ORWIGSBURG — When Mason Barnes is on his game, he looks unstoppable.

Monday, he had another one of those nights.

The junior guard posted a game-high 22 points and added seven rebounds and six assists to lead Pottsville to a 53-43 win over Bangor in a District 11 Class 5A semifinal at Blue Mountain.

The victory guarantees the Crimson Tide (22-3) a spot in the PIAA state playoffs after missing the tournament last season.

“(Barnes) is just really good, so we want him to be great all the time because that’s what he can do,” Pottsville head coach Dave Mullaney said. “He’s always really, really productive for us and he showed that today.”

Ben Holland tallied a team-high 21 points for the Slaters (17-9), whose season came to a disappointing end after losing in the Colonial League championship nine days earlier.

Pottsville took the lead with a 6-0 run out of the gate, and Bangor could never establish a lead of its own.

The Slaters did knot the game at 27 apiece midway through the third quarter, but Barnes and the Crimson Tide turned on the jets and scored the next 12 points, taking a 39-27 lead into the final period that proved insurmountable.

“Offensively we just wanted them to play a little bit more and

have a little bit more freedom, but our guys have made runs like that all year,” Mullaney said. “I was really happy with the way we started attacking.”

Barnes assisted on a Riley Stanton 3-pointer and a Zak Tobin bucket before nailing a 3-pointer of his own to spark that third-quarter tear.

Bangor managed to cut the Crimson Tide’s lead to seven after Holland hit two 3s from the right wing and Noah Berger followed with a trey from the left wing at the fourth quarter’s 5:29 mark.

Once again, thanks to Barnes and Pottsville’s relentless offense, the Slaters wouldn’t get closer.

Barnes scored the Crimson Tide’s first six points of the fourth quarter to keep the Slaters from catching up. As Bangor failed to score for almost three minutes, Pottsville extended its lead again to 50-36 with 2:53 left.

“With a lot of stuff going on with us right now I had to step up, get the teammates involved, keep the momentum when we had to,” Barnes said. “It all started at the defensive end, getting stops.”

The win comes amid a hazing investigation involving Pottsville’s leading scorer, Kevin Schenk. The 6-5 center missed the Schuylkill League playoffs and there’s no word on if and when he might return.

Tobin has provided solid play getting the start in his place, scoring 12 hard-earned points in the victory over Bangor.

The senior pulled down eight rebounds and turned several steals into points. After his first steal midway through the first period, Tobin hit a 3-pointer. He then turned an interception into a dunk early in the second quarter and his third steal into a pair of free throws near the end of he third.

Bangor lost 12 turnovers compared to Pottsville’s seven, and shot 14-of-38 from the floor (37 percent) while the Crimson Tide shot 16-of-38 (42 percent).

“I’d like to know how they get them to play defense like that because they play terrific defense,” Bangor head coach Bron Holland said of Pottsville. “It’s phenomenal defense. ... The difference was we just had those two or three mistakes, whether we weren’t moving the ball, jumping the ball, executing, taking a play off, and (Pottsville) didn’t.

“On those two or three mistakes, they capitalized every time, and it goes from a one- or two- point game to a seven-point game. It’s just so hard to score on them because they make you work for everything.”

Pottsville won’t get a chance to play Blue Mountain for the fourth time this season. The Eagles lost their semifinal game to Southern Lehigh 72-65 in overtime Monday.

The Crimson Tide and Spartans will meet for the district championship Thursday at a site and time to be announced.

“It’s a great feeling because of the group of kids that we have and they’re so fun to be around and you just don’t want it to end,” Mullaney said. “Of course we want to win the championship, but just being around them, I know we’ll be around for a couple more weeks, so that’s a great feeling.”


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Game Summary

District 11 Class 5A Semifinal At Blue Mountain

BANGOR (43) — Colon 0 0-0 0, Farensbach 0 0-0 0, Miles 2 2-4 6, Zieba 1 1-2 3, Berger 4 0-0 10, Taylor 0 0-0 0, Owens 1 0-0 3, Holland 6 5-7 21. Totals 14 8-13 43.

POTTSVILLE (53) — Sherakas 1 1-1 3, Barnes 6 7-8 22, R. Stanton 2 0-0 6, Salata 1 0-0 2, A. Stanton 1 1-5 4, Tobin 4 4-6 12, Hahner 1 2-4 4. Totals 16 15-24 53.

Bangor (17-9) 5 14 8 16 — 43 Potts (22-3) 11 15 13 14 — 53

3-point FGs: Berger 2, Owens, Holland 4, Sherakas, Barnes 3, R. Stanton 2, A. Stanton