S. ABINGTON TWP. — Abington Heights scored 16 points in the first quarter. Scranton Prep’s Leo O’Boyle scored 17 and was 5 for 5 from 3-point range.
The Comets were able to overcome the junior forward’s early offensive onslaught and defeat the Cavaliers, 67-47, in a Lackawanna League Division 1 boys basketball game Tuesday evening.
Abington Heights head coach Ken Bianchi, who picked up his 762nd career win, praised O’Boyle’s first-quarter performance which included a deep 3-pointer from the corner that beat the buzzer.
“He was on fire…he outscored us,” Bianchi said. “I never coached against a team that had a kid knocking down some of the shots he took, especially when he wasn’t supposed to get the ball.”
O’Boyle, who finished with 27 points and seven rebounds, made his sixth consecutive 3-pointer in the second quarter and finished the first half with 22 points.
“I couldn’t really even miss in warmups, so I thought it was going to be one of those nights,” O’Boyle said. “I didn’t even key on the defenders. At that point, I was just catching and shooting if I was a little bit open and they kept going in.”
Abington Heights junior forward George Tinsley scored seven of his game-high 31 points in the first quarter.
Scranton Prep senior forward Wes Simons, who finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, scored five in the second quarter to help the Cavaliers build a 29-23 halftime lead.
Abington Heights (15-2, 8-1 Div. 1) made just 4 of 17 3-point attempts in the first half and Bianchi wasn’t too happy with the shot selection.
“You’re not going to win the game shooting from the two corners,” he said. “We went to the drawing board at halftime and put in the plays we were supposed to be running.”
Tinsley helped spark Abington Heights’ big second half right from the start of the third quarter. He scored the first basket and then found sophomore guard Corey Perkins for a 3-pointer.
“We were down six and that was unacceptable because we needed this win,” Tinsley said. “We knew we had to get a huge push in the second half in order to beat them.”
Simons scored the next four points for Prep to put the Cavaliers back up by five, but Abington Heights flipped a switch and ran off 21 consecutive points, over a span of nearly 7 1/2 minutes, to lead 49-33 with 6:08 left in the fourth quarter.
The spurt started with a 3-pointer from Perkins, who finished with 11 points.
“We were playing really lackadaisical in the first half,” Perkins said. “I knew that every shot coming down the line was going to be important, so I had to shoot my best and luckily it went in.”
Tinsley made 8 of 10 shots in the second half and rode the enthusiasm flowing through from the packed gym.
“We had so much energy all through the third quarter,” he said. “The crowd was into it and it just felt real good.”
Tinsley, who also contributed eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks, scored off an offensive rebound to tie the game at 33 midway through the third quarter.
“He was there to scoop up our missed shots and convert off them,” Bianchi said. “His motor never stops.”
Senior guard Jack Nealon followed with a 3-pointer to give the Comets a 36-33 lead. Nealon also had a team-high four steals.
“Nealon and Perkins knocked their 3s down, and then we started going,” Bianchi said. “But, it was the defense that did it.”
Scranton Prep (13-4, 8-1 Div. 1) made just 5 of 25 shot attempts in the second half and committed nine turnovers.
“We really stepped up our energy on defense and didn’t want to give up any easy shots,” Abington Heights senior guard Jackson Danzig said. “Our defense really triggered our offense. Once we starting getting out on fast breaks, we started scoring more.”
Danzig joined Tinsley and Perkins in double figures with 17 points. He also had a team-high six assists.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.