It was an unexpected and impressive run for the 18th-seeded Lady Ghosts, who pulled off a pair of upsets - including a win over the No. 3 seed a few days earlier - but the improbable ride through the district tournament finally came to an end on Saturday afternoon.
Overmatched in the paint and forced to foul often, Abington was never able to get much going on either side of the ball, losing 65-46 to host West Chester (Bayard) Rustin in a District One Class AAAA quarterfinal playoff.
With the loss, the Lady Ghosts (18-7), who already clinched a spot in the state playoffs, will now play Wednesday in a state seeding game, while the Golden Knights will continue to play for a possible district title."They have the best post player in the state,' Abington coach Dan Marsh said of Rustin's Adashia Franklyn. "She's unbelievably good, but we were tentative and I don't know if we were scared, but we were not our same aggressive selves. We have to play 32 minutes with an aggressive level and you can't come out and build yourself this kind of hole.'
The Lady Ghosts certainly did build themselves a huge hole in the first half, and it only got worse in the third quarter.
Abington led by one point midway through the first quarter, but Rustin, the No. 7 seed in the district, held a 9-5 advantage after eight minutes of play. In the second, Rustin increased its lead to 11 and took a 25-14 lead into the half.
Things got worse for Abington in the third quarter, as the Golden Knights went on a 10-5 run in the opening three minutes of the period, breaking the game wide open while building up a 21-point lead.
The Lady Ghosts managed to cut the deficit down in the fourth, but it was far too big to overcome."It was the errors we made and, of course (Franklyn), who is just unbelievable — by far, she's the best center in the state,' Marsh said. "I think we're capable of beating anybody in the state when we play the right way. They have to believe it and they have to come into games like this and play from the get-go. You can't take 16 minutes off and expect to win, and that's basically what we did. We took 16 minutes and got whooped up and down the court because of it.'
On a positive note for Abington, guard Deja Rawls scored her 1,000th point in the fourth quarter, and play was quickly halted to honor the junior on the accomplishment."It was great,' said Rawls, who finished with a team-high 20 points and now sits at 1,014 points on her career. "It was especially great because my family came out and supported me and I'm happy about that. I'm happy I reached my goal.'
Abington's Leah Simmons scored six of her 14 points in the second quarter and finished as the only other double-digit scorer for the Lady Ghosts. Michael Harris added six.
Franklin led the Golden Knights with 22 points, while Noelle Powell and Katie O'Hare added 15 and 13, respectively.
"I think everybody was kind of nervous,' Rawls said. "We were trying to get the jitters out and then in the second half, we pressed the ball and made turnovers and that's really what lost the game. We won't be as nervous (moving forward) as we were this game and we have to come out with less turnovers.'
With the loss, Abington will now host Central Bucks East next Wednesday night at 7 o'clock in a state playoff seeding game. CB East lost in another quarterfinal on Saturday to North Penn, which will face Rustin (24-4) in a district semifinal.
"I think we won 10 or 11 in a row at one point this year,' Marsh said. "We just have to start another streak.'
Abington (46): Rawls 5 9-15 20; Harris 2 2-4 6; Nolan 1 0-0 3; Lochner 0 0-0 0; Simmons 7 0-0 14; Vitelli 1 0-0 3; Deal 0 0-0 0; Bermel 0 0-0 0; Helm 0 0-0 0; Penecale 0 0-0 0; Gonzalez 0 0-0 0; Valleras 0 0-0 0; Nicholson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 11-19 46.
West Chester Rustin (65): Warley 2 2-4 7; Zavitsky 0 0-0 0; Polidore 0 0-0 0; Walls 2 0-0 4; Pitts 1 0-0 2; Warley 1 0-0 2; Powell 5 5-6 15; O'Hare 5 2-2 13; Franklyn 10 2-4 22. Totals: 26 11-16 65.
Three-point goals: Rawls, Nolan, Vitelli; Warley, O'Hare.
Abington 5 9 14 18—46
West Chester Rustin 9 16 20 20—65