NEPA Sports Nation


SCRANTON – Three teams went into Opening Night of the Lackawanna League boys basketball season with the only unbeaten overall records in District 2.

Abington Heights was the only one to make it through the night with that perfect record intact.

And, it wasn’t easy.

Sophomore Robby Lucas scored 17 of his career-high 19 points after halftime – 14 in the second half and a three-point play in overtime – to get the visiting Comets past defending champion Scranton, 56-49.

The Comets scored the only seven points of overtime after Oliver Almonte completed a 21-point game by scoring the tying basket for Scranton with 5.7 seconds left in regulation.

Scranton had Abington Heights in trouble early.

Almonte scored six points in the first quarter while Kole Conforti, P.J. Murphy and Dillon Lazdowsky hit 3-pointers for a 17-9 lead.

The Comets closed to 21-18 midway through the second quarter.

Chris Chandler’s layup put the Knights up 23-18, but the Comets scored the last eight points of the half for a 26-23 lead.

Ryan Nealon, who finished with 13 points, started his 10-point second quarter with a 3-pointer and ended it with a three-point play.

The teams wound up tied, 36-36, through three quarters and, 49-49, going to overtime.

Almonte had seven points for Scranton while Lazdowsky and Tony Battaglia had 3-pointers in the third quarter. Almonte had eight points in the fourth quarter when Battaglia hit another 3-pointer, his third of the game.

Lucas kept pace with Almonte, matching his seven points in the third and eight in the fourth. Roman Cutrufello had five points, including a 3-pointer, in the fourth quarter.

The teams were tied six times and had six lead changes during the fourth quarter without either team ever going up by more than two points.

Mason Fedor scored in the lane to put Abington Heights ahead to stay after the Comets held on to the ball for the first minute of overtime.

Lucas added his three-point play with 1:48 left and Nealon hit two free throws with 1:02 remaining.

Abington Heights, the top-ranked Big School in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Basketball Power Rankings of District 2 teams, improved to 8-0.

Delaware Valley, the No. 6 Big School, and Old Forge, the No. 2 Small School, each lost their Lackawanna League openers. North Pocono beat Delaware Valley, 50-30, in Division 2. Holy Cross beat Old Forge, 55-43, in a Division 3 game that was a rematch of the 2022 District 2 Class 2A championship game that Holy Cross also won.

The Abington Heights win sets up a Friday home game against No. 4 Big School Scranton Prep (1-0 in division, 6-2 overall).

In other Tuesday Lackawanna League games involving Division 1 teams:

Scranton Prep 75, West Scranton 53

Daniel Santaniello scored 19 points to lead Scranton Prep to the win at home in the other Lackawanna Division 1 opener.

The Cavaliers broke away from a three-point game by scoring 44 points in the second half, 11 of them by Santaniello.

Ambrose Rossi added 12 points and Chase Scanlan had 11.

Brycen Martin hit two 3-pointers in the second half and finished with eight points.

Evan Laybourn-Boddie had 16 points to lead four West Scranton scorers in double figures. Tristan Lee added 12 points while Chris Ogden and Zach Price had 10 each.

Valley View 53, Wallenpaupack 44

Big School No. 2 Valley View, which now has the second-best overall record in District 2 at 8-1, opened league play with a crossover road win over defending Division 2 champion Wallenpaupack.

A.J. Kucharski returned from missing two games with an injury to score 18 points for Valley View.

Kucharski also grabbed seven rebounds.

Eli Yusavage chipped in 14 points.

Taheed Jewell, one of three Cougars with seven points, also had eight rebounds and four assists. L.V. Pegula and Noah Veno were the other players with seven points.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Freelance reporter Ben Magnotta contributed to this report, including the photo of the overtime tip of Abington Heights-Scranton game at top.

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