Three of Division 1’s five teams will begin their Lackawanna League schedules tonight.
Abington Heights is at Scranton in a Division 1 game. Scranton Prep is home against Honesdale in a crossover game.
IN THE RANKINGS
Scranton Prep is fourth and West Scranton is sixth among District 2 Big School teams, according to the Riverfront Sports Super Six Power Rankings.
Scranton Prep is ranked 10th in the state among Class 4A teams, according to the Sunbury Daily Item. West Scranton and Abington Heights, in Class 5A, as well as Valley View, in Class 4A, are all among the “Others to Watch,” putting them in the top 37 teams of their classifications.
Scranton Prep is the favorite with two-time defending champion Abington Heights and West Scranton appearing to be the top contenders. Valley View and Scranton have also played well enough at times during non-league games in December that no team can be ruled out in the divisional race.
The division’s five teams have a combined 30-12, non-league record with only two more games to be played. Abington Heights is at .500 with a 4-4 mark against a state-caliber schedule and the others all have winning records.
West Scranton leads the way at 8-1. Valley View is 7-2, Scranton Prep 6-2 and Scranton 5-3.
Abington Heights went unbeaten in the league and Scranton Prep lost only to Abington Heights.
Last season’s final standings: Abington Heights 13-0, Scranton Prep 11-2, Valley View 8-5, Scranton 5-8, West Scranton 2-11.
The league schedule format calls for Division 1 teams to play each other twice each (home and home) while also playing one game each against Division 2 opponents for a total of 13 games.
Division 1 teams went 19-6 in those games last season.
West Scranton is home with North Pocono and Valley View is home with Western Wayne Saturday in two of those games to open their league schedules.
Abington Heights senior Corey Perkins and West Scranton junior Cayden Merrifield, both guards, are the only players back from the 11 recognized in the NEPABasketball.com Division 1 all-star selections last season.
Perkins made the division second team for the second straight year while Merrifield made it for the first time.
West Scranton has won eight straight since an opening loss to Dunmore.
Valley View has already had a five-game winning streak and Scranton Prep a four-gamer this season.
The four Abington Heights losses are by 7 points or less for a total margin of 19 points. They include an overtime game decided at the buzzer, another game that was tied until the last two seconds of regulation and a third in which the Comets trailed by one entering the fourth quarter.
Scranton Prep and Valley View are first and second among the eight teams maneuvering for seeding position in District 2 Class 4A.
West Scranton is third and Abington Heights seventh among nine teams pursuing eight District 2 Class 5A playoff berths.
Scranton is second out of five teams in the seeding race for the District 2-4 Class 6A Subregional.
ABINGTON HEIGHTS PREVIEW: http://www.nepabasketball.com/2019-20/Articles/Previews/AHBoys.
WEST SCRANTON PREVIEW: http://nepabasketball.com/2019-20/Articles/Previews/WestScrantonBoys.