Penecale lifts Abington past Chester, into states with OT win

ABINGTON — Even as Matt Penecale was shifting firmly into takeover mode, he continued to stay in the ear of Amir Hinton.

Penecale was doing the heavy lifting on offense, but he was making sure his teammate was staying engaged and ready. Then, with a little over a minute left in overtime, Penecale went to Hinton and Hinton delivered.

Boosted by a Herculean effort by Penecale, the Abington boys basketball team outlasted Chester 55-47 in overtime during a fantastic District 1-AAAA second-round game.

Penecale scored 17 points with eight assists, Hinton had 19, including the go-ahead 3-pointer and Robbie Heath had nine for the Galloping Ghosts, who defeated Chester for the first time since the 1982 district final and handed the Clippers their first District 1 playoff loss since 2010. The other six Ghosts who played combined for 10 points, but played key roles in the win.

“It feels good,’ Abington coach Charles Grasty said. “We talked about the game, we didn’t talk a lot about where Chester was and how everyone was talking about how they were a (No. 11) seed, we talked about the game and what we needed to do.’

Abington knew it was conceding some things to the Clippers, who brought plenty of height into Abington’s gym. But the Ghosts found ways to battle back and even took a 25-20 lead into halftime.

Hinton was the key in the first half, scoring 12 between the first two quarters while Penecale tried to find ways to break down Chester’s defense.The Ghosts went up 29-22 with 6:52 left in the third quarter, then hit a wall while Chester found its stride. The Clippers went to a zone that frustrated Abington while they scored 11 straight to take a 33-29 lead. A pair of Marquis Collins 3-pointers in the middle of the run put the Clippers up for the first time since they led 6-4 early in the first.

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