FACTORYVILLE — Montrose’s defensive pressure forced Lackawanna Trail into 35 turnovers and the Meteors coasted to a 70-28 win over the Lions in a Lackawanna League Division 4 boys basketball contest on Jan. 8.
The Meteors began the game by scoring the first 13 points and led, 22-9, at the end of the first quarter after Todd Lattimore, who scored a game-high 26 points, banked in a shot in the final seconds.
The Lions broke their scoreless drought when Steven Scioscia, who led Lackawanna Trail with 10 points and seven rebounds, made two free throws with 3:29 remaining in the first quarter. A 3-pointer from John Maier and a basket from Scioscia cut Trail’s deficit to eight points, but Montrose scored seven of the next nine.
“Normally, we play good defense but today I think the biggest thing was getting a lot of tipped balls and turnovers,” Montrose head coach Tim Lopez said. “We opened up with four straight (turnovers) to get up, 8-0. That was huge and it carried over to the offensive end.”
Montrose (8-2, 3-0 Div. 4) scored the first seven points of the second quarter to lead, 29-9, before Cody Stuenzi made two foul shots for Trail. The Meteors also outscored the Lions, 10-3, over the final three minutes of the quarter to take a 39-14 halftime lead.
“We wanted to focus on taking good shots,” Lopez said. “If we’re unselfish on the offensive end, we can score.”
The Meteors continued their efficient offensive attack in the third quarter, outscoring the Lions, 22-6, to lead, 61-20. Lattimore had three of his game-high nine steals during the third.
“Defensively, he’s been consistent and I think he’s finally starting to find his shot,” Lopez said. “He’s long and active on top of our (1-3-1) zone. He’s also a pretty good finisher on the offensive end and his tipped passes turned into a lot of easy points.”
Lackawanna Trail head coach Christian Sunseri credited Montrose’s aggressive defense for his team’s weak offensive output.
“They outplayed us and we turned the ball over,” Sunseri said. “I think, effort-wise, they outplayed us the entire game and their defense gave us problems.
“We’ll regroup and get ready for the next game. We always take it one game at a time. Win or lose, you enjoy it or mull over it that night and the following day, you come back and worry about the next one.”
Austin Smith contributed 13 points, six rebounds and four steals for Montrose. Travis Birchard added 11 points, two rebounds and two steals for the Meteors.
Jake Sanders scored six points and grabbed two rebounds for Lackawanna Trail.
Lackawanna Trail (2-9, 2-1 Div. 4) will host Elk Lake in a division clash at 7:15 p.m. Friday.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.