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Abington tops Wissahickon, Marsh collects 400th win

LOWER GWYNEDD >> Khalis Whiting couldn’t wait to get back on the court.

The Abington junior point guard could only watch as other teams in the area finally got their basketball seasons underway over the past week, but her time finally came on Friday. Whiting and the Ghosts wasted little time showing just how eager they were against WIssahickon.

A fast start led to a 58-32 win for the Ghosts over the host Trojans as Abington coach Dan Marsh collected his 400th career win.

“We’ve got a lot to prove this season,” Whiting said. “It was very frustrating watching everyone else get to play but we kept working by ourselves and waiting to get back in the gym when we had the opportunity. We’re just ready to work.”

The victory was Marsh’s 300th at Abington, where he has guided the program to two District 1 titles and a ton of postseason appearances. His first 100 victories came at Akiba Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr.

“It’s just crazy,” Marsh said. “It’s a combination of great staff I’ve had and the great players we’ve had over the years. I’ve been blessed at Abington to have great players, it’s nice but there are some other wins we’d rather have.”

The Ghosts, who have just three seniors on the roster and only one in the starting lineup, had plenty of reason to be excited about this season. Aside from Whiting, who committed to Temple earlier this school year, Abington returns two potent wing scorers in sophomores Cire Worley and Jaida Helm and a lot of depth.

Wissahickon, which was coming off a nice season-opening win against Springfield Township, struggled with Abington’s defensive pressure early as the Ghosts opened on a 16-0 run. With their preseason twice interrupted by shutdowns, the Ghosts aren’t quite up to speed and Marsh made several hockey-style line change substitutions throughout the game.

“It’s still pretty sloppy, I think we had 14 missed layups, but it’s good to be back playing, that’s the important thing and what we focused on,” Marsh said. “It’s one game at a time and trying to make sure we stay safe.”

While the Trojans had trouble handling Abington’s aggressive defense in the first half, the host team did settle in after halftime. Leah Dubin and Kylie Friedman primarily handled the ball for Wissahickon and both were hounded by Abington defenders but continued to be aggressive and look for teammates.

Dubin led the Trojans with 10 points while forward Kaitlyn McGeary finished strong with all eight of her points coming in the fourth quarter. The Trojans were able to reconfigure their weekend schedule and will face New Hope-Solebury on Saturday.

“I liked the fact my girls came back in the second half, found their composure and got it together,” Wiss coach Rodney Cline said. “They scored three times the amount of points in the second half that they did in the first half. It’s one game, we’ll move forward.”

Helm stuffed the stat boxes for Abington, leading all scorers with 19 points to go with 10 rebounds, six steals and two blocks. The sophomore had a really impressive play in the second where she snared a shot attempt out of mid-air then fired a long outlet pass up the floor as part of an energetic effort.

Worley wasn’t far off the pace, scoring 18 points while Whiting chipped in eight with five steals and four assists. Abington got 13 players into the game including a few freshmen and Whiting said a team unity helped bridge the gap during the preseason shutdown periods.

“We just stayed in contact and kept our hopes up,” Whiting said. “We kept telling each other as soon as we got in the gym, we were going to give our all and go 100 percent.”

Marsh said Whiting has come back a more mature player, both physically and emotionally but added that she also has plenty more room to grow. The junior echoed the same sentiment and part of her motivation for this season is to prove she’s nowhere near her ceiling.

Both of Whiting’s parents are Temple grads so when the university extended her an offer to play basketball, it was too good to pass up on. Whiting said the campus and team “felt like home,” and she knows it puts an extra layer of responsibility on her that she wants to extend to her teammates.

“I just want more,” Whiting said. “I have more to prove. I’m a young buck myself, I’m small but I have a lot of game and I’m trusting myself, my teammates and all my coaches to make me better.”

ABINGTON 19 13 11 15 – 58
WISSAHICKON 5 3 9 16 – 32
Abington: Cire Worley 7 2-2 18 Jaida Helm 8 2-3 19, Khalis Whiting 4 0-2 8, Abril Bowser 1 0-0 2, Maura Day 0 2-4 2, Jordan Reynolds 2 0-0 5, Ashley Reilly 1 0-0 2, Lila Stonehouse 1 0-0 2, Sarah Oleary 0 0- 2 0. Totals: 24 6-13 58.
Wissahickon: Leah Dubin 3 4-6 10, Kylie Friedman 1 0-3 2, Julia Verrier 1 4-4 6, Kaitlyn McGeary 4 0-0 8, Hyatt 2 0-0 6. Totals: 10 8-13 32.
3-pointers: A – Worley 2, Helm, Reynolds; W – Hyatt 2.

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