ABINGTON – While they were much more efficient after the first quarter, the Galloping Ghosts shot just 33 percent from the floor in the initial frame in last night’s Suburban One National League battle with previously unbeaten Neshaminy. It wasn’t the shots that Abington made however, it was the rebounds the defending District 1-6A Champions recorded along with a slew of second-chance points that helped the Ghosts remain the only unbeaten team in the conference.
Led by 23 points scored by 6-7 junior Eric Dixon and 15 more tallied by 6-5 classmate Lucas Monroe, Abington (5-2) easily rolled to its fifth win of the season, its third in the SOL National, to the tune of a 72-49 triumph over the visiting Skins, who trailed just 15-9 after the first quarter.
“We knew going in that they were a big, physical team and they got a lot of rebounds and they got a lot of easy putbacks,” said Neshaminy head coach Mark Tingle, who has led the Skins to their first 7-0 start since the 2011 season.
“We knew going in that they’re big kids, especially with Dixon, as big as he is, and Monroe,” said Tingle. “They outplayed us on the boards tonight, starting early on and throughout the whole game.”
“Dixon is a monster down low,” added Neshaminy senior standout Chris Arcidiacono. “He’s big, physical and he can out-jump you.”
“That’s tough to defend.”
Defensively, Monroe and his team limited Arcidiacono to just eight points – one basket in each quarter. The Skins’ point guard entered the duel averaging 26.5 points-per-game.
“I thought Chris did a good job of getting into the paint, tonight he just wasn’t finishing, he wasn’t making the shots,” added Tingle. “But he did a good job with penetration; it was just one of those nights.”
Neshaminy (7-1) got off to a decent start in the game and held a 7-4 lead midway through the first quarter on the strength of a 3-pointer by senior Anthony Papeo and a pair of layups by classmate Pat Campbell.
Three baskets including a putback and a 3-point play by Dixon put the Ghosts on top 12-9 with 1:10 remaining in the first period and with 30 seconds left, Hasan Whitby hit the first of his two 3-pointers in the game.
Abington – which shot over 60 percent from the floor the rest of the way – never looked back.
Leading 19-13 midway through the second period, three consecutive buckets including a pair of putbacks by Dixon put the Ghosts up 24-13 with 2:37 left in the first half.
It almost seemed like even when the Skins latched onto a rebound, things did not turn out well. Senior Greg DeLuca snatched a carom in the second period but his momentum carried him over the baseline. Freshman Mike Murray grabbed a loose ball in the quarter and was called for traveling.
Abington opened the second half with a 3-pointer by Darius Brown, one of two treys for Brown in the quarter, then back to back buckets by Dixon and Monroe extended the Ghosts’ lead to 41-23.
Neshaminy’s 6-8 senior Danny Bodine snuck a pair of putbacks into the basket in the third period, though it was only enough to cut Abington’s edge to 16 points with three minutes to go until the final frame.
A tell-tale sign that the Skins were dealt a distinct disadvantage on the boards was in the final moments of the third quarter. That’s when Monroe fought for and won a loose ball that caromed off the glass. While Lucas was stopped on his own attempt at a putback, he then dished the ball off to Dixon for an easy layup.
Brown followed with his second trey in the game and that extended the home team’s edge back to 19 points. Abington finished the last quarter with 20 more points led by five from Monroe and five by Whitby, who opened the final frame with a 3-pointer and added a backdoor layup later on.
The Skins’ top scorer in the game, Neshaminy senior Charles Dominick finished with 13 points including three treys in the second half. Bodine added a dozen points to the boxscore, though he was the only other player with double digits for the visitors.
The Skins matched their first-half output with 17 points in the third quarter, while adding 15 more in the final frame. Neshaminy needed that type of scoring all game long, however, if it was going to have any hope of hanging with the 2017 district champs.
“We were just trying to play faster in the third quarter,” explained Arcidiacono. “That’s not really our game to play slow, like we did in the first half. We like to bring it up-tempo and get into a high scoring rhythm.
“We didn’t really get many stops tonight and it showed on the scoreboard.”
The Ghosts got 19 points off the bench while the Skins received only six from their reserves.
Neshaminy entered the contest coming off a pair of wins in the West Chester Rustin Winter Classic. On Dec. 27, the Skins outpaced Church Farm School 44-26 then got past the host team Bayard Rustin 66-51 the following day.
Thanks to the snow, Neshaminy can take some time to regroup. The Skins were supposed to host Pennsbury tonight but both school districts have suspended operations due to the extreme weather.
Next up for Neshaminy is Del-Val League rival Academy Park 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6 and the Skins host SOL National Conference rival Council Rock North 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9.
NOTES: The Neshaminy JV team outpaced the Abington Jayvees, 48-44.
Abington 72, Neshaminy 49
(Jan. 3 at Abington)
Abington 15 18 19 20 – 72
Neshaminy 9 8 17 15 – 49
ABINGTON (5-2) — Lucas Monroe 15, Eric Dixon 23, Hasan Whitby 8, Robbie Heath 6, Bryan Coffman 2, Xavier Coffman 3, Darious Brown 6, Brandon Coffman 3, Dante Knox 6; TOTALS — 29 7-13–72.
NESHAMINY (7-1) — Anthony Papeo 6, Pat Campbell 4, Chris Arcidiacono 8, Charles Dominic 13, Danny Bodine 12, Greg DeLuca 1, Logan Williamson 2, Ian Deduro 1, Cam Jeffers 2; TOTALS — 17 9-13–49.
3-POINT GOALS: A — Brown 2, Knox 2, Crawford, Whitby 2; N — Papeo 2, Dominic 3, Bodine.
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