The Abington Heights boys basketball team continued to bring in awards for its outstanding season that was capped by a memorable stretch of three games over a five-day span to end its season.
Junior Jackson Danzig and sophomore George Tinsley came up with more honors for their school, being named to the 2016-17 Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State basketball team.
For their efforts driving the Comets to six postseason wins, including two efforts that required two overtime periods in each game, Danzig was a second-team selection in Class 5A while Tinsley was tabbed for a spot on the third team in the same classification.
Danzig was humbled by his all-state selection, seemingly caught off guard by the announcement last week.
“That was actually kind of cool,” Danzig said. “It was really awesome, a great thrill, because I wasn’t expecting an award. It was a great experience being named to the all-state team.”
His outstanding games in the state playoffs came in the pair of double-overtime victories that pushed the Comets into the state semifinals.
In back-to-back wins, Danzig delivered 25 points in the Comets’ 65-60 win over Martin Luther King, then followed up with nearly half of his team’s total by netting 30 points in a 65-61 triumph over Chester in the state quarterfinals.
The gritty performances were just what Danzig had in mind when the season started.
“I worked hard all year, the whole team worked hard all year, we tried to put our best foot forward,” Danzig said. “Everything clicked for the team at the right time.”
The postseason success came in as welcome rewards for the Comets, who fell short in the race for the Lackawanna League Division I title, which went to Scranton Prep
Danzig saw the post-season hardware as a sign of his desire to shine for the Comets.
“Probably all the time, effort and the amount of work I put in over the last off-season to try to get ready and prepared for this year,” Danzig said of what his list of priorities were for his junior season. “I wanted to be better for myself and for my team, because in games, they were going to rely on me and count on me to do things great in big situations.”
One of the good things that came out of the season was the emergence of Tinsley as a rebounder in his sophomore season, a player not afraid to mix it up with the opposition under the boards.
Danzig will be happy to have Tinsley back next year, along with another junior-to-be in Trey Koehler.
“That’s great for him. He’s really young and he’s a great player and he’s still learning,” Danzig said.
Tinsley also was surprised that he was awarded an all-state berth as a first-year starter.
“It felt great. I really wasn’t expecting it,” Tinsley said. “It was great; it’s an amazing honor.”
Like Danzig, Tinsley felt that just stepping onto the court for four state playoff games validated all the anxiousness he felt over being a rookie starter for the Comets. He had pushed himself to do what his coaches and teammates needed from him.
“I had to work on my aggressiveness,” Tinsley said. “Without Tim Toro, I knew I had to come in and get a lot of rebounds.
“He was 6-foot-8, he was strong and he got a lot of rebounds, so I knew I had to do that. The scoring just came along with it.”
According to the Times-Tribune, Tinsley pulled down 49 rebounds in the state tournament, a huge number for any player, let alone a first-year starter. He grabbled 18 in the win over Chester, in the middle game of the three-games-in-a-five-day stretch.
“It was tough, the snowstorm kind of held us back,” Tinsley said. “When we ran into playing those games in a row, we knew we had to dig down and really get ready for them because we knew they would be tough opponents.”
The next time he steps onto the court, he will miss having some of the players back from this year’s team, who played their roles well in the Comets post-season run.
“The team we had this year was outstanding. I’m going to miss the seniors, Seth (Maxwell) and Tommy (Rothenberger), they helped me out so much,” Tinsley said. “The team had a lot of heart.”