Close games highlight league finals
All four leagues in District 11 held their basketball championships on Friday night.
Capturing boys titles were Pottsville, Pocono Mountain West, Saucon Valley and Bethlehem Liberty.
Allentown Central Catholic won the only girls title game that didn't involve a TIMES NEWS area team.
Pottsville captured its second straight Schuylkill League championship by holding off Pine Grove 51-49 at Martz Hall.
The Crimson Tide (23-1), the Division I champion, scored its third victory of the season over the Cardinals (20-4), the Division I wild card team.
With Pottsville holding a slim 50-48 lead, Pine Grove had a chance to draw even in the closing seconds. Brady Burke hit 1-of-2 free throws, but the Tide's Nick Schlizter got the rebound and hit a clinching free throw with 1.3 seconds left.
Schlitzer had a double-double with 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Tide and Bobby Schappel added 15 points.
For Pine Grove, Kyler Burke netted 16 points while Brady Burke and Larry Zimmerman each chipped in with 11 points.
PM West-PM East
Pocono Mountain West held off a furious Pocono Mountain East rally to escape with a 56-54 victory in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game.
West held a double digit early in the fourth quarter, but the Cardinals stormed back and actually had a pair shots that could have won the game in the final seconds.
Trailing by five points with :08 left, East's Lamont Tillery was fouled on a three-point shot and and made all three free throws. The Cardinals then stole the inbounds pass near midcourt and got off two three-point shots that missed the mark before the final buzzer.
Tynell Fortune led Pocono Mountain West (20-4) with 19 points. Tyrel Dixon added 14.
For Pocono Mountain East (16-8), David Garcia led the way with 17 points.
Sacoun Valley beat Salisbury, 65-52, for the Colonial League boys title.
The No. 2 seed Panthers shot 68 percent (25 of 37) from the field, including a 6-for-6 fourth quarter. They took a seven-point lead after the first quarter and the No. 4 seed Falcons never got closer than five the rest of the way.
Saucon Valley's Eric Fans scored a game-high 21 points while pulling down nine rebounds and blocking four shots. John Clark poured in 17 points for the Panthers (19-5).
Salisbury (17-7) was led by Sean Baker and Lloyd Irons with 15 points each.
Liberty scored 41 second-half points to pull out a 56-50 victory over Nazareth in the Lehigh Valley Conference championship game.
The Hurricanes (20-4) rallied for the title despite a huge 34-point effort from the Eagles' Chuck Dibilio.
Darrun Hilliard scored a team-high 19 points, including a 10-of-12 effort from the free throw line. Patrick Donnelly also contributed 13 points. Liberty trailed at halftime, but used a 21-5 third quarter to take control of the game.
The winners also received 11 points from Izel Dickerson while Dante Holmes added seven points and 14 rebounds.
Nazareth's record is now 19-5.
Kerry Kinek almost single-handidly lifted Central Catholic to a 26-25 victory over Nazareth in the Lehigh Valley Conference championship game.
Kinek scored 18 points and collected nine rebounds for the Vikettes (21-3), who jumped out to an early 11-4 first-quarter lead.
For the Lady Eagles (19-4), Erika scored a team-high seven points. Caitlyn Gary added six points and six boards.