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Abington shuts down Upper Dublin in Suburban One League semifinals

NORTHAMPTON>> They finished as Co-Champs of the Suburban One League American Conference and split their two regular-season contests.

On Saturday afternoon at Council Rock South, it was Abington’s defense that broke the deadlock with rival Upper Dublin.

“We had our defensive discipline today,” Ghosts coach Dan Marsh said. “We stayed out of foul trouble. We were able to do what we wanted defensively. (Upper Dublin is) gonna hit shots, so we just had to be able to persevere.

“But even when they hit them, I still felt like we were in control. We couldn’t let them get a huge momentum swing and I think we were able to do that.”

Abington (20-3) led by two points after the third quarter and pulled away in the fourth, locking down a 56-44 victory over the Cardinals at the SOL Challenge semifinals.

“They had four goals,” Marsh said of his team, which will take on Neshaminy in the final. “And those goals were: (SOL American) Championship, SOL Championship, District (1-6A) Championship and State Championship. So they get an opportunity to go for number two, against a very good Neshaminy team that is playing well.

“They know Neshaminy so they’re fired up for it and the game means a lot, especially to our seniors. They wanna end the season the way they want to.”

Speaking of seniors, Miranda Liebtag’s defense on Upper Dublin sharp shooter Dayna Balasa was key. Balasa scored 17 points, including five 3-pointers, but was shut out in the fourth.

The Cards (19-4) shot 1-of-11 in the final frame.

“She’s definitely their shooter so I just have to stay on her,” Liebtag said. “I also have to keep my composure in case she tries to pump fake and drive.

“We came in and we felt ready to win.”

Senior center Kassondra Brown scored a game-high 21 points for the Ghosts, Khalis Whiting poured in 13, senior Cam Lexow had 11 and Liebtag added nine.

Upper Dublin hit nine 3-pointers but struggled in the final minutes.

“We need to understand that we’re not a finished product and our goal should be to get better than them by the end of the year, but today I thought they were the better team,” Cards coach Morgan Funsten said. “They wanted it more. We gave up too many offensive rebounds, second chances, loose balls.

“I thought that was the name of the game.”

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