Abington rallies past Pennridge for SOL titleFebruary 12, 2019 4:16pm

Feb. 12--BENSALEM -- Pennridge went into Monday's night's Suburban One League Tournament championship game looking to make a statement.

The Rams thought they could play with SOL National champ Abington, and they didn't come to just be competitive and earn a moral victory. They were playing to win.

For 3 { quarters, the Pennridge game plan worked just fine as it held an eight-point lead with five minutes remaining. Its zone defense had slowed the powerful Abington offense and an outstanding third quarter from senior center Jon Post put the team in position for the upset.

At that point, however, Abington turned on the switch, first defensively by forcing turnovers and then with a pair of key 3-pointers by senior Darious Brown, as the team rallied all the way back and ran away for a 62-52 victory in a game played at Bensalem High School.

"It was tough," said Galloping Ghosts coach Charles Grasty. "They're a good team. Pennridge is very good. They made us dig deep tonight."

Both teams are headed to first-round byes in the upcoming district Class 6A tournament, and will be off until Feb. 19. Monday was about proving which team was the best in the entire Suburban One League. For Pennridge, it was about proving that it too is worthy of some of the accolades usually used for District One powers, such as Abington.

"We know all their players," said Post "We want more than anything to play teams like that, with all those great players."

Post scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, despite being on the bench for much of the first half in foul trouble.

"We had extra drive because we think Pennridge can play with anybody, and for three quarters, that game was ours," Post said.

Pennridge (21-3 overall) shot just 35 percent from the field, was out-rebounded 26-13, had the aforementioned foul trouble to inside players Post and Trent Fisher. THey didn't appear capable of handling Abington all-state big man Eric Dixon. Despite all of that, the Rams trailed by just one point, 24-23, at halftime.

A 10-0 run early in the third quarter, with nine points in the paint by Post, completely changed the complexion of the game.

"I think the kids played their hearts out," said Rams coach Dean Behrens. "They came out with a lot of energy. I don't think they backed down at all."

Pennridge's lead was 50-42 with 5:04 remaining in the game after a Sean Yoder bucket in the paint. It looked like the Rams were in position for the huge upset.

At that point, Abington (23-1) turned it on. Dixon (27 points, 17 rebounds) scored on put-back bucket, Manier Waller converted after a steal, Dixon had another put back and then Brown hit back-to-back 3-pointers. By the 2:20 mark, the Ghosts had turned that eight-point deficit into a 54-52 lead.

"Defense was really big for us," Waller said. "We all stepped up defensively. I just try to hustle and bring energy to the game for my team."

Those two 3-pointers by Brown ended a long stretch of futility against Pennridge's 2-3 zone too.

"You have to have a shooter's mentality," said Brown, who scored 13 points. "I just had to trust all the work I've put in."

In all, after getting outplayed for 3 { quarters, Abington ended the game with a 22-2 run.

"We stayed the course," Grasty said. "Our guys didn't panic. We knew we were getting shots, and eventually they would fall. I think we were 0-for-8 from 3-point range in the first half. We stayed with it."

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