NESHAMINY — The sequence played out as needed for an Abington boys' basketball team searching for momentum, and a trio of Ghosts juniors led the charge.
Jiere Morrisey, Anthony Durham and Jordan Simmons each made key buckets during the closing minutes at Neshaminy, and Abington held off the Redskins, 43-41, Thursday night.
"We look at it as trying to step up and be leaders," Durham said. "We want the ball in our hands."
Abington trailed 23-9 at halftime of the Suburban One League contest, falling into the bad habit of taking quick three-point jumpers instead of moving the ball around the perimeter to create better scoring opportunities.
During the break, Abington's second-year head coach Charles Grasty reminded his team of the importance of selfless play that often eluded them last season.
"I stressed to them to make the defense work," Grasty said. "I wanted us to be more aggressive and take the ball to the basket. We were 0-for-7 from the 3-point range [in the first half], so we weren't going to win that way. We're better than nine points in the first half."
Using a full-court press, Abington started winning the transition game, following up baskets with steals for additional points.
Down 33-25 after the third quarter, the Ghosts galloped on an 11-2 run to start the final period. Included in that run was a Morrisey jumper from just inside the three-point line that pulled Abington within a point.
After a steal and a missed lay-up in traffic by Morrisey, Durham followed with a tip-in to put Abington up by one. Tyler Katz sank a jumper to regain the lead, but Jordan Simmons drained the second of two three-pointers to put the Ghosts up by 2. Another bucket by Morrisey gave Abington a four-point lead.
Neshaminy got a 10-footer from Ricky Schaffer, then regained possession with 28 seconds left in the game. A strong defensive stand by Abington forced the ball outside to Luke Carrezola, but his 15-footer fell short.
"That's all that matters," Grasty said. "A 'W' is a 'W.' We'll take it. To come in here and get a win like this is a great feeling."
Durham scored 10 of his 15 points during the fourth quarter, while Morrisey chipped in with 10. Simmons added eight. At 3-0, the early season success can only help build confidence after the team graduated seniors D.J. McFadden, Wes Rines and Vince Tranquillo in June.
"Our kids are playing hard and working together," Grasty said. "This group loves each other and it's starting to show. They were down at halftime, but they rallied together and pulled out a win. We have a lot of good players. I really like this team."
And they know each other well.
"Ant (Durham), Jordan and me have been playing together since we were young, so we have a chemistry," Morrisey said. "This year we're keeping it together and picking each other up."
Box score: 1 2 3 4 TOT
Abington (3-0) 5 4 16 18 43
Neshaminy (0-4) 12 11 10 8 41
Neshaminy: Tyler Katz 7 4-5 19; Richie Schafer 3 0-0 6; Shaquel Vaughn 2 1-2 5; Ryan Jamison 1 2-2 4; Luke Carrezola 1 1-2 3; Bobby Marterella 1 0-0 2; Chino Duru 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 8-11 41.
Abington: Anthony Durham 7 1-6 15; Jiere Morrisey 4 2-2 10; Jordan Simmons 3 0-0 8; Matt Penecale 3 3-3 7; Mike Griffin 1 0-0 2; Chris Ruhl 0 1-2 1. Totals: 17 7-13 43.
3-point shots: A-Jordan Simmons 2; N-Tyler Katz.