In one of the first key battles of the girls' basketball season involving a pair of teams in The Inquirer's weekly Top 10, Council Rock North went on an 11-2 run midway through the third quarter to pull away for a 60-37 win over host Abington in their Suburban One League National Conference matchup Tuesday night.
Both teams were playing without key players. Abington was without Aiyannah Peal and Sarah Listenbee, its two top scorers. Both were suspended for one game for their involvement in a shoving match in the Ghosts' previous game, with Neshaminy last Friday. Two Neshaminy players were also suspended.
North's Megan Cunningham and Emily Grundman were among the missing for the Indians, because of illness or injury. The Indians' Devin Gold played but was dealing with a virus.
"Devin texted me this morning and said she was up all night," said Indians coach Lou Palkovics, who knew that Peal and Listenbee would not be playing for Abington. "I was beginning to wonder who we were going to have."
Fortunately for Palkovics, Gold's younger sister, Lauren, stepped it up. She led all scorers with 22 points, including 12 in the final quarter. She also had seven steals - three of which she converted directly into baskets - and three assists.
"With our situation, I knew I had to step up," Lauren Gold said. "It was a difficult situation."
Abington, the defending District 1 Class AAAA champion (3-1), led much of the first half, but never by more than seven points. North (2-0) was nursing a 27-26 lead early in the third quarter when it went on the 11-2 run. By the end of the period, North was up by 10.
Jessica Schmidt led Abington with 16 points.
Abington, which was 25-5 last season and won its first District 1 championship since 1975, had no answer for the second-half pressure the Gold sisters applied and the added work of Alyssa Dumont, who scored 16 points. Sixth-seeded Abington ousted No. 3 seed Central Bucks East, No. 2 seed North, and top-seeded Cheltenham en route to the district title last season.
Although the Indians didn't start their season until Dec. 17, a week later than most other area teams, they will more than make up for it through the next week. On Dec. 28-29 they will be at the Wildwood Convention Center to play in the Boardwalk Cup. They will open against Camden Catholic. On Dec. 30 they will remain in the convention center to take on Scotch Plains-Fanwood (N.J.) in the Boardwalk Classic Showcase.
Abington, which won its first three games of the season against Wissahickon, Neumann-Goretti, and Neshaminy, will go to Altoona next week for a tournament.
Council Rock North 12 10 19 19 - 60
Abington 14 9 8 6 - 37
CRN: Devin Gold 8, Alyssa Dumont 16, Lauren Gold 22, Storjohann 4, Alyssa Jett 3, Helena Gemmell 7.
A: Jessica Schmidt 16, Chynna West 12, Jamie Shechtman 3, Francesca Montrosso 6.