FOLLOW THE FORMULA: Trojans’ Passing, Defense Leads To Rivalry Win
HANOVER TWP. — Nanticoke Area’s recipe for success is nothing unusual.
“Nanticoke plays its best basketball,” Trojans head coach John Beggs said, “when we’re sharing the basketball, and when we’re committed on the defensive end.”
Easier said than done. However, Nanticoke Area did put it all together Tuesday night.
Nate Kreitzer, Trahjan Krupinski and Colby Butczynski each scored in double-figures for a pass-happy offense, while the Trojans’ defense held Hanover Area to a season-low point total.
The Trojans walked out of their rival’s gym with a 50-34 win in Wyoming Valley Conference boys basketball.
“The excitement in the locker room, I can’t even describe it,” said Krupinski, a senior who tallied 12 points and six rebounds. “The intensity, the way we warmed up, getting ready for this game and the way we prepared — it was really good. With the atmosphere and the crowd, the two cheering sections going back and forth, this is what high school basketball is all about.”
Nanticoke Area improved to 10-3 (5-3 WVC), looking more and more like the team that returned its entire lineup from last year’s 20-win season.
The Trojans’ main objective on defense Tuesday was limiting Hanover Area’s top scorer, junior Asad Whitehead, who’s averaging 17 points per game.
Whitehead still scored 14, but he was held to only four field goals.
“To hold them to 34 points was key,” Beggs said. “Our offense was hit and miss, but we committed to defense and that’s why we pulled out the victory.”
Hanover Area matched Nanticoke Area’s defensive intensity early, using a man defense to keep Kreitzer in check.
While Kreitzer, an all-state point guard, scored only two points in the first quarter, Krupinski had six in the first frame to give Nanticoke Area a 10-8 lead after one quarter.
The Trojans created some breathing room with a 14-1 run into the second quarter, which put them ahead 22-9.
Nanticoke Area led 24-15 at halftime, and never allowed Hanover Area back into the game, opening the third quarter by making its first three shots — a Butczynski layup followed by back-to-back Krupinski scores in the paint.
From that point forward, Nanticoke Area used long possessions to create open looks with nonstop passes and few turnovers.
“We didn’t want to stall, but we didn’t want to force anything,” Krupinski said. “We had the lead ... so we didn’t want to force anything.”
Nanticoke Area sealed the win early in the fourth quarter when Kreitzer really got going, hitting three early layups; one layup was an and-one where he made the shot despite being hit in the hand, another came on a fast-break after he stole the ball at halfcourt.
Kreitzer was the Trojans’ leading scorer with 14 points. Butczynski added 11, while sophomore Jake Krupinski scored nine with a game-high nine rebounds.
“Nanticoke-Hanover, huge rivalry,” Beggs said. “The last few games have been back and forth. We committed to defense today and that’s why we won this game.”
After Whitehead, Justin Kopko was Hanover Area’s (6-7, 4-3 WVC) No. 2 scorer with six points. The Penn State football recruit was honored before tipoff for the Hawkeyes’ senior night.
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