Abington Friends shuts down Academy of the New Church

BRYN ATHYN >> The first quarter ended the same way as it began, with Khadijah Hickson swooping in for a steal, then speeding away to a fast-break basket.

“Our main thing is ‘grab and go,’” said Hickson. “As long as you have the ball, go. Keep your head, push it up the floor and try to get the easy points.”

Abington Friends was quickly on its way. Playing a smothering style of defense that triggered multiple breakaway baskets, the Kangaroos won their 10th straight Friday night at the Asplundh Field House, running away to a 57-13 victory over Academy of the New Church.

“Defense is us. It defines us,” said Hickson, who keyed that defensive effort to go along with a game-high 18 points. “We play man and we play zone, but it’s always aggressive. There’s never a time where we are slacking or use the defense as a time to relax.

“Even when we’re in zone, it’s an aggressive zone,” the senior said. “I think our defense is really what makes our offense so much better because we play such hard ‘D.’”

Abington Friends has been tough to score upon and again had balance on the offensive end in their Friends School League clash with the Lions. The Kangaroos ran their record to 14-1, including a 4-0 mark in the league. They’re tied for first with Friends Central and Shipley, both of which are also unbeaten in league play.

“It was a good win,” said Hickson. “That’s what we wanna do every game — come out strong. (On Thursday) we had a competitive game against Imhotep Charter (a 61-45 win), and that was our motto — get ahead and try to make the game easier.”

Several players stood out for the ‘Roos, including fellow guard Kendall Hodge, who added 10 points, including a pair of threes.

Paige Mott was a force inside and contributed eight points, and the Abington Friends bench finished things off late, with Mya Osborne connecting for a three and Paige Osborne scoring a pair of baskets.

The Kangaroos are humming along heading into a Sunday morning showdown with Merion Mercy at Philadelphia University.

“I couldn’t ask for a better senior season,” Hickson said. “Starting the season off, winning in double overtime (against Episcopal Academy), winning against these tough teams even with such a young squad.

“Probably no one would have thought we’d be where we are. But it’s just our connections and our bond on the court and off the court that makes the game easier. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so we try to make it easier for one another on the court.”

The Lions (0-4 league), who were led by Alexis Nakos’ six points on Friday, are hungry for their first league victory — they’ll get a shot at Germantown Friends on Tuesday afternoon.

“If you saw us in the first practice, compared to now, the girls have worked extremely hard and improved tremendously,” Lions coach Shawn Synnestvedt said. “(Tuesday) is a game that if we play extremely well, we could come out on top.

“It’s a definite goal to win a league game this year.”

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