First Posted: 3/7/2012
SCRANTON- J.C. Show was all smiles after Abington Heights High School avenged two regular season losses to Scranton Prep, defeating the Cavaliers, 55-41, in the District 2 Class AAA boys basketball title game on March 2 at the Lackawanna College Student Union. Show, who scored a game-high 17 points, missed several games in the second-half of the season and had previously seen limited time in the district playoffs while battling an illness.
“We have a great group of guys,” Show said. “I’m so proud of these guys and so happy to be a part of this team. Nobody cares about themselves, everybody is just focused on being unselfish and team oriented. That’s why we’re able to be successful.”
Despite three 3-pointers from Scranton Prep’s James Fives, Abington Heights lead 15-11 at the end of the first quarter after Show sank a three as time was expiring in the quarter.
“I just tried to get something going at the end of the quarter,” Show said. “They had just hit a big bucket so I just tried to do something quick and fortunately it went in.”
T.J. Murray, who scored seven of his 11 points in the first quarter, felt it was critical for his team to get out to an early lead.
“We were able to find some open spots in their zone,” Murray said. “We’ve been working on it all week. It was important to get up early and make them come from behind. It really helped us.”
Jason Bamford provided the Comets with some energy on the defensive side of the ball by grabbing 12 rebounds and swatting six shots.
“I was trying to get rebounds and block shots,” Bamford said. “I think it sparks the team a little bit and gives us a little momentum on offense.”
Abington Heights head coach Ken Bianchi believed Show’s absence from several games helped other members of the team gain more confidence.
“Sometimes in the beginning of the year, guys had a tendency to stop and watch J.C.,” Bianchi said. “When he wasn’t there they had to run offenses, they had to cut, and shoot when they were open. Now they feel more comfortable and are not afraid to shoot the ball.”
Kevin Elwell joined Show and Murray in double figures, scoring 13 points, including a pair of first-half 3-pointers.
“We had good ball movement and we put a couple new wrinkles in for this game,” Bianchi said. “The other stuff wasn’t working in the first two, so we had to try something different. The guys stepped up. They didn’t wait for J.C. to do everything. Everyone contributed a little and it becomes a lot easier when they have to guard everybody.”
Bianchi was also pleased with his team’s rebounding improvement from the first two contests. The Comets held the Cavaliers to only three offensive rebounds.
“(Prep) manhandled us in the first two games,” Bianchi said. “We challenged our big guys (Vassil, Murray and Bamford) and they did a great job.”
Abington Heights (22-5) will play Northern Lehigh (18-5) in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lackawanna College Student Union.