Abington shuts down Upper Dublin in 2nd half to win UD Holiday Tournament

UPPER DUBLIN >> Two of the more consistent teams over the last several years in the Suburban One League linked up Thursday afternoon when Abington met Upper Dublin on its home floor for the Upper Dublin Holiday Tournament final.

The Ghosts used a stingy defensive performance to pull away late from the Cardinals for 36-24 win.

“This is what we’re trying to establish — a defensive identity,” Abington coach Dan Marsh said. “Yesterday we held a team to seven points in the second half, this time we held them to five points.”

Upper Dublin took a 19-15 lead into halftime thanks in large part to Nicole Kaiser’s nine first half points. The Cardinals also gave no ground on the defensive end as they held the Ghosts to just 22 percent shooting in the first half.

The game continued to be a defensive struggle in the second, but the Ghosts defense rose to the challenge as they held to Cardinals to five second half points, three foul shots and a field goal from Kaiser, and 1-for-15 shooting performance. Despite Upper Dublin’s second-half offensive struggles it still had the game at a six-point margin with a little better than three minutes left.

Upper Dublin’s Demi Balasa looks to pass as Abington’s Michaela Coyle defends during the Upper Dublin Holiday Tournament championship game on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“I think Abington had a little more intensity in the second half,” Morgan Funsten said. “ I also think it was kind of the perfect storm for us offensively. Whether it was a dropped pass that was going to lead to lay up or just a couple missed open shots, but credit Abington’s defense, they played well in the second half.”

Offensively, Abington found away to put enough together to close the game out in the end. Point guard and tournament MVP Britany James gave the Ghosts six points, wing Sam Brusha contributed eight points with forwards Lizzy O’Leary and Kassondra Brown added nine and eight points respectively with both players grabbing six rebounds.

“They’re good defensively they’re always well coached defensively,” Marsh said. “They played a zone so we had to patient and take what they give us and finally it started opening up.”

Its fair to say that both Abington and Upper Dublin are both good teams still coming together. As both these team gel they’ll be threats come seasons end.

“We have to stay positive through this and if we do than we’ll continue to improve,” Funsten said. “The moment we start questioning what we’re doing, it’s going to be a miserable season if that’s our mindset. We’re trying to stay positive and I’m confident with the experience we have they’re going to pull the younger girls through this and we’re going to be fine.”

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