By Tom Robinson,

EAST STROUDSBURG – NEPA Elite’s four established boys basketball teams returned from a three-week break Saturday while two new squads made their debut in The Hoop Group’s Summer Warm-Up at East Stroudsburg University.

The AAU club out of Riverfront Sports in Scranton picked up three wins, including one from the younger of the new teams, on the first day of the two-day event.

A recap of Saturday’s action:

NEPA Elite 17U Coyle

Mikey Cumbo broke loose offensively while Mason Fedor and Oliver Almonte controlled the boards to help NEPA Elite win the second of its two games.

NEPA Elite defeated East Coast Power Danzig, 65-50, in the 17U Division Pool A after dropping a 68-56 decision to New Jersey Panthers HGSL in its opener.

Cumbo went 4-for-5 on 3-pointers while scoring 14 of his 18 points in the second half of the win.

Fedor added 10 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocked shots while Almonte had 9 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. They helped NEPA Elite outscore East Coast, 18-2, on second-chance points while dominating on the boards, 43-22.

NEPA Elite started slow in both its games and trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half of the victory.

Ryan Nealon hit a 3-pointer, Fedor scored on a putback and Almonte converted a left-handed shot off a spin move in the post for a 7-2 finish of the first half to get within 31-27.

Chris Ogden and Cumbo each hit 3-pointers during a 10-0 start to the second half and NEPA Elite led the rest of the way. Both went 2-for-3 from long range in the first six minutes of the half as the lead swelled to 45-35.

After the Power scored two straight baskets, Cumbo scored the next five points and did all the scoring in an 8-2 run. He had his 14 points in the first 7 minutes of the half.

“He’s still getting his feet underneath him and still getting used to the rhythm of playing with these guys,” coach Brian Coyle said.

An all-star when Dallas reached the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state semifinals in 2022, Cumbo had his high school junior season and the spring portion of this AAU season disrupted by a high ankle sprain that was not healing.

“This is only his fourth or fifth game and these guys have been together for a couple of months now,” Coyle said. “ … Today was the first day that he saw him playing without thinking; playing off instinct and in a good rhythm.”

Cumbo joined Ogden and Nealon in helping NEPA Elite shoot 7-for-13 (53.8 percent) from 3-point range in the second half.

The rebounding of Fedor and Almonte helped keep NEPA Elite in the game in the first half. A 23-14 advantage in the first 16 minutes was followed by a 20-8 rebounding lead when NEPA Elite took control in the second half.

“That’s been a focus of us all year,” Coyle said. “I thought, for the majority of the year, that we’ve done a really good job boxing out, especially when we’re undersized with just about every team we play against.

“That has to be one of the principles.”

Nealon finished 3-for-7 on 3-pointers while adding 12 points.

New Jersey built its lead as high as 30-15 during the first half before being outscored in the second half by NEPA Elite.

Almonte, who finished with 16 points, scored 14 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the second half. Fedor had four rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots in the second half.

Nealon, who finished with 11 points, and Daniel Santaniello, who finished with 9, scored 7 each in the first half.

Fedor and Nealon are from Abington Heights. Ogden is from West Scranton and Santaniello is from Scranton Prep.

NEPA Elite 17U Frank

Role Model Elite defeated NEPA Elite, 68-39, in a 17U Division Pool B game.

Chris Chandler from Scranton had 11 of his 12 points in the first half of the loss.

Role Model Elite ran out to a 16-3 lead, then, after the teams played on even terms for about 11 minutes, used its control of the boards to break away for good early in the second half.

NEPA Elite 17U Zimmerman

The newest NEPA Elite 17U team, one of two teams the club added featuring players from further south, including the Shamokin and Pottsville areas, played its first game.

NEPA Elite repeatedly fought back, tying the game with a minute left before falling, 49-47, to NorthStar Naturals in a 17U Division Pool E game.

Tyler Reigel scored all 6 of his points in a rally from 10 down over the final 5 minutes, including the tying basket on a breakaway off a steal and long lead pass from Dallas George.

