SCRANTON — Abington Heights outscored Scranton Prep, 23-8, during the first 10 minutes of the second half to take a 46-36 lead and the Comets held off a rally by the Cavaliers in the final minutes to pick up a 57-52 win in a Lackawanna League Division 1 boys basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 2 at the Xavier Center.
Scranton Prep (6-2, 0-1 Div. 1) jumped out to a 10-5 lead and held a 19-14 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Prep’s Logan Bailey scored nine of his game-high 23 points in the first.
Abington Heights (9-0, 1-0 Div. 1) received a boost from its bench in the second quarter when George Tinsley and Tom Rothenberger each scored a basket.
Trailing by five points at the half, Abington Heights felt a sense of urgency and pulled together as a group to mount a comeback.
The Comets began the third quarter on a 12-5 run, punctuated by back-to-back 3-pointers from Jackson Danzig and Colin Klingman to give Abington Heights a 35-33 lead.
“We tried to pick up our intensity,” Danzig said. “We also wanted to slow things down (on offense) and execute our plays to get open baskets. Those big 3’s helped up gain the lead and we kept it from there on out.”
Abington Heights’ defense forced three turnovers and limited Scranton Prep to eight points in the third quarter.
“We got some good help side defense from the two big guys, which meant a lot,” Abington Heights head coach Ken Bianchi said. “I was proud of our defense, we made some key foul shots and our big men played well inside.”
Klingman, who finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, hit another 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter during a 7-0 Comets run.
“I thought we had opportunities early in the game to extend our lead and we didn’t do it,” Scranton Prep head coach Andrew Kettel said. “They are a well-coached team with good kids and they play hard. We let them hang around, then we went on a scoring drought and they made big shots.”
Prep picked up its defensive pressure in the final quarter, forcing six Comets turnovers. Bailey had four steals, four points and two assists in the fourth.
“He gives you a headache because he’s so good, both with the ball and finding open players,” Bianchi said.
A 3-pointer from Scranton Prep’s Nick Dende, who scored 15 points, cut the Abington Heights lead to two points with 1:26 left in the fourth quarter.
Danzig, who finished with 18 points and five assists, scored six in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Comets.
Abington Heights’ forward Tim Toro, who scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, also connected on five of six free throws in the final quarter.
“The team came together as one at the end of the game,” Toro said. “If we play at our pace, we know we can control the game.”
Abington Heights will host Western Wayne in a Lackawanna League game at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 8.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.