If early results are any indication, experienced Abington will survive the loss of Emily Leer to graduation.

Leer, now at Villanova, was instrumental last season in leading the Ghosts to their first District 1 championship since 1975.

In the Ghosts' first two wins of this season - 47-18 over Wissahickon and 58-45 over Neumann-Goretti - returning veterans such as Aiyannah Peal showed they were ready to pick up where they left off last season, when the team was 25-5.

"Aiyannah did a great job in scoring," coach Dan Marsh said.

The two wins were in the Ghosts' own tournament.

"I told them, 'You'll have bigger targets on your backs this year,' " Marsh added. "We're not going to sneak up on anyone this time. That all comes with our success."

Peal was listening to her coach, too.

"We all know the other teams will be shooting for us, but I don't see any problems," Peal said. "If Jess [Schmidt], Chynna [West], and Jamie Shectman do their jobs, we'll be fine."

On the way to 700. Villa Maria Academy forced a bump in Downingtown East's bid Tuesday night to present coach Bob Schnure with the 698th victory of his long career.

There's no doubt, though, that Schnure will reach the 700 milestone shortly.

Even the usually laid-back Schnure acknowledged after East's 48-37 loss to the Hurricanes in their annual neighborhood battle that the 700 milestone is significant.

"There are other coaches I've read about who have a thousand or more wins, but the 700 says something about the success of all of us, the coaches, the players," Schnure said after running his 2-1 team through a practice for a game Saturday against Wilson of West Lawn.

"It's also a humbling experience. I probably have more losses than many coaches."

His record stands at 697-204 three games into the new season, his 31st. He started at Downingtown and then went to Downingtown East when the district split into two high schools.

In his career - he was the girls' junior-varsity coach at Downingtown first before taking over the head spot - he has won five PIAA titles, 11 District 1 crowns, and 19 Ches-Mont League titles.

"We're in a stretch of seven games in 14 days," Schnure said. After the Wilson game, the Cougars will open Ches-Mont play at West Chester East on Tuesday.

Heart wins. It wasn't the way West Chester Rustin coach Colette Dugan would have liked to start the season last Friday. The Golden Knights had to dig deep to beat Upper Dublin, 63-60, in three extra periods.

Rustin went on to beat host Upper Darby, 42-39, the next night to win the Royal Classic tourney.

"That was too early in the season to be playing triple overtime," Dugan said. "Heart won that game. We refused to lose."

Dugan attributed her team's success to aggressiveness on defense after a not-so-great beginning. The Golden Knights trailed at halftime, 31-22, before rallying. They held the Cardinals to 16 points in the next two periods and tied the score at 47 in regulation.

"We didn't have any flow in the first half," Dugan said. "I asked them what they needed to do. They have some pretty high IQs, and they figured it out.

"I began to wonder about legs and endurance, but after each extra period, they said they were ready to go."

Six-foot senior Mariah Powell had 22 points and 14 rebounds to lead Rustin.

"With Mariah, Sam Zang, Emily Hubley, and Emily Burke, we have four very capable seniors," said Dugan, who expects her team to be in the Ches-Mont League American Division hunt. "I think I learn more from them than they do from me."

The Inquirer TOP 10

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

Team Record

Records are through Tuesday.

Last week's rankings in parentheses.

1. Archbishop Wood (1) 0-0

2. Germantown Acad. (2) 1-0

3. Mount St. Joseph (3) 3-0

4. Prep Charter (4) 1-0

5. Council Rock No. (6) 0-0

6. Abington (8) 2-0

7. Penn Charter (10) 4-0

8. Council Rock So. (7) 1-1

9. Archbishop Carroll (5) 0-2

10. Cardinal O'Hara (9) 0-1

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Archbishop Ryan (0-0), Central (1-1), Cheltenham (1-1), Downingtown East (2-1), Downingtown West (1-1). Engineering & Science (2-1), Nazareth Academy (3-0), Neumann-Goretti (2-1), Spring-Ford (3-0), St. Basil (2-1), West Chester Rustin (2-0).

- Don Beideman
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Contact staff writer Don Beideman at 267-815-0733 or dbeideman@phillynews.com.