Abington moves on after mini-skid

Posted: January 24, 2013

Eventually, Anthony Durham hopes, he and his teammates will be able to look back at a miserable weekend and call it the turning point to Abington's season.

Last Friday, the Ghosts were surprisingly trumped by Council Rock South, 67-54, in a Suburban One League National Conference matchup. A day later, they bowed to neighboring Cheltenham, 56-54, in a nonleague tilt.

Durham was asked if Abington coach Charles Grasty went ballistic after the losses or made his players run suicide drills in practice.

"Nah," the 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior guard said. "He just sat us down and told us that we have to play harder and that everyone, from the starters to the last guy on the bench, has to step it up."

Tuesday night, with Durham producing a team-high 14 points and eight rebounds, Abington bounced back in National Conference action with a 55-53 overtime triumph against visiting Council Rock North.

"After beating them at their place last month, we knew they were going to give us a fight," Durham said. "We won because we played a little bit harder than them at the end."

The difference was Jordan Simmons' left-side bank shot with 1 minute, 18 seconds left in the extra session.

Grasty's take on the back-to-back losses to C.R. South and Cheltenham?

"Now, the guys know," he said. "We can win on any night, and we can lose on any night. We have to take care of business."

Against C.R. North, Durham shot 6 for 15 from the field (0 for 3 on three-point tries) and 2 for 2 from the foul line. He added six assists and three steals. One of his eight boards came on the offensive end.

"He's supercompetitive," Grasty said. "He wants to win every loose ball, every game. And he's a gym rat. He's in here shooting every chance he gets."

The Ghosts (12-4 overall, 8-1 conference) are looking to claim their first league championship since 2002-03. That season, they shared the National Conference Patriot Division crown.

Junior guard Anthony Lee delivered 16 points off the bench, including three treys, against C.R. North; Simmons, a senior guard, chipped in 11 points and eight boards; and senior guard Jiere Morrisey (10 boards) and sophomore swingman Matt Penecale (five boards, two blocks) each scored seven.

Durham, who played AAU ball with the Hunting Park Warriors, has scholarship offers from Hofstra, New Hampshire, and St. Francis (Pa.). He is averaging 14.9 points.

The second-year starter is scheduled to visit Hofstra on Saturday. He also has received varying degrees of interest from Florida Atlantic, George Mason, Long Island, Morgan State, Northeastern, and Quinnipiac.

"I plan to take all of my official visits after the season," Durham said. "I'm in no hurry. I want to make sure I pick the school that will give me the best chance to fulfill my potential."

Super Sunday. The FamJuice Scholastic Play-by-Play City Classic, which will feature five Public League squads, is set for Sunday afternoon at Ben Franklin.

At 3:15 p.m., in the marquee contest, Rysheed Jordan and Vaux will face Aquille Carr and Princeton Day Academy (Md.) The 5-7 Carr, a Seton Hall recruit known as the "Crimestopper," played the last two seasons at Baltimore's Patterson High.

Here is the rest of Sunday's lineup:

Central vs. Communications Tech, 1:30 p.m.

Martin Luther King vs. Math, Civics & Sciences, 5 p.m.

Tap-ins. In 16 games for Springfield (Delco), Kevin McCormick has drilled 48 three-pointers. . . . La Salle's Steve Smith (40) and Pat Cooney (28) have combined for 68 treys. . . . In Great Valley's 16-0 start, Mikal Bridges has averaged 20.9 points. . . . For West Chester Henderson, twins Jason and Chas McCormick are averaging 18.8 and 15.7 points, respectively. . . . Downingtown West's Blair Wilkins (21) and Matt Long (20) have combined for 41 treys.

Penn Wood's leading scorers are Tyree Bynum (20.9 ppg.) and Secean Johnson (16.3 ppg.). . . . In 14 games, Holy Ghost Prep's Jack Kalmes (14 ppg.) has hit 21 treys. . . . Harry S Truman's Merdic Green is averaging 21.9 points. . . . Archbishop Carroll's Derrick Jones, a high-leaping sophomore forward, is averaging 13.4 points.

Contact Rick O'Brien at robrien@phillynews.com, or @ozoneinq on Twitter. Read his blog, "The O'Zone," at www.philly.com/ozone

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