PHILADELPHIA >> Plymouth Whitemarsh had no answer for Eric Dixon.
The Abington sophomore did whatever he wanted under the basket, along the baseline and beyond the three-point arc on his way to a 29-point performance Tuesday night at the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia.
Dixon, with some help from his fellow big man Joe O’Brien and guards Robbie Heath and Rob Young, ended No. 2 seeded Plymouth Whitemarsh’s chance at back-to-back District 1 championships.
The No. 3 seeded Ghosts came away with the win, 71-67, in the District 1 Class-6A semifinals.
The 6-foot-8 lefty did a lot of his damage in the second quarter to help the Ghosts open up a double-digit lead. He scored 13 in the quarter – making five baskets and both of his free throws.
“Dixon hit unbelievable, unbelievable shots,” Abington coach Charles Grasty said. “It’s like he hit every one at the right time. Whenever they would make a run he would hit a three or make a layup. He hit every shot at the right time.”
“He’s a guy knocking down 24-foot threes,” PW coach Jim Donofrio said about Dixon. “He’s posting and moving guys. The bottom line is a really talented big guy in high school like him are rare that put the ball in the basket at that size and strength.”
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The Colonials tried four different defenders against Dixon, but he used his big frame and soft touch to get the better of them all.
“Usually it would (make it tough to get into a rhythm),” Dixon said about facing waves of defenders. “But in a game like this with the nerves going and the adrenaline and everything, I really wasn’t paying that much attention to who was guarding me. I was just shooting my shots.”
Abington entered the second quarter with a two-point lead and went into halftime up by 15, 37-22.
The difference remained 15 after three quarters and ballooned to 20, 62-42, midway through the fourth quarter.
“They’re better than us right now,” Donofrio said. “We have to play really well and shoot well. I thought our guys if anything starting out looked too cautious. Some of that might be the young mindset being here (Temple).”
The Colonials did go on a run, but it was too little too late. They closed the game on a 25-9 spurt to get to the final score of 71-67.
Matt Walker started the run with a three and Ish Horn made two free throws after Abington went 1-for-2 from the line.
Dixon scored three the old-fashioned way for Abington and PW responded with another Walker three and two baskets from Ahmad Williams to make it 66-54.
Abington went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe again and Williams followed with a basket to get the deficit to 11.
Ghosts’ Heath made both his free throws before Horn and Williams got two quick baskets to make it 69-60 with 44.4 seconds left.
Heath went 2-for-2 from the line again to seal the deal. Horn made a layup and Walker another three to make it 71-67 but the Colonials’ clock had run out.
“You give the kids credit for showing a lot of spunk and energy and fighting to the end and making it a respectable single-digit game,” Donofrio said. “That’s what you want to do. You don’t want to mail anything in.”
Heath and O’Brien joined Dixon in double figures, scoring 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Horn scored a team-high 20 points for PW. Williams added 15 and Walker 14.
This marks the third time in the last three years Abington beat Plymouth Whitemarsh in a big game. They beat them in the 2015 District 1 Class-4A championship and they beat them for the SOL Tournament championship two weeks ago.
Abington 71, Plymouth Whitemarsh 67
Abington 15 22 16 18 – 71
Plymouth Whitemarsh 13 9 16 29 – 67
Abington: Young 2 1-2 6, Heath 5 5-6 15, Monroe 1 1-2 3, O’Brien 5 3-3 13, Dixon 10 6-8 29, Canada 0 0-0 0, Dougherty 2 0-0 5, Massey 0 0-0 0, Scholly 0 0-0 0. Total 25 16-21 71.
Plymouth Whitemarsh: Horn 6 7-10 20, Tilghman 1 0-0 2, Breeden 0 0-0 0, McLeod 2 1-2 5, Cooper 0 0-0 0, Walker 5 0-0 14, Houston 1 0-0 2, Williams 7 1-2 15, Paul 0 0-0 0, Glover 1 3-4 5, Lawrence 2 0-0 4. Total 25 12-19 67.
Three-point goals: A: Young, Dixon 2, Dougherty. PW: Horn, Walker 4.
Top Photo: Abington’s Eric Dixon (Abington) takes a shot over Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Matt Walker and Naheem McCloud during their District 1-6A semifinal at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)