CB West smothers Abington to win Suburban One League title

FRANCONIA — Mackenzie Carroll put the ball on the deck in the left corner and went full steam at the net.

The Central Bucks West senior went to the hoop, went up and glided under the iron, looking for a pass. Finding the way blocked, she flipped the ball up and completed the reverse layup midway through the third quarter.

She didn’t have the most points on her team, but Carroll’s effort was emblematic of her team’s as CB West captured the SOL tournament title with a 51-38 win over Abington. West’s defense again set the tone in holding the Galloping Ghosts to 13-of-45 shooting.

“We knew they had a lot of good shooters, (Sammy) Lochner has been shooting really well,’ Carroll said. “We watched them against North Penn the other day and they were killing it with their shots. We knew we had to shut down the outside and help on the drives.’

Carroll had nine points, seven rebounds, an assist and a steal while also chasing Abington’s guards around the perimeter.

Abington took an early 5-2 lead, but the Bucks kept pounding the rock inside. An early 3-pointer by Peyton Traina levelled the score at 5-5 and the Bucks closed the first on a 6-2 run.

“They did a very good job of taking away our high-low,’ Abington coach Dan Marsh said. “They copied North Penn’s gameplay which was to deny that first entry pass. We didn’t adapt well.’

Defensively, West stuck Maggie Rakowsky on Ghosts star Deja Rawls and packed in the lane. Rawls finished with a game-high 19 points, but Marsh felt his team got too reliant on the Siena-bound star. Indeed, Rawls wasn’t her usual all-around self on offense, being held without an assist.

“Maggie’s one of the most athletic people I’ve ever met,’ Carroll said. “We always know if they have a really good player, we put Maggie on her and we don’t worry about it the rest of the game.’

CB West closed out well on Abinton’s shooters, something Carroll says the team works on in practice. Instead, Abington kept driving and trying to push passes through traffic or taking contest layups. That led to a 5-of-27 shooting half, the offense buoyed only by a 7-of-8 showing at the foul line.

“I thought defensively we played really, really well,’ Bucks coach Terry Rakowksy said. “We were very aggressive on defense. But, they’re tough. They’re big inside, they can shoot the ball and they have a kid that can handle the ball and play tough defense.’

Abington did well to stop CB West’s initial foray, but the Bucks collected seven offensive rebounds. With extended possessions and second and sometimes third chances, CB West went 12-of-29 from the floor.

Carroll was especially effective on the offensive glass in the first half with three rebounds of her teammates’ misses. West senior Nicole Munger had five of her 11 boards on the offensive side, which was half the team’s total.

“We told them that coming in here that this team is big, strong and they can jump,’ Marsh said. “I don’t know if our kids believed us. When we played Life Center earlier this year with that lineup of all 6-foot athletes, our kids did a tremendous job of boxing out and it hasn’t really been an issue so I don’t think they believed us. They learned tonight.’

Abington still managed to slice the West lead down to seven with 3:00 left in the third quarter. Maggie Rakowsky extended it back up to nine with a twisting lay-up inside, but the Ghosts had a chance to cut into it again and end the quarter on a good note. Then, Rakowsky picked a Ghost’s pocket, dribbled to mid-court and fired up a prayer.

Luckily for Rakowsky, the bank stayed open late and her heave hit glass and dropped in for a back-breaking 3-pointer.

“I was really surprised,’ Rakowsky said. “I kind of just chucked it up there.’

“We practice that,’ Terry Rakowsky said, tounge planted firmly in cheek.

Rakowsky scored seven with three steals. Munger had 16 points and 11 boards and Corinne Godshall had 10 points and four rebounds.

Abington cut West’s lead down to 10 three times in the fourth quarter, but every time the Bucks answered. CB West shot 13-of-16 from the foul line in the final quarter.

Rawls did all she could in the frame, scoring seven while Liz O’Leary had five.

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