NEPA Sports Nation

Defense puts Comets in control

By Tom Robinson,

SCRANTON – Abington Heights turned steals into scores four times in the last 3:40 of the first quarter.

From there, the Comets took an efficient approach to practically every other facet of the game while protecting the lead the defense had built early.

Ryan Nealon scored 19 points to lead 4 players in double figures as the Lackawanna League Division 1 boys basketball leaders completed a season sweep of rival Scranton Prep with a 65-48 victory.

“It’s fun,” Nealon said. “They’re our rivals and any time you can sweep a team in this league it’s good because everyone’s competitive and strong.”

The Comets, the top-ranked Big School in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Basketball Power Rankings of District 2 teams, never trailed. They used the steals to produce a 14-2 run, including the first two points of the second quarter for a 22-8 lead.

Scranton Prep never got closer than eight the rest of the way and spent all but 1:36 of the game’s last 24:25 facing double-figures deficits.

Robby Lucas added 16 points for Abington Heights, which improved to 8-0 in the league and 16-1 overall. Mason Fedor, who grabbed 10 rebounds and had 2 early blocked shots, and Will Marion scored 13 points each.

“We always say, ‘come out fast and don’t even give them a chance’,” Fedor said. “That’s what we did early. They’re a good team.

“They came back against Wallenpaupack (a week earlier), so we knew we couldn’t take our foot off the gas.”

Brycen Martin drives for Scranton Prep against Will Marion from Abington Heights. Keith Pritchyk (42) looks on from right for Scranton Prep. NOTE: Pictured above is Ryan Nealon from Abington Heights. (Bryson Eldridge Photos)

Brycen Martin came off the bench to lead Scranton Prep (4-4, 10-7) with 12 points. Daniel Santaniello added 11 points.

Nealon, who also had game-high three steals, got the Comets started.

Abington Heights led just 8-6 midway through the first quarter when he made a steal and went the other way to score on a layup off a high-speed, give-and-go with Marion.

Marion followed with a 3-pointer, Lucas added three points off two steals and Walsh turned a steal into two free throws as the Comets broke out to a 20-8 lead after one quarter.

Nealon, who finished 6-for-11 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the line, added two free throws to open the second quarter.

His shooting was part of Abington Heights connecting on 53.3 percent of its shots (24-for-45) from the floor and 78.9 percent (15-for-19) from the line.

Lucas went 7-for-10 on field goals and also grabbed six rebounds.

The Comets controlled the boards, 37-18.

So, when Scranton Prep settled down to commit just seven more turnovers during the final three quarters, Abington Heights had plenty of ways to protect and add to its lead.

Fedor had six points and Nealon had the team’s other five in the second quarter.

Marion, returning to the lineup from an injury, scored half of the Abington Heights points in a 16-11 third quarter, missing just one shot during that time.

Nealon finished it off with eight fourth-quarter points, making his only 3-pointer and his only other shot from the floor while going 3-for-4 from the line.

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