By: Jordan Hirsh
February 23, 2023
ABINGTON, PA. – The 11-seed Pennsbury Lady Falcons defeated the 6-seed Abington Galloping Ghosts in the second round of the PIAA 6A District One playoffs on Wednesday, 51-39.
Coming into this one, Pennsbury knew their suffocating, two-three zone defense was going to be put to the test by an Abington team that regularly puts up scores north of 60, or even 70.
This was a matchup of two teams with very different styles of play. The Lady Falcons, a team that likes to slow it down and beat you on the defensive end, and the Galloping Ghosts, who look to speed teams up with their full-court press, coupled with extraordinary scoring.
Early on, Abington controlled the pace of play. They ran the full-court press nearly every time Pennsbury had the ball, and it worked. They forced the Lady Falcons into 11 first half turnovers.
Despite this, Pennsbury only trailed by one at halftime, 25-24, although, Abington was clearly the better team. Foul trouble also plagued the Lady Falcons in the first half. They committed 13 fouls and sent the Galloping Ghosts to the line for 15 free throws (10 were made).
In the third quarter, Pennsbury showed signs of improvement. They handled the press much better, and only committed 2 fouls. This allowed them to start slowing the game down and start playing at their pace.
Entering the fourth, the Lady Falcons still trailed, 32-30. However, an 11-0 run quickly changed that. Sparked by their captains, Sofia Vitucci and Nevaeh Dash, Pennsbury turned what was a two point deficit, into a nine point lead in just over four minutes. They continued to add on by hitting clutch free throws and playing solid defense, and in the end, were able to complete the comeback.
As mentioned earlier, the major pregame storyline was if the Lady Falcons’ defense could handle the Abington offense. Well, they held Abington’s all-time leading scorer, senior guard/forward Cire Worley, to 13 points, and just 5 in the second half. As a whole, Abington scored just 14 points after halftime.
The Lady Falcons were led by Vitucci, who finished with 24 points. As a result, she was named co-player of the game, along with Nevaeh Dash.
“I had a rough start,” said Vitucci, who actually was held off the scoreboard in the first quarter. “I kinda got in the grove of things and I picked up on momentum.”
As for the other co-player of the game, Nevaeh Dash, she finished with 15 points, 12 of which came in the final quarter. All season, Lady Falcons’ head coach, Frank Sciolla, has talked about the clutch factor that Dash brings to the table.
“She was able to make her free throws, she had a big finish. You need that from your seniors. Nevaeh Dash has played in so many playoff games,” said coach Sciolla postgame. “Nothing, I think, should phase her.”
The Lady Falcons will now play host to the 19-seed Upper Dublin Cardinals on Saturday, as a result of their upset victory over 3-seed Plymouth-Whitemarsh, in the PIAA 6A District One quarterfinals.
Nevaeh Dash’s message to Pennsbury fans for Saturday: “Be there or be squared.”
The win also propelled the Lady Falcons into the PIAA 6A state playoffs. After the game, the team popped “champagne” (water) in the locker room to celebrate.
The message from the coaches to players and fans: “We didn’t come this far to come this far!”