Now things get interesting.
What a week that was in the Lackawanna League. A couple of outstanding performances, late game heroics, and some tough nonleague matchups certainly impacted the regular season, as it enters the final two weeks.
We begin with the traditional — and now intense — rivalry between Abington Heights and Scranton Prep.
Last Tuesday, the two teams met for the second time this season as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in The Times-Tribune Top 10 Boys Basketball Poll.
This time around, Scranton Prep was the top team, while Abington Heights was anchored in at No. 2.
In addition to the huge ramifications on the poll, this game would also go a long way in determining which team would be in the driver’s seat in the Lackawanna Division I.
So, Scranton Prep’s Leo O’Boyle came out sizzling. When you score all 17 of your team’s points in the first quarter, I’d say he was feeling it from the field.
And so was Scranton Prep. The Cavaliers had beaten the Comets in each of their last four meetings. But, George Tinsley had other ideas.
Trailing 29-23 at the half, Abington Heights flipped a switch at the break and came out fired up. The defensive pressure neutralized O’Boyle and Tinsley went off by scoring 22 of his 31 points in the second half.
“Number-one, we had to lock down on Leo and have a man on him at all times. And we had to start running our offense and not try doing all these one-on-one moves. We had to play 5-on-5 team basketball, work the ball and let the plays happen on their own.”
— GEORGE TINSLEY
Abington Heights went on a tear (Courtesy of Scotty Walsh):
THIRD QUARTER: SCRANTON PREP 33, ABINGTON HEIGHTS 28. TIME 5:46
- Corey Perkins (3-pointer). SP 33, AH 31
- George Tinsley (Rebound putback). SP 33, AH 33
- Jack Nealon (3-pointer). AH 36, SP 33
- Mike Malone (free throw). AH 37, SP 33
- Jack Nealon (two free throws). AH 39, SP 33
- Jackson Danzig (two free throws). AH 41, SP 33.
- END THIRD QUARTER
- Jackson Danzig (layup). AH 43, SP 33
- George Tinsley (field goal). AH 45, SP 33
- George Tinsley (field goal). AH 47, SP 33
- George Tinsley (field goal). AH 49, SP 33
FOURTH QUARTER: ABINGTON HEIGHTS 49, SCRANTON PREP 33. TIME: 6:08
Scranton Prep never recovered. Abington Heights won the showdown, 67-47, and snapped the Cavaliers’ 33-game winning streak in the Lackawanna Division I.
Scranton Prep’s last loss in Division I
Abington Heights 57, Scranton Prep 52
January 2, 2016
Colin Klingman pulled up and launched a shot from deep beyond the 3-point arc.
As the ball went through, a rambunctious student section erupted with a roar and Jordan Hollander, who dished out the assist, pumped his fist.
It gave No. 1 Abington Heights its first lead over No. 2 Scranton Prep with 2:38 left in the third quarter.
The Comets carried that momentum to the finish line in a 57-52 win Saturday in the Lackawanna League Division I boys basketball opener at the Xavier Center.
“This is just a huge win because we start the league season 1-0,” said Klingman, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. “Once I hit that 3 from Jordan, the crowd got into it, our starters got into it and even the bench got into the game.”
Abington Heights (9-0) ended Scranton Prep’s 16-game winning streak in league play.
OK, so after Scranton Prep took the first meeting, and Abington Heights won the rematch, the two teams were tied at the top of the Lackawanna Division I standings. Both had 8-1 records with four games to play.
That tie didn’t last long.
On Friday, Valley View sent shock waves through the entire District 2 with a stunning 54-53 win at Scranton Prep. Marc Kudrich drilled a 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds remaining, and some tight defense against an O’Boyle shot from the left elbow forced a miss.
Here’s what it looked like:
VIDEO COURTESY OF CALI CRAIG
That sent the entire regular-season rush into a tailspin. Abington Heights avoided any kind of hangover from the big game against Scranton Prep and beat North Pocono on Friday.
Meanwhile, Scranton was also taking care of business. The Knights had a Saturday Night’s Main Event against city rival West Scranton at Marywood University. Ky’Ron Harbin came to play and dropped in a career-high 30 points to lead Scranton to a 67-60 win.
It was the final game against the Invaders for Harbin, who has had quite a career in the City Rivalry Games.
KY’RON HARBIN vs. WEST SCRANTON
|West Scranton, 46-45||
|West Scranton, 59-49||
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
It was the sixth straight win for the Knights and knotted them in the Lackawanna Division I standings with Scranton Prep as we head into this week.
Also on Saturday, Abington Heights fell to Methacton and Scranton Prep avoided a three-game losing streak with a win over Pottsville.
Those games meant nothing in the bigger picture. That picture includes a huge game tonight when Scranton Prep takes on Scranton at 7:15 p.m.
