Fisher: Comets "best team" Eastern has faced
Two weeks ago, Larry Fisher traveled up to Wilkes-Barre to watch Abington Heights play Holy Redeemer in the District 2 Class AAA title game. The Eastern York coach watched as the Comets -- the Golden Knights opponents in Friday night's state quarterfinal -- dismantled Holy Redeemer, 56-40.
Just how impressed was Fisher?
"I came back with the opinion that they're the best team I've seen all year besides us," Fisher said. "And that was going to be a toss-up."
In other words: Eastern could be in for quite a challenge tonight at Martz Hall in Pottsville.
The Golden Knights still figure to be favorites in tonight's clash -- and with a 30-0 record, they deserve to be -- but the District 2 champions are no pushovers. The Comets feature balanced scoring, a senior-heavy lineup and a matchup, 2-3 zone that can cause teams fits.
"We've got a number of looks at them, what I see is they're really a solid five players," Fisher said. "They're well coached, very disciplined. Good shooters, post presence."
Fisher compared Abington Heights to Lancaster Catholic ... except "they're all seniors, they shoot the ball better from the perimeter, and their post guy is a little bigger."
Coach speak? Maybe. But if Fisher was on in his assessment? Well, this one could come down to the wire. You'll remember the Golden Knights needed a last-second bucket by Nathan Bollinger to nip the Crusaders in the District 3 Class AAA title game.
Guard Ross Danzig leads Abington Heights with around 17 points per game. Of equal concern for Eastern might be 6-foot-8 forward Nathan Basalyga, who Fisher said is an excellent passer out of the post.
On offense, Eastern will have to figure out a way to solve the Comets' 2-3 matchup zone. The temptation against such a defense may be to pass the ball around the perimeter and jack up 3-pointers. Fisher said his team will try to approach the zone in an unconventional fashion.
"We're going to attack it a little bit more like a man," he said. "I think if you just pass the ball around, they're so good at understanding where players come from and where to go. We got a point guard in (Austin Tillotson) where he can beat them one on one, so we're going to run him a couple screens and see if he can get inside."
"Those shots got to fall, too," Fisher said.
Of course, Eastern is coming off a fairly impressive performance. The Golden Knights outclassed Murrell Dobbins Tech, 78-47, on Tuesday at Reading High's Geigle Complex.
Tillotson was superb in that game, as he has been throughout the postseason. Fisher said Yale has joined the schools to express interest in Tillotson -- the coach had a conversation with a Yale coach earlier Thursday.
"I'm putting more and more responsibility on his shoulders," Fisher said. "Every time we lean on him more and more, he's coming up bigger. There's no doubt that right now he's playing his best basketball."
Tillotson has Eastern on the brink of the showdown everybody in Wrightsville (and a lot of people throughout the state, no doubt) want to see: A semifinal showdown with Neumann-Goretti, the Philadelphia Catholic League school ranked No. 7 in the nation.
But before it gets there, Eastern shouldn't overlook the Comets.