SCRANTON — Abington Heights came out of the gate fast, but Scranton Prep saved its best play for the final quarter.
Nick Dende scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help Scranton Prep defeat Abington Heights, 53-43, in a Lackawanna League Division 1 boys basketball game Jan. 31.
The Comets began the game on an 8-0 run and held a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Abington Heights senior center Seth Maxwell, who finished with 14 points and six blocked shots, connected on two 3-pointers in the quarter.
Senior forward Logan Bailey scored 10 points of the Cavaliers 13 points in the second quarter to help Scranton Prep (15-2, 9-0 Div. 1) tie the score.
“I came out in the second quarter and knocked a few important (shots) down that our team needed,” Bailey said. “It really sparked us and made it a new game going into halftime.
Sophomore forward George Tinsley, who finished with nine points and 13 rebounds, scored six in the third quarter as Abington Heights (15-3, 7-2) regained a one-point lead.
Dende knocked down a 3-pointer off a rebound in the final minute of the third quarter to start a 14-0 Prep run that swung the game in the Cavaliers favor.
“That was a key play,” Abington Heights head coach Ken Bianchi said. “We were up 34-30, they shoot and miss, and the loose ball comes to Dende. He hits a three, comes out and hits another three, and then they went on a tear.”
Dende hit two more threes to start the fourth quarter, Paddy Casey added a 3-pointer and Bailey converted two free throws to end the scoring spurt.
Dende, who missed his first three shots, never lost faith in his shot.
“My teammates and coaches were encouraging me to keep shooting and I know I can knock those down,” he said. “We know (Abington Heights) is a good team and they were going to make runs, but we’d rather make our runs at the end of the game than the beginning.”
Bianchi felt his team’s inability to make shots consistently was its downfall.
“You can’t win the game with 43 points, that’s as simple as it is,” he said.
Abington Heights will travel to play North Pocono in a Lackawanna League Division 1-2 crossover game at 7:15 p.m. Feb. 3.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.