FIRST MEETING: Scranton Prep 64, Scranton 43 (Lynett Tournament semifinal)
- SP: Sam Bednarz 25 points; Wes Simons 15 points
- SCR: Ky’Ron Harbin 12 points
SECOND MEETING: Scranton Prep 55, Scranton 51
- SP: Wes Simons 19 points; Greyson Schermerhorn 13 points
- SCR: Ky’Ron Harbin 26 points.
LAST SCRANTON WIN: January 8, 2013
- SCR: Andrew Moran, 14 points.
- SP: James Fives 12 points.
NOTE: Abington Heights will be at Western Wayne tonight and will play West Scranton on Friday. Then, the Comets will finish with Scranton on Feb. 13.
Tonight is also the annual meeting between the top two teams in Division II. Delaware Valley will visit Honesdale, which is mired in a stretch where it has lost seven of its last eight games.
But, the Hornets can climb back into the chase for the division title if they can upset the Warriors in a home game where the gym will be very loud.
If Delaware Valley beats Honesdale
- The Warriors would move to 7-4 with two games remaining and would secure at least a tie for the division crown.
- Western Wayne would need a win over Abington Heights to stay in the hunt. However, if Western Wayne loses to the Comets, who have never lost to a Division II opponent since the Lackawanna League moved to four divisions in 2012-13, and Delaware Valley beats Honesdale, the Warriors lock up the title.
- It would be Delaware Valley’s fourth division title in six seasons.
If Honesdale beats Delaware Valley
- Things get dicey. Delaware Valley would fall to 6-5 and Honesdale would move to 5-6 with two games remaining. Then you have to look down the road — Delaware Valley has a home game against Scranton Prep on Friday and finishes at North Pocono. Honesdale plays at home against red hot Valley View on Friday and finishes at Scranton Prep.
- If Western Wayne loses to Abington Heights, it stays alive with a 4-7 record, but would need to sweep its final two games and Delaware Valley to lose its final two, and Honesdale to lose at least one to have a shot at the title.
So, all eyes in Division II will be on the Delaware Valley at Honesdale outcome tonight. Then things will start to sort themselves out.
Things aren’t as complicated as they usually are in Division III at this time of the year. That’s because Holy Cross hasn’t stumbled. It avenged a first-half loss to Riverside in its rematch, then last week, stopped Mid Valley for the third time this season.
Those wins put the Crusaders, who won the first half in a playoff with Mid Valley, in pretty good shape in the second half.
Tonight, Holy Cross is at Dunmore in what is a very passionate rivalry between the two Dunmore Borough schools.
Since 2009, Holy Cross holds a 19-13 edge in the series and has won three of the last four. But throw the records out when these two teams play. They have met already twice this season, splitting both games.
FIRST MEETING: Dunmore 55, Holy Cross 50
- DUN: Daniel Walsh 22 points.
- HC: Patrick Galvin 17 points
SECOND MEETING: Holy Cross 55, Dunmore 39
- HC: Kieran Burrier and Patrick Galvin 13 points.
- DUN: Noah O’Malley and Nate Fangio 7 points each.
Carbondale Area wants a crack at the title and is off to a 2-1 start. The Chargers will play Lakeland tonight. And the annual Triboro Rivalry game is on for tonight, as well. Riverside, which challenged the division leaders in the first half, is 1-2, while Old Forge is 0-2.
For fans in this division who thought Susquehanna, the first-half winner, would just ran away and hide, take note. Mountain View, which plays a non-division game tonight against Mid Valley, is off to a 3-0 start in the second half.
It’s quite a turnaround from the first half for the coaches’ preseason favorite:
That creates quite a setup in the standings:
Clearly, Mountain View still has to play a home game against Montrose on Friday and at Susquehanna on Feb. 13. Remember, Montrose played Susquehanna in a playoff to determine the first-half winner.
Susquehanna also has a tough task tonight when it faces Elk Lake, which is 21-6 against the Sabers since the 2005-06 season.
HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL
(Varsity starts at 7:15 p.m.)
Scranton Prep at Scranton
Delaware Valley at Honesdale
Holy Cross at Dunmore
Old Forge at Riverside
Lakeland at Carbondale Area
Susquehanna at Elk Lake
Montrose at Forest City
Blue Ridge at Lackawanna Trail
Abington Heights at Western Wayne
West Scranton at Wallenpaupack
North Pocono at Valley View
Mid Valley at Mountain View
HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL
West Scranton at Abington Heights
Wallenpaupack at North Pocono
Lakeland at Mid Valley
Holy Cross at Old Forge
Dunmore at Riverside
Lackawanna Trail at Susquehanna
Montrose at Mountain View
Forest City at Blue Ridge
Valley View at Honesdale
Scranton Prep at Delaware Valley
Western Wayne at Scranton
Elk Lake at Carbondale Area