Central Dauphin East, the sixth seed from District 3, threw a scare into District 1 champion Abington in the PIAA 6A girls’ basketball state opener at Bensalem High School Friday evening, taking the game into overtime before the Ghosts prevailed, 60-58.
The score was tied at halftime, 22-22. Abington had a 39-32 lead at the end of the third quarter, but CD East came back from a 44-38 deficit with 5:25 left to tie the score at the end of regulation 51-51.
Abington head coach Dan Marsh said, “We love to speed teams up, but that’s what CD East did to us, and they pressured us into bad decisions.”
In overtime, Gabrielle Patterson put CD East ahead 53-51 with a jumper. Abington’s Sam Brusha scored underneath to tie it at 53-53.
The Ghosts’ Kassondra Brown, who scored 13 points for the winners, worked her way inside and scored to give her team a 55-53 lead, then CD’s Justyn Roberts tied the score 55-55 when she scored underneath.
Abington’s Britney James was fouled, and she converted both of her free throws to make it 57-55. Tiaria Little, who led CD East with 12 points, scored inside to tie the score at 57-57.
Abington’s Liz O’Leary, who led all scorers with 21 points, scored underneath to give the Ghosts the lead for good, 59-57.
With 15.2 seconds left, Roberts hit one of two free throws to make it 59-58. With 5.5 seconds left, Brusha was fouled and made one of two from the charity stripe to give the Ghosts their final 60-58 lead, as a final CD East shot fell short.
James said, “The key tonight was staying in control, playing with poise, being confident. There were a lot of key moments in overtime, but every time we scored, they scored [to tie it]. We had a get a stop at the end, and we did.”
Marsh said, “Liz O’Leary was a [scoring] beast for us, Britney James hit a couple of big shots at the end, Sam Brusha had a good game, but this was a team win. We knew CD East was a good offensive rebounding team, but we came through on the boards enough to win.”
Abington 60, Central Dauphin East 58
Central Dauphin East 11 11 10 19 7 – 58
Abington 11 11 17 12 9 – 60
Central Dauphin East: Butts 2 0-0 4, J. Rawls 3 1-3 7, A. Rawls 1 0-0 2, Roberts 4 1-2 9, Peterson 1 2-4 4, Little 6 0-0 12, Patterson 1 1-2 3, Green 3 0-0 6, Stokes 4 2-2 11, Davis 0 0-1 0, Totals 25 7-14 58.
Abington: James 2 2-2 7, Lexow 2 0-0 4, O’Leary 9 3-5 21, Brown 5 3-4 13, Brusha 3 4-7 10, Wessels 2 0-0 5, Totals 23 12-18 60.
3-point field goals: CDE – Stokes; AB – James, Wessels.
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