Abing­ton top­ples Wood for ti­tle

The Globe - - COMMUNITYCALENDAR - By Mike Prince

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.

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