By PETER DiIOVANNI
TREDYFRINN -- Basketball teams have to mnake district playoff pushes right now or be on the outside of the upcoming District 1 tournament. Tuesday night, two Central League teams on the playoff bubble made their cases.
Host Conestoga got huge games from senior Joe Viviano and exciting freshman Daryl Caldwell and held Garnet Valley to just 22 points in the last three periods on a 13 for 48 shooting night to roll to a 53-39 Central League triumph.
Viviano totaled 13 points to go along with 11 rebounds and at times, dominated the glass in the decisive second half. Garnet Valley had no answere for the Pioneer big man.
"I have not been playing well the last few games," Viviano said. "Tonight, I went to the glass and played hard underneath and picked up some garbage points. One of our goals this season was to make the district playoffs and make a push once we get in and we had to win tonight to keep that alive."
Conestoga (6-8 Central, 10-9 overall) broke open a 28-24 game at halftime by outscoring the Jaguars (5-8, 7-11) 25-15 in the second half mainly by closing out on the Garnet Valley shooters and having Viviano dominate the glass. ‘Stoga played very tight man-to-man defense most of the game.
Also, some big 3-point shooting by Caldwell, Zack Yonda and Andrew Diehl opened things up for ‘Stoga in the third. After Viviano scored on a follow of a Yonda miss, it was a 33-29 lead. Aaron Parenti scored in tight for the Jaguars to make it 33-31.
But then Caldwell and Diehl hit long three-balls, and combined with 4 for 13 shooting by Garnet Valley, the Pioneers took a 41-35 lead into the final period. Conestoga put four players in double figures and Caldwell scored 10 points to go along with four assists.
"I was very happy with our defensive effort tonight," Conestoga coach Mike Troy said. "We did a good job of identifying the shooters and the kids talked to each other out there and played good team defense. Joe’s game is to go to the glass and he did that very well tonight.
"Daryl Caldwell got us going in transition and also hit some three-pointers for us. He is learning every game and he is going to be a special player for us."
Caldwell started things out in the fourth by zipping a perfect pass to Martin Dorsey for a layup and a 43-35 lead. After a Garnet Valley miss, once again Caldwell was great in the open floor, hitting Viviano in stride for a layup and the lead was 45-35 with 6:02 to play.
"My game is to run the floor and hit the wings or our bigs," Caldwell said. "We have balanced scoring and it helps because we can just run our plays and I can hit the open man."
Garnet shot just 1 for 10 and scored just four points in the final period and Viviano ended the suspense when he scored on two straight follow to give Conestoga a 49-37 adavantage with just over three minutes to play.
Austin Klenotiz led the Jaguars with 13 points and Kyle McCrossan added 11. Garnet Valley coach Mike Brown talked about the poor shooting night.
"Not to make excuses, but we have a lot of guys playing sick," Brown said. "I think we just ran out of gas. The biggest part of shooting is using your legas and we just got tired out there."
Conestoga 53, Garnet Valley 39
GARNET VALLEY: Klenotiz 5 1-1 13, McCrossan 3 2-2 11, Palis 2 2-2 6, Sweeney 0 2-2 2, Parenti 3 0-0 6, Diggory 0 1-2 1, Tienboso 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 8-9 39.
CONESTOGA:) Viviano 6 1-2 13, Yonda 4 0-0 10, Diehl 4 2-2 12, Caldwell 4 0-0 10, Dorsey 2 0-1 4, Vila 1 0-0 2, Vanderventer 1 0-0 2, Turley 0 0-0 0, Utter 0 0-0 0, Knight 0 0-0 0, Dickey 0 0-0 0, Novak 0 0-0 0, Portonovia 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 3-5 53.
Garnet Valley 17 7 11 4-39
Conestoga 17 11 13 12-533-point goals: McCrossan 3, Klenotiz 2, yonda 2, Diehl 2, Caldwell 2.