Mike Stower Coal & Oil and Vesuvio's both earned semifinal victories on Wednesday evening to set the stage for an all-Hazleton area championship game in the Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Commission (ESRC) summer basketball league.
Stower's cruised through the regular season undefeated and posted a 20-point semifinal round victory over Batter's Box to mark its first ever ESRC summer basketball league championship game appearance.
Meanwhile, sixth-seded Vesuvio's continued it run of upsets, as they knocked off defending league champion Ryan's Oil & Heating on Wednesday night by a final score of 50-48.
The ESRC summer basketball league championship game will take place on Friday evening at the North and Middle Ward Playground in Tamaqua with a 7:00 p.m. tipoff.
WEDNESDAY'S QUARTFINAL RESULTS
Ryan's Oil & Heating-Vesuvio's
Sixth-seeded Vesuvio's posted its second playoff upset in three days, as the Hazleton-based squad knocked off second-seed and defending league champion Ryan's Oil & Heating by a final score of 50-48.
Ryan's had a 45-40 lead with under four minutes remaining, but Vesuvio's made 10 straight free throws for the two-point victory. Trailing 45-44, Ibis Saracina drained two free throws to give Vesuvio's a 46-45 lead, which was followed by Mike DeMarco going 4-for-4 from the charity stripe to increase the lead to 50-45. Ryan's Jon Scheuer buried a three-pointer from the top of the key with two seconds remaining to trim the deficit to two, but it was too little, too late.
Mike DeMarco led Vesuvio's with 17 points and 11 rebounds. He also converted 11 of 12 free throws (including an 8-for-8 effort in the second half). Dan Maguschak added 10 points in the win.
For Ryan's (6-3), Jon Scheuer scored a game-high 22 points, including four three-pointers. With Ryan's leading 28-24 at halftime, Scheuer scored 16 of his team's 20 second-half points. League three-point leader Joe Schaeffer (who was just 1-for-7 from beyond the arc) was held to just five points.
Mike Stower Coal & Oil-Batter's Box
Top-seeded Mike Stower Coal & Oil remained undefeated on the season with a 67-47 victory over fifth-seeded Batter's Box. Stower's pulled away from an early deficit and never looked back as they led 31-23 at halftime and outscored Batter's Box 36-24 after the break. The win sets up an all- Hazleton area championship game between Mike Stower Coal & Oil and Vesuvio's.
League scoring leader Ethan Eichhorst was a one-man wrecking crew, as the former Misericordia University standout connected on 12 field goals for a playoff-high of 29 points (18 in the second half). Eichhorst also earned a "double-double" by pulling down 10 rebounds for Stower's. Damian Fritz and Brandon DeCosmo also added 10 points apiece in the winning effort.
For Batter's Box (5-5), Erick Trabal led that way with 17 points, while Aaron Mantz chipped in 14 points and four three-pointers.
Friday, July 26
(at North and Middle Ward
7:00 p.m. - #1 Mike Stower Coal & Oil (9-0) vs. #6 Vesuvio's (6-4)