Abington Heights overcame many obstacles during their run in the district and state playoffs. The seventh-seeded Lady Comets defeated the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the District 2 playoffs to clinch a trip to the states.
They trailed by six points entering the fourth quarter last Saturday, before rallying to beat Allentown Central Catholic in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA girls basketball playoffs.
The latest challenge, West Perry’s front line of 6-foot-3 forward Gracie Stauffer, 5-11 forward Megan Smith, and 5-8 forward Emma Harris, proved to be too much to handle as Abington Heights fell to the Mustangs, 51-35, in the second round of the PIAA playoffs March 12 at Martz Hall in Pottsville.
The trio combined to score 36 points and grab 16 rebounds.
Smith, who finished with a game-high 22 points, established her presence early by scoring eight in the first quarter when West Perry took a 10-4 lead.
“I was impressed that she was able to do as much as she could against two and three people,” West Perry head coach Scott Moyer said. “We couldn’t get much going from the outside, so it was nice that she was still scoring inside.”
Abington Heights sophomore Mariah Tulaney, who led the Comets with 10 points and nine rebounds, scored four straight in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 13-10, but West Perry scored seven of the final nine points of the first half to lead 22-12.
“We came out flat, that’s all there is to it, and we couldn’t come back,” Abington Heights head coach Vince Bucciarelli said. “If you give that team momentum, they just fed on it. We had a couple miscues and you can’t have them at this time of the season.
“The last minute of the second quarter, we had like three miscues and that hurts you.”
Abington Heights (17-11) scored just five points in the first six minutes of the third quarter before Catie Nealon scored five in 40 seconds.
“We weren’t executing our offenses and scoring,” Bucciarelli said. “We were just out of sync.”
Nealon, a senior, reflected on the postseason success of the Lady Comets.
“I’m so proud of these girls,” she said. “As a senior, I tried to lead the way and the last few weeks have been awesome.
“It’s something I’ll never forget.”