ABINGTON >> A press defense’s purpose is not just to force turnovers but also to send opposing teams out of balance.
“Especially a team like Upper Dublin that’s really well coached, their offense is going to be based on timing,” Abington girls basketball coach Dan Marsh said. “You can throw that timing off, if you can make them take an extra dribble then you can really mess them up.”
In the second quarter Tuesday night, the Galloping Ghosts’ high-energy pressure got visiting Upper Dublin a little off-kilter and it proceeded to pay big dividends.
Abington outscored the Cardinals 19-2 during the period to take a 30-12 lead into halftime and rolled to a 52-27 victory in the Suburban One League Liberty Division opener for both sides.
“I think yesterday in practice we really focused on defense and making sure we know where everybody’s supposed to be,” Ghosts junior Cire Worley said. “Being a help, guarding the ball, making sure we’re not chasing the ball and make sure we’re in help, so yesterday’s practice really prepared us for today.”
Worley, who was recognized prior to the game for her program-record 38 points she scored in the win over Germantown Academy last Saturday, paced the Ghosts (3-0, 1-0 division) with 18 points as they snapped a five-game losing streak to the Cards.
“I think it’s different from last year cause I think last year we just wasn’t ready to play but I think this year we was ready to play,” Worley said. “And we had no plans on losing this game.”
Jaida Helm and Jordyn Reynolds both added eight points for Abington, which knocked down nine 3-pointers – half of their 18 total field goals with Worley leading the way, draining three from beyond the arc.
“We have five breakdown players on the floor at all times, a lot of teams are going to play the way Upper Dublin did with one of two feet in the paint,” Marsh said. “So I’m like you guys got to be ready to kick and shoot. And we have some shooters so we’re going to get open threes we’re going to take them.”
The first quarter ended with Abington up 11-10. But the next eight minutes saw the Ghosts’ defense dictate their preferred faster tempo with missed shots and miscues by Upper Dublin (1-2, 0-1) enabling Abington to score the second quarter’s first 13 points.
An Amy Ngo basket finally ended the run but the Ghosts collected the half’s last six points – Helm providing four – to lead by 18 at the break.
“They speed you up,” Upper Dublin coach Morgan Funsten said. “Even when you don’t turn the ball over, sometimes you’re going at a speed where you’re not comfortable shooting the ball at that pace. You know, your body just moves at a speed it’s not used to moving and even if you maybe get what you would judge to be a good shot, sometimes you don’t have the energy or the focus or whatever to shoot it.”
The Cardinals scored the first five of the third to pull within 30-17 but did not record another point the rest of the quarter and Abington headed into the fourth up 38-17.
Ngo had 11 points to lead Upper Dublin, which looks to end a two-game skid Friday when it hosts Quakertown at 7 p.m.
“We have confidence our girls are going to keep getting better,” Funsten said. “It’s the message we’re trying to give to the girls. We got to just keep getting better, keep getting better and the start of our schedule isn’t doing us any favors with CB East, CB South and now Abington. It’s a tough start and Quakertown, PW, Wissahickon still waiting before break.”
Abington caps the week with a pair of road games, visiting Wissahickon 7 p.m. Friday then is at Jenkintown for a nonleague matchup 4 p.m. Saturday.
Two Ngo free throws gave Upper Dublin a 7-6 advantage at 4:08 in the first quarter before a Maya Johnson triple put the Ghosts up 9-7. Ngo’s basket knotted things at nine but two from Worley gave Abington the lead for good. An Aditi Foster foul shot at 1:05 made it 11-10.
After a Worley basket began the second quarter’s scoring, Dani Brusha and Reynolds connected on 3-pointers to push the Ghosts’ lead to nine. A Reynolds jumper and a Worley two increased the margin to 24-10 before Ngo finally collected the Cardinals’ first points of the period.
“Eventually our plan is just to wear them down and I think we did that,” Marsh said. “And we were able to start forcing some turnovers and they took a lot of bad shots that we want. And that’s what people don’t understand, like coming down ‘Oh I’m getting a wide-open pullup.’ That’s what we want whether you make it or not we’re going down the other way really fast.”
Trailing by 18 at halftime, the Cardinals came out in the third and ripped off five straight points – consecutive jumpers by Colleen Klammer and Ngo making it 30-17. Worley, however, scored on a putback then found Abril Bowser for a corner three. Another Worley basket and a Maura Day free throw at 51.8 seconds had the Ghosts leading by 21.
Abington 52, Upper Dublin 27
Upper Dublin 10 2 5 10 – 27
Abington 11 19 8 14 – 52
Upper Dublin: Amy Ngo 4 3-5 11; Colleen Klammer 3 0-2 7; Bliss Brenner 1 2-3 4; Geena Sarnoski 1 0-0 2; Kaitlyn Zacharia 0 2-2 2; Aditi Foster 0 1-2 1; Totals 9 8-14 27.
Abington: Cire Worley 7 1-4 18; Jaida Helm 4 0-0 8; Jordyn Reynolds 3 0-0 8; Dani Brusha 1 4-6 7; Abril Bowser 2 0-0 6; Maya Johnson 1 0-0 3; Maura Day 0 2-4 2; Totals 18 7-14 52.
Three-pointers: UD-Klammer; A-Worley 3, Abril Bowser 2, Reynolds 2, Brusha, Johnson.