ridge went 3-0 overall on the week to improve to 6-3.

The Raiders routed host Montrose, 66-26; edged defending champion Elk Lake, 51-49; and topped Susquehanna, 57-53, in a non-league game.

Connor Cranage scored 23 points and Carson Gallagher added 18 against Montrose in the Jan. 3 game.

Blue Ridge ended the Lackawanna League's longest boys winning streak Thursday, stopping Elk Lake at 15 games, dating back to the 2019-20 season.

Cranage again led the way with 15 points for the Raiders, who held off the Warriors in the fourth quarter.

Susquehanna and Blue Ridge met Saturday for a non-league game that was added after their meeting at the Susquehanna County Christmas Tournament was canceled.

Cranage scored 19 points and Dylan Bradley had 17 in the win.

Bradley had three of his four 3-pointers in the first quarter when the Raiders took a 19-10 lead.

The Sabers recovered to take a 49-48 lead midway through the fourth quarter before Blue Ridge pulled out the win.

Colton Stone had 13 of his 15 points in the second half to lead the Sabers.

Spencer Beamer (14) and Craig Slocum (12) also scored in double figures for Susquehanna.

The Elk Lake girls also added a non-league win to make it 3-0 for the week.

The Lady Warriors (6-2) have won four straight.

Elk Lake defeated Forest City, 40-21; Scranton, 47-45; and Blue Ridge, 46-24.

Krista Jones had 16 points against Forest City, which was led by Emily Matushek's eight points in the Jan. 4 game.

Delaney Curley's layup at the buzzer lifted Elk Lake to the win in the non-league road game at Scranton, a Class 6A school.

Jones hit five 3-pointers while scoring 30 points against Scranton Wednesday, then had 15 against Blue Ridge Friday.

WEEK IN REVIEW

The Susquehanna boys' and girls' teams each won Division 4 basketball openers.

The Sabers defeated visiting Lackawanna Trail, 36-29, Jan. 3.

Susquehanna held Lackawanna Trail scoreless for more than 4½ minutes to begin the fourth quarter, then held off a comeback in which Lackawanna Trail scored six straight to get within, 33-27.

J.T. Burke scored 13 points and Colton Stone added 12 for the Sabers.

The Lady Sabers defeated Mountain View, 44-25, Friday.

Megan Kiernan (14), Mackenzie Decker (12) and Megan Decker (10) all scored in double figures in the win.

Leah Evans led Mountain View with seven points.

The Elk Lake boys and Montrose girls had the other wins in Division 4.

Matt Mowry scored 21 points for Elk Lake in a 56-32 victory over Forest City in the division opener.

The Warriors recovered from their loss at Blue Ridge to win a non-league game over Lakeland, 66-54, Saturday.

Mowry scored 23 points and Caden Ramey had 20.

The Montrose girls ripped Blue Ridge, 60-14, Jan. 4.

Mia Snyder scored 19 points to lead four players in double figures.

Paley Adams and Tangi Smith had 12 points each while Aspen Smith had 11.

Abigail Laude led Blue Ridge with seven points.

In wrestling, Montrose finished sixth and Elk Lake was eighth out of 13 teams Saturday in the South Williamsport Tournament.

Montrose's Dylan Geertgens won the 132-pound title with a 5-4 decision over South Williamsport's Sam Persun.

John Tyler from Elk Lake (189) and Larissa Taylor from Montrose (106) finished second.

COLLEGE CORNER

At 5-foot-5, junior guard Bethany Maby is pulling down 5.5 rebounds per game for the Marywood University women's basketball team.

Maby matched her scoring high Wednesday, hitting eight points for the third time this season during a 62-57 overtime loss to Immaculata.

The Susquehanna graduate has started every game for the Pacers (5-7).

Maby is averaging 4.9 points, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steals. She is shooting 23.5 percent from the floor, 24.4 percent on 3-pointers and 55.6 percent from the line.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Susquehanna, which is 1-0 in the division, hosts defending Lackawanna League Division 4 champion Elk Lake Thursday.

The Sabers then play at Blue Ridge, which at 2-0 was the only team that Sabers trailed at the start of this week, in a Monday, January 17 game.

In girls' basketball, Elk Lake started the week in the lead, but was facing defending champion Montrose Tuesday before hosting Susquehanna Friday.

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.

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Athlete of the Month

By Tom Robinson

Surrounded by a deeper team, Connor Cranage feels less need to score during his second season of high school basketball.

Cranage, however, has still scored the most points – and the most important points – during Blue Ridge's emergence as a boys' basketball contender early this season.

That production led to Cranage being selected as the Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month for December.

During the opening month of the season, Cranage increased his scoring average slightly from a freshman season in which he was a first-team Lackawanna League Division 4 all-star selection by NEPABasketball.com.

Cranage averaged more than 15 points per game, including the two biggest baskets during the team's 3-3 start. At 5-foot-10, he made his way to offensive rebounds and putbacks that beat the buzzer to force overtime, then win it there when Blue Ridge knocked off Old Forge, last season's Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 2A state semifinalist.

"Old Forge was playing a good game," Cranage said. "They were playing aggressive and we had to adjust a little bit, move the ball around a little bit more and take better shots.

"At the end of the fourth quarter, I got the ball off a rebound, put it up and we were tied to go to overtime.

"In overtime, it was mainly free throws and going back and forth."

Old Forge went ahead late, but Cranage made sure the Raiders came right back.

"We in-bounded it, I drove and kicked to the corner to one of my teammates," he said. "He shot it and I just went and got it, put it up and the buzzer went off and we won."

Cranage tries to pick his spots to hit the boards.

"I have to be a little more patient and be smart against taller kids," he said.

The surprising and timely rebounds are just one part of Cranage's game.

The added depth has led to adjustments.

"My role is more of being a leader," Cranage said. "I'm not as much of a scorer.

"…It's been really exciting. We're bonding as a team. We're just learning to trust each other more."

Cranage, who began playing in the BRBC in kindergarten, travels to Scranton for AAU and additional training outside the high school season.

The sophomore has made an impact across three sports early in his high school career.

Cranage started as a freshman middle hitter on Blue Ridge's volleyball team in the spring. After not playing as a freshman, he became the starting middle defender on the soccer team during the fall.

Connor is from Great Bend and is the son of Ron Cranage and Andrea Quezada.

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