"We're OK. We're OK. We're OK."
Dan Marsh repeated that refrain to his Abington girls' basketball team as they huddled on the bench at the end of the third quarter.
The Ghosts had cut Mechanicsburg's lead from 11 points down to five.
They had overcome a slow start, poor shooting, and a seven-point first half to get themselves within two possessions.
So yes, compared to where they were at the start of the contest, Abington was most definitely OK.
Propelled by Deja Rawls and Lizzie O'Leary, the Ghosts mounted a gritty comeback at Coatesville, and defeated Mechanicsburg, 35-31, in the second round of the PIAA Class AAAA tournament.
"That's a good basketball team," Marsh said. "I'll take that win. As ugly as it was, I'll take it."
The Ghosts (26-5) struggled offensively from the start, converting only three field goals in the first 16 minutes. But in the third, O'Leary scored nine of her team's 11 points, igniting the comeback with some nice moves down low and sharp shooting.
"I knew I had to step up tonight, and everything I did was for the seniors," the sophomore forward said. "They deserve one more game. It's not their time to be done. They need more games - it's their year."
Rawls, a dynamic offensive threat in her own right, didn't have the first half she was accustomed to on Tuesday night. So, the Siena recruit used her explosiveness to get to the hoop.
It paid off.
"I knew my shot was off in the first half," said Rawls, who finished with 11 "So, I was like, attack, look for the kick and just make foul shots.
As they crawled back possession by possession, defense kept the Ghosts in the game. They swarmed the bigs for Mechanicsburg (23-4), while pressuring the guards.
O'Leary had the task of guarding American recruit Cecily Carl, a 6-foot-3 forward who can shoot the jumper. With some help-defense from Leah Simmons and Bre Bermel, they held the senior to three points.
"Lizzie was unbelievable," Marsh said. "She shut that kid down - amazing job. I'm so proud of Lizzie."
In Friday's quarterfinals, the Ghosts will face off against Cumberland Valley, the defending Class AAAA state champions.
Abington got the ugly one out of the way Tuesday.
They'll be OK.
Mechanicsburg 8 8 7 8 - 31
Abington 2 5 11 17 - 35
M: Jordan Hertz 14, Kourtney Landis 8, Cecily Carl 3, Suzy Badorf 3, Kyra Skurcenski 3.
A: Deja Rawls 11, Lizzie O'Leary 11, Sammy Lochner 8, Leah Simmons 5.