A big, boisterous crowd packed the Red Palace Saturday night to witness an exciting Lackawanna League hoops showdown.
Abington Heights was in town for a Division I-II crossover contest ... and the top-ranked Comets hand their hands full with the scrappy Hornets.
Honesdale hit the hardwood with both guns blazing, showing absolutely no fear of the visitors from Clarks Summit ... even though the Comets arrived on the scene rated sixth in the state among Class AAA schools.
"We had a decision to make before the game even started," Coach Tim Wood said. "Were we going to play our game and push the tempo or try and slow things down and play their game?"
It didn't take long for Maple City fans to figure out which way the Hornets had decided to go. The backcourt duo of Kevin Miller and Chris Nagel ignited a frenetic offensive assault and the Comets were caught off-guard.
Honesdale erupted for 20 points in the first quarter, whipping the Senior Night mob into an absolute frenzy and carving out an 8-point lead.
"I'm very proud of the way the boys came out and took it right to them," said Coach Wood. "Abington is number six in the state for a reason. They're an excellent team, but we didn't back down one bit."
Unfortunately for the Red & Black faithful, Abington recovered from this early haymaker. Led by All-World guard JC Show, the Comets came roaring right back.
Show quickly heated up and began torching Honesdale's defense from every angle imaginable. By the time he was through, JC had rattled the rims for 30 points and led Abington to a 76-58 victory.
With this comeback win, Abington improved its overall record to 18-2. The Comets are 10-0 in Lackawanna League action and have clinched at least a tie for the Division One title.
On the heels of this loss, Honesdale fell to 13-7. The Hornets are 5-5 in Division Two and race two tough road games this week.
Page 2 of 3 - Coach Wood's squad travels to Valley View on Tuesday and North Pocono Friday.
On the Attack
Nagel was on fire in the early minutes of Saturday night's ballgame.
One of two Hornets honored during pre-game Senior Night ceremonies, Chris brought the fans to their feet with and old-fashioned 3-point play.
Nagel then scored off a set inbounds play, which earned another deafening roar and forced Coach Ken Bianchi to burn his first timeout.
The ploy did little to slow Nagel down. He scored nine of his 17 points in the first period, leading the Red & Black to a 20-12 lead.
"Chris is the heart of this team," Coach Wood said. "Kevin Miller is the head and Jon Gillow is the soul, but Chris is the heart. We're really going to miss him next year."
Miller and Gillow also played key roles on this night. Kevin once again paced the offense with a team-best 18 points, while Gillow provided power in the paint.
"He and Cole McConnell combined to do a nice job inside and on the boards," said Coach Wood. "Jon is our only other senior and he's come a long way this year."
Abington shook off its slow start and dominated the middle two periods. The Comets rallied to take a 37-33 lead at halftime, then put the game away with an 11-2 run after intermission.
Show put on a shooting clinic in the final three stanzas.
Abington's senior guard simply couldn't be stopped. He finished up with 30 points on the strength of five field goals, five treys and a 5-for-6 stint at the charity stripe.
Page 3 of 3 - Show scored 17 points in the second quarter alone, including one stretch in which he outscored the Hornets 10-0 by himself.
It was a rampage from which the Hornets would not recover.
"We made a couple of crucial mistake on defense and Show definitely made us pay," said Coach Wood. "You just have to tip your hat to him because he's an outstanding player."
Ian Langendoerfer came off the bench to provide a spark late in the game, drilling a pair of deep treys.
Kyle Carney contributed six points to the cause, while Gillow (three), McConnell (two) and Nick Casazza (two) rounded out Honesdale's scoring.
Score by Quarters...
HON (13-7) 20 13 10 15 - 58
AH (18-2) 12 25 25 14 - 76