The Abington Heights reign as state champion came to an end against the team that held the title prior to the Comets.
Archbishop Wood took control in the overtime period Monday night at Bethlehem Freedom High School to spoil the Comets’ hopes of a title repeat with a 63-53 victory in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 5A boys basketball semifinals.
It was the second state semifinal meeting in three years between the two teams. Archbishop Wood won in 2017 on the way to taking the state championship.
Abington Heights has won its other 20 district and state playoff games since the start of the 2017 postseason.
The Vikings went 12-for-13 from the line at the end of regulation and overtime to pull out the win.
That also brought to an end a series of victories in tight state tournament games by the Comets, who won the state championship in 2018 in the middle of a run that has produced the first three state semifinal appearances in school history.
Abington Heights is 5-0 in state tournament games decided by five points or less since 2016. The Comets had won four straight overtime games in state play since 2013, including back-to-back, double-overtime games in the 2017 tournament.
George Tinsley, a first-team, all-state choice for his performance in last season’s championship run, had a game-high 26 points in his final game for the Comets before heading off to play NCAA Division I basketball at Binghamton University.
Jaylen Stinson went 7-for-7 from the line while scoring 17 points and leading four Vikings in double figures. Rahsool Diggins added 15 points.
Corey Perkins had seven points in the first quarter when the Comets took a 20-15 lead.
The Vikings scored the first five of the second quarter for a tie.
Tinsley hit a 3-pointer to break the tie.
Archbishop Wood tied the game again, 23-23, but Tinsley had another 3-pointer while scoring seven in a row for a 30-23 lead.
The Vikings closed within 30-28 at halftime.
The teams were tied at 42-42 after three quarters and each scored just four points in a slow-paced fourth quarter as each patiently looked for what could be the deciding shot.
Archbishop Wood scored first to start overtime and remained in front, putting the game away at the foul line.
Tinsley converted an offensive rebound to bring the Comets within 54-50 with a minute left and Jack Nealon’s three-point play made it 57-53 with 43.8 seconds left.
Abington Heights did not score again.
Trey Koehler had 10 points in the loss. Perkins scored nine, all in the first half. Nealon finished with eight.
The Lackawanna League Division 1 and District 2 Class 5A champion Comets finished 26-3.