Abington topples Wood for title
Trailing late in the second quarter, Abington wasn’t going to be denied winning its own season-opening tournament.
And with some great defense from senior Jordan Simmons and solid shooting from senior Anthony Durham and junior Anthony Lee, the Ghosts ripped off a 19-2 run WR HnG WKH firVW KDOI and build up a lead large enough to come out on top.
In the end, a 63-57 win was enough to crown Abington the Ghost Tipoff Classic boys’ champions in Saturday HvHnLnJ’V WRurnDPHnW finDO at Abington High School.
With four of last year’s starters back on the team, the win now gives Abington (2-0) the start to the season which it expected.
“I thought the second quarter was when we really took (Wood) out of the game,” Abington coach Charles Grasty said. “We really took them out of their rhythm and stepped up the pressure a bit. We got into our full-court defense and got some stops and rebounds and were able to get out in transition like we like to do.”
The Ghosts trailed 13-10 after one quarter and trailed by four in the second, but a basket by Durham, a threepointer from sophomore Matt Penecale and a bucket from Lee after an Abington steal put the Ghosts up 2419. Abington rode that momentum all the way to what turned out to be a 21-2 run between the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third.
“I thought we came out strong yesterday, but we knew today was going to be a great test,” Wood coach Jack Walsh said. “Abing- ton is a very good team and it was a great contest, but we just lost our composure when the game was 19-15. We had 3-4 turnovers which they turned into buckets and we went from being up before half to down 13 at the half.”
The sikings (1-1) rallied in the third, as sophomore Cody Fitzpatrick and junior Pat Smith both drained threes in the opening four minutes of the period, while junior Joe LoStracco put up six points in the quarter. And after Abington regained a sizeable lead, the sikings rallied again in the fourth, FuWWLnJ WKH GHfiFLW WR RnOy WKrHH SRLnWV Ln WKH finDO PLnute of the game.
But again, the Ghosts stepped up big, thanks to the free throw shooting of Simmons.
“Jordan did the same thing last night for us, knocking down free throws when he needed to,” Grasty said of Simmons, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player. “He’s been practicing free throws every day at the end of practice and getting better and better and is knocking them down. It’s showing in games. His play has been tremendous the last two games and he’s doing the little things for us, playing guard and center when we need him to.”
Simmons, who did not shoot well from the free throw line during the preseason, knocked down 7 of 9 shots from the line, includLnJ 5 RI 6 Ln WKH finDO WwR minutes, which ultimately enabled Abington to hold onto its lead and come out with the win. He also added six assists and three steals during his MsP performance.
DurKDP finLVKHG wLWK D game-high 26 points to go along with four rebounds, three steals and two assists. He scored 10 points in the second quarter and nine more in the third while being almost automatic from the flRRr, knRFkLnJ GRwn 10 RI 14 fiHOG JRDOV (2-IRr-4 IrRP three-point range) while going 4-for-5 from the line.
Abington’s defense was noticeably impressive for WKH firVW WKrHH TuDrWHrV DV well, limiting Wood to only eight points in the second. As a team, the Ghosts recorded 10 steals.
“We battled back and battled back,” Walsh said, “but unfortunately, you can’t give up offensive rebounds and too many turnovers against a real good team like Abington. It came back to hurt us.”
The sikings, who will visit Bensalem on Tuesday, were led by LoStracco’s 23 points (including 8 of 10 free throw shooting) and a gamehigh 11 rebounds. Pat Smith knRFkHG GRwn fivH WKrHHSRLnWHrV DnG finLVKHG wLWK 21 points, three rebounds and two assists. Tom Rush DGGHG IRur SRLnWV, fivH DVsists and three rebounds for Wood.
Abington will look to remain undefeated when it hosts Central Bucks South on Tuesday.
After losing Chris Ruhl and while running a sillanova-like, guard-heavy lineup, Abington’s size is lacking this year, but the Ghosts have shown throughout their firVW WwR JDPHV WKDW WKHLr speed and shooting should more than make up for a lack of presence in the paint this season.