Men’s Basketball Back On Top
By Bryson Eldridge – Co-Managing Editor
Scranton men’s basketball completes their successful season with an 84-63 win over the No. 4 Juniata Eagles to win the Landmark Championship, the first since 2017.
Scranton began the game on a 14-4 run with hot shooting from senior guard Stephen Braunstein and inside scoring from sophomore Will McLoughlin. The Royals shared the rock and found the open man throughout the first half and extended their lead to 27-14.
The Eagles battled back and cut the lead to 29-24 behind center Chase Usted. The Royals and Eagles traded blows as the Royals went into the half up 40-33.
Danzig early second half three sparked a Royals 18-4 run that the Eagles would not survive. Braunstein delivered the dagger with five minutes remaining with a deep three coming off a freshman guard EJ Matthews Spratley chase down block.
The 1,200 people in attendance were on their feet as the buzzer in the John Long Center sounded making the Royals champions.
In the Landmark Conference semifinal game, the No. 3 Royals traveled down to Washington DC to match up with the No. 2 Catholic Cardinals, who they have not beat all season. The Royals were met by a hostile and energized Catholic crowd in warmups and throughout the game.
The Cardinals came out hot scoring seven of the first nine points before freshman duo Jon Spatola and EJ Matthews- Spratley ignited a 13-2 run with Spratley going on a 9-0 run of his own connecting on two three-pointers and converting an and-one play. This gave the Royals a 15-9 lead with 12:30 remaining in the first half. The two team traded buckets and Catholic went into halftime clinging on to a two-point lead.
The second half was like the first, as both teams traded blows with neither team being able to pull away. With 13 minutes remaining both teams were locked at 47, Danzig was able to cap off a quick 6-0 run by the Royals with a deep three pointer.
In the final two minutes the Royals kept the Cardinals scoreless from the field and forced two turnovers. On the final play, Matthews-Spratley came up with a key steal to seal the Royals win 70-63.
With this win, Coach Carl Danzig became the second head coach in program history to notch 400 wins and ranks second all-time behind legend Bob Bessoir who notched 554 wins.