On Jan. 28, Abington Heights was in town to play Delaware Valley in basketball. I know that Abington is a very good team, and I also know that the Delaware Valley JVs are having a very nice season. So my focus was on the JV team in the hope this would be an exciting game.
Watching this game you were left sitting there and thinking, what just happened? What did I just see? This is because DV came out looking sharp, crisp, and very much like the superior team. They jumped out into the lead and looked like they would hold that throughout the entire game. The lead averaged between four to eight points -- okay, not a gigantic lead, but they held it convincingly.
At half-time, DV Junior Varsity was up 25-20.
There were some sweet plays that would give DV fans comfort -- nice rebounds, nice steals, nice passing -- but one play stood out when a DV player stole a ball that could be classified as grand larceny. He made a picture-perfect pass to Dan Anderson, who put up a spinning shot at the basket.
It sure looked good for DV, which held a 34-30 lead at the close of the third period.
Now my concern in this game was the usual height disadvantage that DV has had for the last three years, but this time Abington had not only the height but the bulk as well.
Well, the what-just-happened and what-did-I-just-see moment took place in the fourth period. A third of the way through Abidington tied the score up. DV struggled mightily to regain itself but suffered from some suddenly poor shooting and errant passes. Abington got red hot, and the taller, bulkier Abington players used their size to their advantage. After holding a convincing lead for almost the entire game, DV was suddenly in desperation mode. It was not going to happen though. Abington pulled off the unlikely victory with a 48-41 score.
Yep, I sat there wondering just how did that happen. It looked like a sure win for DV, only to end with a 7-point margin loss.
Oh well, it happens sometimes. But DV is still having a very nice season, so gain some solace from that.
The high scorer for DV was again Ryan Doherty, with 11 points, and Chris Cruz, who netted 9. Although Andy Guerin is the slickest ball handler on the team, I really took notice of something here tonight: every player on this JV team is really good at handling the ball. They all dribble very well and make some really slick moves. They are fun to watch.
Okay, now the Varsity game.
First off, I know what kind of a season Abington is having. They have some very impressive victories on this season's résumé.
They have beaten both Wallenpaupack and Scranton Prep. That alone speaks volumes. However, I am surprised at some of their losses. Still, it became obvious very quickly that this is a very good team. They are not giants, but they are overall a tall team and, again, with the added bulk.
They are very well coached, very well schooled, and very disciplined, and they have just enough talent to make it work. Each player seems to be at the right spot and at the right time. They pass well, rebound well, shoot well, but always seem to hit the open man making the right call. They also use their overall height and bulk to their advantage.
There is no reason to give a play-by-play account here, as Abington jumped out into a quick lead and just built on it all through the game.
First period it was 15-7, half-time it was 24-11,
Third period it was 38-18, and the game ended with Abington walking away with it by a score of 55-24. It could have been bigger, but Abington substituted heavily and pretty much held the ball toward the end of the game.
It must be said that DV was not flat. They did not play badly. They were not lethargic, and they never quit. They gave it all that they had, and you cannot demand more than that. They were just outmatched by a very good Abington Heights team that happened to have a great game tonight. It happens folks, so let's just take a deep breath and move on.
The problem is that there is another tough one coming up this weekend against Wallenpaupack, and it is in Wallenpaupack, and they are having a great season. It's going to be tough.