Parallels between Abington Heights' state title and Carbondale teams of the past

The Abington Heights Comets claimed the PIAA Class 5A boys state basketball title at the Giant Center with a 67-55 win over Mars.

Months earlier, the Comets tipped off their 2017-2018 season with their annual pre-season tri-scrimmage at Carbondale Area’s Peter Turonis Memorial gymnasium.

Annual Ritual

The Comets scrimmage with the Chargers has been an annual pre-season ritual for decades.

When players enter a gymnasium, they inevitably glance at banners. They surely noticed the Chargers 1992-93 PIAA Class AA state title banner.

They may not have realized this was the 25th anniversary of the magical run but a few probably thought ... Wow! That had to be exciting.

On the other end of the court, some may have noticed the Chargerettes 1976-77 Class AA state title banner. None of the Comets would have realized, the team the Chargerettes defeated that day in 1977 was Mars.

So, here were the Comets getting a look at their 2017-18 team in a pre-season scrimmage at CA with banners hanging at each end of the court.

These banners denote the 25th anniversary of the Chargers’ state crown on one end and the Chargerettes’ state title banner, by virtue of their win over Mars, at the other end.

They surely never imagined, or did they, that they were about to start on a journey that ended with a state crown and an eventual state title banner in their gymnasium.

The Comets (27-3) state tourney road featured five wins ranging from blowouts to nail-biters.

In their opening battle, the Comets coasted past Garden Spot (75-47). Jackson Danzig (18), George Tinsley (15), Jack Nealon (15) and Corey Perkins (11) led the way.

In the Sweet 16 Round, the Comets produced a big lead, saw it evaporate but survived on a Jackson Danzig score in the final :30 and a Chester lay-up miss at the buzzer (49-48).

Danzig (27) and Tinsley (11) topped the scoring.

After dominating Northeastern (76-56) in an Elite Eight Game Keyes by Danzig (38), Tinsley (17) and Nealon (14), the Comets survived a bizarre finish in an overtime win over Bonner Pendergast (56-51).

Tinsley (16) Danzig (15) and Nealon (15) led the way while Corey Perkins, Drew Nealon and Alex Derry continued their vital support roles.

In the state title game, the Comets claimed the crown using their patented 2-3 zone, outstanding foul shooting (16-20) and balanced scoring: Tinsley (29), Jack Nein (13), Perkins (11), Danzig (12), Mike Malone (2) and Drew Nealon (1).

With the Comets returning everyone except Danzig next season, AH will be a force in league, district and state action.

A noteworthy difference next season: before they board the bus for their annual pre-season trek to CA’s gymnasium, they will glance up at a banner at their own gymnasium and see PIAA Class 5A State Champs 2017-18.