The GNA Insider

Trojans’ season comes to a close

Article from the Citizens Voice.

BETHLEHEM — The past few years of Nanticoke Area boys basketball will not be defined by one play, nor one game, not even an entire season.

But, the final memories often turn into lasting memories, and that’s probably going to be OK with seniors Nate Kreitzer, Trahjan Krupinski, and Dylan Szychowski.

The senior trio played its final game as Trojans on Tuesday with Kreitzer scoring 29 points in a hard-fought, 70-52 loss against state championship frontrunner Bonner-Prendergast in the second round of the PIAA Class 4A playoffs.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Kreitzer, reflecting on a career that saw him be selected all-state and score well over 1,000 points. “All the runs, the practices, the summer practices and the summer games where we were dogging and we were tired out of our minds — it was all worth it at the end.”

A basketball game is sometimes a tale of two halves, and that certainly applied Tuesday night at Freedom High School.

Nanticoke Area led nearly the entire first half and went into halftime with a 33-25 lead.

“First half, we came out and we set the tone,” Kreitzer said. “We were shooting unbelievable in the first half. We were picking up defensively, too, and we were getting layups off the fast break. We were playing really well.”

Kreitzer scored 19 points in the first half, including back-to-back transition layups that gave the Trojans a 25-17 lead with toward the end of the first half.

Nanticoke Area never led by more than eight points, but the Trojans were able to keep their margin at the end of the first half thanks to 3-pointers by Kreitzer and Krupinski with a Kreitzer jumper sandwiched between them.

All the while, Bonner-Prendergast’s Division I duo of 6-foot-3 guard Isaiah Wong and 6-8 center Tariq Ingraham was held scoreless through 16 minutes.

“We were committed to Wong and not letting him shoot the ball. We were going to pinch him and it worked to perfection in the first half,” said Nanticoke Area head coach John Beggs. “Ingraham probably would have gotten some points, but he was on the bench for a while.”

Wong’s scoreless streak was snapped at the start of the third quarter, as he netted four points on a putback and layup in the first minute to make it 33-29.

Meanwhile, Nanticoke Area struggled on offense and started turning the ball over after a first half where the Trojans took good care of the basketball.

“We had three straight possessions where the guy with the ball shot the ball and that’s not our game,” Beggs said. “We like to share the basketball, make teams work. When that happened, we called timeout and addressed it. And then their pressure got to us.”

Bonner-Prendergast tied the game at 38 with 2:47 left in the third quarter on Wong’s layup-and-one.

After Nanticoke Area turned the ball over on a mishandled pass, Bonner-Prendergast took a 40-38 lead on an Ingraham putback.

Bonner-Prendergast led the rest of the game.

“Obviously, they have a lot of talent and a lot of size and they’re well coached,” Beggs said. “We were happy with where we were in the first half. We still thought we could win the ball game. We didn’t show up here to just play. It wouldn’t surprise me if they got to the final and played somebody from the west bracket.”

Bonner-Prendergast’s dagger scores came early in the fourth quarter when Tyreese Watson spotted up and made a 3-pointer from the left corner. On the next possession, Malik Edwards hit a 3 from the opposite corner to make it 52-43.

The final minutes featured slam dunks by Ingraham and Watson, as well as a thunderous, right-handed slam by Wong, who will play college basketball at Miami (Fla.).

Wong finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

“He can shoot, he can drive, he could obviously jump out of the gym,” Kreitzer said. “He’s very good and I wish him luck at Miami next year.”

Five Bonner-Prendergast players scored in double-figures, including junior Donovan Rodriguez, who scored 10 of his 16 points in the first half when Wong and Ingraham were locked down.

District 12 champion Bonner-Prendergast’s next game is in Friday’s quarterfinals against District 12 third-place team Archbishop Carroll.

Colby Butczynski scored eight points for Nanticoke Area, and Jake Krupinski and Trahjan Krupinski scored six points apiece.

Having played in the state tournament three straight years, Kreitzer’s 29 points were the most he’s ever scored in the state playoffs.

“Nate’s just a fearless guy,” Beggs said. “He plays hard against anybody. He plays hard against our freshmen in practices and he played hard against one of the best players in the country today. That’s just his mentality. He never, ever stops.”

Contact the writer:

[email protected]; 570-821-2060;

@CVBufano on Twitter

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About the Writer
Photo of EJ Gill
EJ Gill, Student Writer

My name is EJ Gill. I am a member of the Class of 2019 at Greater Nanticoke Area High School.  

I enjoy learning new things, being with friends, listening...

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Trojans’ season comes to a close