Abington’s Anthony Lee
led the way with 19 points in the Ghosts’ victory.
(Photo: Mark Jordan)
Andrew Koob (@AndrewKoob)
A lot has happened since 1975.
39 years ago, then-U.S. President Gerald Ford escaped
two assassination attempts, Jaws hit theaters
and the Broad Street Bullies were putting the finishing
touches on their second-straight Stanley Cup.
It was also the last time the Abington Galloping
Ghosts found themselves in the state semifinals.
So it wasn’t a surprise to anyone at Colonial
Elementary School that the Ghosts were excited to
rewrite some school history, pouring onto the court to
make their first trip back to the semifinals in almost
four decades after beating Martin Luther King, 56-52.
“It feels great, you can hear the kids in there and
they’re enjoying it,” Abington coach Charles
Grasty said. “This is a high school and we’re
telling our seniors we’re not done with them yet. But it
just feels great to see the kids work their butts off
all year. Since open gyms, they’ve dedicated themselves
in the weightroom, running, me screaming at them for
months on months. So it just feels great.”
Abington was led by their top three scorers in
Amir Hinton, Matt Penecale,
who had 13 points and eight assists, and Anthony
Lee. Hinton made some school history of his
own, scoring 11 points and becoming the first Ghost
player to score in double-digits in eight straight
playoff appearances since former Abington and Utah Jazz
guard Junie Lewis did it seven
consecutive times. But it was Lee that led the way with
a game-high 19 points, shooting 8-of-13 from the field
and adding four rebounds and two steals.
“It feels good,” Lee said of the Ghosts’ postseason
run. “At first, they doubted us in the beginning of the
season, they thought we were going to do bad. Now look
where we’re at.”
With the score knotted up at 40 apiece at the end of
the third quarter, both sides had shots at putting
together a winning run. But it was the Ghosts, who
opened the final quarter on a 9-2 run, that struck
King had their chances at the end of the game to make
a comeback. Down by five, Cougar guard Jabri
McCall drew a foul from three-point range and
hit two. Down by three, King forced a turnover to get
the ball with 17.8 seconds remaining and a chance to tie
The first attempt, a Chase Rodgers
three-pointer from the corner, was blocked by Penecale
and the Cougars retained possession. With 10 seconds
left, McCall drew a blocking foul and hit one of two
from the free throw line.
With a two-point lead, Hinton received the ball and
was fouled. The junior hit the final two free throws to
make it a two-possession game and put the game away.
Lee, the senior who doubled as the Ghosts’ starting
quarterback for the football team, suffered a broken
left fibula during the football season and didn’t return
to the court until mid-January.
It took him some time to get re-adjusted after
sitting out so long, but the senior has progressively
gotten more comfortable. That led to his big day on one
of the biggest stages for the Ghosts.
“It was tough,” Lee said. “In the beginning of the
season, I just wanted to get back on the floor. Every
game out there, it just got better and better and now, I
think I’m almost 100 percent.”
“Anthony is a senior, we knew he would help us out
once he got healthy,” Grasty added. “He had that broken
leg and he kind of struggled, he came back and he wanted
to fit in well with the team and I thought he took the
backseat a little bit. Now, he’s a senior captain. We
need him and he knows.”
Before his injury, Lee was getting looked at by
several Division I schools for basketball. Now that he’s
worked his way back onto the court and shown that he is
back to his old self, those schools are starting to take
notice. Along with Division II schools Gwynedd-Mercy and
Kutztown, Lee says that he’s been hearing from
Lafayette, Monmouth and Fairfield.
“He’s a player,” Grasty said of the senior. “And we
know that he’s a player and he can knock down a lot of
In the second half of a game that the Ghosts found
themselves down by two possessions, Grasty flipped the
switch defensively and went to a press. The result was
turnovers that put the Ghosts in a good position to
capitalize on the other end.
“We had to. At halftime, we talked about giving
everything we have and we came out, pressed them, got
some turnovers and easy baskets in transition,” Grasty
said. “Coach Wilkinson and my former coach, [Dr.
John] Giannini, were here tonight. They always
say “teams that like to press don’t like to be pressed”.
We used that motto and we went after them.”
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