EXETER — In a tight battle entering its final minute, an Abington Heights player missed a free throw, raced through a thicket of Crestwood Comets and came up with the rebound.
Now you know one reason why Abington Heights is going to the District 2 Class 3A semifinals and Wyoming Valley Conference Division I champion Crestwood is going home.
Another big one was Breanna Toro, the 6-foot-2 center who scored a game-high 16 points at Wyoming Area High School to lead sixth-seeded Abington Heights past No. 3 Crestwood, 38-28 and into a matchup with Holy Redeemer on Wednesday in the district semifinals.
“They got the most loose balls, box-outs and foul situations,” Crestwood coach Pat Brogan said. “They wanted it a little more today.”
The Crestwood Comets wanted a crack at second-seeded Redeemer and two more games — at the very least playing for District 2’s No. 3 slot in the PIAA state tournament. Instead, they’ll have to settle for a WVC title, an appearance in the district quarterfinals and a season-ending 18-6 record.
“Winning the conference championship was certainly a highlight, winning a district playoff game is certainly a highlight,” Brogan said. “At 18-6, we set the bar pretty high for the next couple years. I thought we got better. I think Crestwood basketball’s in good shape.
“It was a great year.”
Just not such a great ending.
Crestwood got a tremendous effort from 6-foot-2 senior Rebecca Rutkowski, who hauled in 17 rebounds and led the team with 12 points. But she received little support, at least offensively, and finished as the only Crestwood player in double figures.
“We weren’t running well,” Brogan said. “We stopped fast-breaking, stopped playing the baseline like we usually do. We didn’t attack the baseline hard. Credit them, they did a good job defensively.”
A big part of the problem for Crestwood was the inside wall set up by Toro and 5-10 Nicole Getz, who continually slapped away shots and closed paths to the basket just about every time Crestwood tested the paint. Ritsick, Crestwood’s leading scorer, was limited to eight points — with six coming on a pair of three-point goals.
Still, Crestwood fought off an early 8-2 deficit to close within 8-7 by the end of the first quarter and took a 15-14 lead late in the second on Dallas Kendra’s three-point field goal.
Ritsick’s second trey with 3:03 to play in the third quarter evened the game at 24-24, but Crestwood managed just four more points — on baskets by Rutkowski and Maury Cronauer — over the final 11 minutes.
“It was part them, part us,” Brogan said.
Abington Heights 38, Crestwood 28
ABINGTON HEIGHTS (38) — Maura Nealon 2 0-1 4, Catie Nealon 1 2-8 4, Nicole Getz 3 4-6 11, Breanna Toro 8 0-0 16, Liz Bamford 0 1-2 1, Bobbi Benson 1 0-0 2, Mariah Tulaney 0 0-0 0, Grace Evans 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 7-17 38.
CRESTWOOD (28) — Dallas Kendra 1 0-0 3, Maury Cronauer 2 1-2 5, Taryn Wojnar 0 0-0 0, Maddie Ritsick 3 0-0 8, Rebecca Rutkowski 5 2-4 12, Abbie Macko 0 0-0 0, Heather Muse 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 3-6 28.
Three-point goals — AH 1 (Getz); CRE 3 (Ritsick 2, Kendra).