NEPA Elite was still trailing by six with two minutes left before an Isaac Thomas putback, Brian Britton basket off a steal of an in-bounds pass in the backcourt and the play by George and Reigel.

North Star held NEPA Elite to two points for the first 6½ minutes and six points in the first 9½ minutes while building the lead into double figures.

NEPA Elite scored 12 straight points for its last lead at 18-16. It scored eight straight to cut into the biggest deficit (42-30).

Reigel’s basket forced the only tie of the second half.

NorthStar scored the game-winner on a drive with 30 seconds left and withstood a good NEPA Elite look at the potential winner as well as a desperation shot at the buzzer.

Britton scored a team-high 13 points and 6 players added between 4 and 7 points.

Thomas had seven points, a team-high five rebounds and three assists. Jenssyn Shuey added seven points, four rebounds and two steals.

George, who had five assists, and Travis Richie also had two steals.

Britton is from Southern Columbia, Reigel from Mifflinburg, Richie from Schuylkill Haven, George from Eastern Lebanon County (ELCO), Shuey from Shamokin and Thomas from Blue Mountain.

NEPA Elite 16U Tillery

New Jersey Shoreshots defeated NEPA Elite, 55-47, in a 16U Division Pool B game that was part of the last session of the night.

NEPA Elite was within two before Shoreshots scored the game’s last six points.

Robby Lucas hit three first-half 3-pointers while scoring a team-high 17 points in the loss.

Justin Blanding hit two 3-pointers while scoring 14. Brycen Martin and Pedro Lugo also made a pair of 3-pointers while adding eight points each.

Lucas is from Abington Heights, Blanding is from Wallenpaupack, Martin is from Scranton Prep and Lugo is from Scranton.

NEPA Elite 15U Dempsey

NEPA Elite split a pair of 15U Division Pool A games, falling in overtime, 75-73, to New Jersey Panthers HGSL before beating PA Hoops Academy HGSL, 60-50.

The team made 25 shots from 3-point range on the day.

Brayden Rose scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half of the win.

Jordan Shaffer scored his 12 points on four 3-pointers and also dished out a team-high four assists.

Ayden Agapito added 10 points.

Tony Battaglia made three 3-pointers while contributing nine points and three assists.

NEPA Elite trailed until a 13-4 run early in the second half. Rose had two of the first three baskets, Battaglia had two assists and the go-ahead 3-pointer and Shaffer capped the run with consecutive 3-pointers for a 44-38 lead.

Rose nailed six 3-pointers while scoring 25 points and dishing out five assists in the first game.

Shaffer made five 3-pointers while scoring 22 points and joining Agapito and Nate Aviles with four assists each.

Battaglia scored his nine points on three 3-pointers while Aviles made two and Brian Dempsey had one for a team total of 17.

NEPA Elite came from 11 down to force overtime against the Panthers.

Agapito converted a Rose drive and dish for a lead in the final minute, but New Jersey scored on a back-door cut with six seconds left.

The Panthers scored on the first possession of the Elam Ending overtime format in which the first team to five points wins.

Shaffer put NEPA Elite up, 73-72, on a three-point play, but New Jersey turned an offensive rebound into a kickout for the winning 3-pointer.

Rose is from Riverside, Shaffer is from Abington Heights, Battaglia is from Scranton, Agapito is from Crestwood, Aviles is from Dunmore and Dempsey is from Seton Catholic Central in Binghamton.

NEPA Elite 15U Kingery

NEPA Elite made a winning debut by holding off a comeback from the New Jersey Celtics 15U for a 48-47 victory in a 15U Division Pool D game.

Christian Alvarez led the way with 14 points. Tyeirre Meade added 11 points.

Meade assisted Alvarez on the basket that put NEPA Elite ahead to stay, 42-40, with three minutes left, then scored the team’s next two baskets.

Kaden Tillison hit Colin Steinhart off the pressbreak for a 48-44 lead with 1:58 remaining.

Alvarez is from Pottsville, Meade from Minersville, Steinhart from Shamokin and Tillison from ELCO.