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Abington impressive in win over North Penn

Abington's Robbie Heath drives for the basket between North Penn's Chris Coleman and A.J. Mitchell during their game on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

TOWAMENCIN >> Abington’s biggest weapon opened up clear shots for the others.

“We talked about it and we said we had to pick our poison. We were gonna try and make Dixon work and he’s just so big and strong,” North Penn coach John Conrad said of the 6-foot-7, 250-pound power forward. “And they just buried us from the perimeter.

“And in the second half, when we extend and try to guard the perimeter, they were able to get in, whether it be (Robert) Heath or penetration or throwing it into Dixon. It’s a good basketball team.”

Dixon scored a game-high 25 points, the hot-shooting Heath had 23, and the Ghosts knocked down eight 3-pointers in an impressive 81-62 victory over North Penn as part of the Suburban One League Challenge on Saturday afternoon.

“North Penn’s a good program. They’re well-coached and play hard so to come into their house and beat them, that was pretty good,” Dixon said.

Abington’s Eric Dixon brushes past North Penn’s Matt Swanson during their game on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

The junior also secured eight rebounds, swatted away three shots and shot 8-of-11 from the field.

“We thought Eric could use his size down low, maybe hit a three here or there. He’s a special player,” Abington coach Charles Grasty said. “Teams are starting to key on him and guys are starting to shoot the ball for us and it’s giving Eric a little more space.”

Dixon was the centerpiece of a high-powered first half for Abington (7-2, 4-0 SOL National).

Scoring down low and also getting to the line, going 6-for-6 in the opening two quarters, Dixon provided Abington a distinct early edge.

He even showed his range by launching a three from deep, connecting to give the Ghosts a 20-12 cushion.

Lucas Monroe scored in transition and Heath hit an off-balance three to build the Abington lead up to 28-16 after one.

North Penn’s A.J. Mitchell drives into the key past Abington’s Xavier Crawford during their game on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

“Our last few games, we hadn’t really been coming out and playing hard (to start) so to come out, play hard, communicate with each other, it’s a big step for us,” Dixon said. “Everything we did today, we feel like if we did that all year we’d be 9-0.”

The Ghosts were on their way to a 64-percent shooting performance. Lucas Monroe added 11 points and Darious Brown and Maurice Henry each had five.

The Knights hung in, back-to-back three-pointers by Chris Caputo making it an eight-point game early in the second quarter. A.J. Mitchell was getting to the hoop and David Robinson was providing some key putbacks for North Penn (6-6, 2-2 SOL Continental).

But Abington closed out the half strong: Brown intercepted a pass and took it all the way in for two and Bryan Coffman, Maurice Henry and John Paul Nolan all hit threes to help the Ghosts to a 47-33 advantage at the break.

Said Grasty: “They’re getting it. We don’t have a whole lot of varsity experience but the guys are getting it. They’re playing with confidence and they’re having fun. They’re playing for each other.”

Abington extended its lead to 20 in the third quarter, with Dixon going hard to the hoop for a three-point play and Heath intercepting a pass and racing downcourt for a dunk.

Abington’s Dante Knox passes under pressure from North Penn’s Matt Swanson and Chris Caputo during their game on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Chris Coleman, who led the Knights with 19, beat the third-quarter buzzer with a three. North Penn would connect nine times from three-point range but couldn’t quite catch the Ghosts.

“We talked about it that we’re 6-6, we have 10 left and we feel like if we play hard and play together, we can compete,” Conrad said.

The Knights are at Pennridge Tuesday and the Ghosts are at Neshaminy on Monday.

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