First Posted: 2/4/2015
CLARKS SUMMIT – The rest of the Scranton Prep starting lineup combined to produce the fast start.
After Abington Heights fought its way back into the game briefly, Bobby Casey led the second-and third-quarter assaults that rendered the fourth quarter irrelevant.
Casey’s 26-point effort helped the Cavaliers open a 30-point lead on the way to a 66-43 rout in Tuesday night’s meeting of arch rivals and Lackawanna League Division 1 boys basketball title contenders.
Scranton Prep took a major step in the direction of its first division title in 18 years by coming up with one of its best performances in the most challenging of circumstances.
“Abington is a great basketball team year in and year out,” Casey said. “They’re our arch rival.
“To come in and make a statement like this really means a lot for our team.”
The Cavaliers (9-0 in the division, 15-3 overall) moved two games ahead of the two-time defending Division 1 champion Comets (8-2, 16-3) in the loss column.
Since falling to nationally ranked Philadelphia Roman Catholic, Scranton Prep has crushed Scranton High School by 40 points and cruised to the 23-point win over Abington Heights.
The Comets, who had not lost a league game the previous two seasons, have now lost twice to the Cavaliers.
This time it wasn’t close.
“I think our game against Roman Catholic, we probably played equally well,” Scranton Prep coach Andrew Kettel said. “To come up here in a tough gym with a really well-coached team that we have the utmost respect for and to play like that, hopefully we’re hitting our stride at the right time.”
Scranton Prep scored the game’s first seven points, including five by Matt Bednarz.
After the Comets got their first basket, the Cavaliers scored seven more points, the last five by Tim Rose off steals, for a 14-2 lead.
Tim Toro and Clay Basalyga, the only two Abington Heights players to manage more than four points in the game, led a 7-0 streak to bring the Comets within 18-13, leading Scranton Prep to call a timeout with 4:30 left in the half.
Coming out of the timeout, Casey, who had sat the first 2:25 of the second quarter, got hot.
“They did a good job on him in the first quarter and we thought that he was a little frustrated,” Kettel said. “He’s so mature and such a leader that he regrouped and obviously had a career night.”
Casey hit four straight 3-pointers in a span of 2:46 to rebuild the lead to 32-30.
“In the first quarter, the big guys got off to a big start and that kind of opened things up,” said Casey, who shot 9-for-14 from the floor, including 6-for-10 on 3-pointers, while finishing as Scranton Prep’s leader with 26 points and seven rebounds. “Paddy (Casey) and Timmy (Rose) did a great job of finding me in transition and coach Kettel drew up some great sets to get me some open looks.”
Casey scored the first four points of the second half to spark a nine-point streak that spanned both sides of intermission and broke the game open, 41-22. He got off a long catch-and-shoot, 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to complete a stretch in which he hit six of seven from long range.
Logan Bailey then opened the fourth quarter with a steal and breakaway for a 60-30 lead.
Rose added 12 points, five steals and four assists in the win.
Toro led Abington Heights with 16 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots. Basalyga added 12 points.