Abington locks down CB South in 2nd half to reach District 1-AAAA quarters

ABINGTON — The Abington girls basketball team doesn’t do anything overly flashy on defense.

Sure, the Galloping Ghosts run traps, presses, doubles and blitzes at teams, but when it comes down to it, they just commit to stopping the other team. It’s why they don’t panic when their offense is in a funk.

Wednesday night, Abington let its defense lead the way as it stifled Central Bucks South 48-34 in the second round of the District 1 Class AAAA tournament.

“We just wanted to lock down defensively,’ Abington coach Dan Marsh said. “They did a pretty good job of taking us out of what we wanted to do offensively so we said, let’s focus on defense and shut them down. We came out in the third quarter and held them to four points and I think that was the difference maker.’

On a team full of offensive weapons, it’s always been defense first.

“We think we can defend anyone in the state, when it comes down to it man-to-man,’ Marsh said. “Our girls just said they’re not going to score and we’ll figure offense on the fly.’

Sophomore center Liz O’Leary had another excellent all-around game with 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists while Bre Bermel scored seven and Deja Rawls and Sammy Lochner each chipped in six.

The defensive charge was led by senior guard Gabby Nolan, who had six steals and a block to go with her 13 point, four rebound night. As active as Nolan was on defense, she was also assertive on offense, taking the shots that were there for her.

“I realized it’s my last season and I need to step up,’ Nolan said. “It’s the last chance I’m going to have. Tonight, they kept collapsing on Deja and Liz so everything was just open at the 3-point line.’

Abington led just 8-6 after the first quarter and 20-18 at halftime thanks to a game CB South team that Marsh said came ready to play. Indeed, the Titans did all the could to frustrate the Ghosts on offense, trying to take away Abington’s high-low game and cutting off Rawls’ drives to the hoop.

But with the Titans packing in on defense, O’Leary put her underrated passing talents to use, twice finding Nolan for 3-pointers and also setting up Bermel and Lochner for easy baskets in the third quarter.

In the pivotal third quarter, Abington held CB South to 1-of-10 shooting and four total points. Nolan had a steal in the frame while O’Leary and Lochner recorded blocks as the Ghosts buzzed around on defense.

Nolan said there wasn’t any one thing that allowed the team, which combined for nine steals, to have such success swiping the ball and added things just seemed to click. As a senior, Nolan’s seen it all, and she attributed that to her uncanny knack for slipping through passing lanes.

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