SCRANTON — Scranton Prep used accurate shooting from the floor to take the lead in the third quarter and from the foul line to preserve it for the entire fourth quarter Tuesday night.
The Cavaliers shot better than 61 percent from the floor and almost 86 percent from the line in the second half to turn back visiting Abington Heights, 51-45, in the battle of state-ranked Lackawanna League Division 1 boys basketball teams.
“We rushed too many shots, too many times,” Abington Heights head coach Ken Bianchi said. “I liked the pace at halftime. It was in our range.
“In the second half, we just took some poor shots. We didn’t get the ball inside enough and we couldn’t hit.”
Abington Heights led for all but 38 seconds of a stretch covering more than half the game up to the 5:10 mark of the third quarter.
With the Cavaliers shooting 7-for-11, the teams traded the lead three times and were tied three times in the third quarter.
Scranton Prep carried a 33-32 lead into the fourth quarter and built it as high as 43-37 with 2:54 remaining.
Jackson Danzig and Trey Koehler hit 3-pointers and George Tinsley made two foul shots to help Abington Heights get within two points twice, but the Comets never got the ball back with a shot at the lead.
Scranton Prep hit six straight foul shots in the final 48 seconds, the last four by Brian Boland. The Cavaliers went 12-for-14 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“Every time we got within two, they went to the foul line and they made their fouls,” Bianchi said. “That was a big part of the game.”
Wes Simons had 16 points to lead the three-time defending division champion Cavaliers, who have won six of the last seven meetings between the Lackawanna’s top two teams.
Leo O’Boyle added 14 points and six rebounds. Rhys Merritt came off the bench to provide 11 points, 10 in the second half, and three offensive rebounds. Boland had seven points, along with team-highs of eight rebounds and six assists.
Danzig led the Comets (1-1 in the division, 8-2 overall) with 15 points and six assists. Tinsley had 12 points, but was limited to six shots. Jack Nealon hit three 3-pointers for nine points.
Koehler, who has missed four games with a foot injury, returned to provide seven points, five assists and two steals.
“Their guards were patient,” Bianchi said. “They made their shots when they were open.
“They knew who to get it to. We didn’t get it to our guys enough.”
The Cavaliers outrebounded the Comets, 14-4 in the second half and 30-14 for the game.
Scranton Prep, which is 7-3 overall, improved its division-leading record to 3-0.