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Germantown Academy storms back to nip Abington

ABINGTON >> Jaye Hayes and Rachel Balzer knocked down three-pointers late in the fourth quarter to help Germantown Academy subdue Abington, 60-54, in the middle game of the Abington Basketball Classic tournament at Abington High School on Saturday afternoon.

The pair of treys, 1:02 apart, turned a close game into a semi-comfortable win for the Patriots, who were coming off a big win Friday night against the Shipley School.

“This was a big win for us, especially on the heels of the win over Shipley,” said GA head coach Sherry Retif. “

The win looked like anything but a certainty throughout the first half, as the host Ghosts were able to maintain a small, but seemingly commanding lead.

But the Patriots (5-0) responded in the second half.

Taking advantage of the absence of Ghosts center Kassandra Brown, who missed two quarters due to foul trouble, the Patriots rallied, as Hayes, Balzer and Ellie Stauffer combined for 11 fourth-quarter points and the visitors pulled ahead to stay in the contest’s closing minutes.

“We have momentum and we can count on each other,” said Stauffer, who added a game-high 15 rebounds to her 12 points. “We have each other to count on and we were pretty calm late in the game.”

The Ghosts (1-1) jumped out to an 18-13 lead after a quarter as Britney James and Sam Brusha each had five first-quarter points.

But the Patriots began to make inroads in the second quarter.

And when Brown went out early in the third quarter with her fourth foul, the home team had no way to contain GA’s strong inside game.

“I thought we had it,” said Brusha, who paced Abington with 19 points, “but they got those back-to-back threes, and that really hurt us.”

Early on, Brown controlled the paint as the Ghosts built leads of five in the first quarter and six in the second.

But that all changed late in the third quarter as the visitors rallied, and took full advantage of Brown’s absence in the middle.

A small GA lead in the fourth quarter ballooned to five points after Hayes and Balzer knocked down their three balls and the Ghosts were able to run out the clock, as Cat Paisano hit crucial free throws in the closing seconds.

“This team has grit,” Retif said with a twinkle in her eyes. “We’ve been down a couple of times late early in the season and they don’t get rattled.”

Germantown Academy 60, Abington 54

GA  13 14 17 16 – 60

Abington  18 10 13 13 – 54

Germantown Academy: Ellie Stauffer 5 2-4 12; Maddie Vizza 0 0-0 0; Cat Paisano 1 7-8 9; Maddie Burns 0 2-2 2; Caitlyn Priori 0 0-0 0; Jaye Hayes 5 1-1 13; Rachel Balzer 3 0-0 8; Alexa Naessens 6 2-2 14; Sarah Diello 0 0-0 0; Becca Booth 1 0-0 2..  Totals 21 14-17. 60

Abington: Britney James 3 0-0 7; Cam Lexow 3 0-0 6; Tamla Wessels 2 1-2 5; Kassandra Brown 3 4-5 10; Sam Brusha 6 6-8 19; Miranda Liebtong 2 0-0 5; Jarayn Allen 1 0-1 2; Hope Brower-Auter 0 0-0 0.. Totals: 20 11-16 54.

3-pointers; Hayes 2; Balzer 2; James; Brusha; Liebtong.

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