**Note: This article originally published in The Reporter and on PaPrepLive.com**
ABINGTON >> The Upper Dublin boys basketball team held the lead for 4.5 seconds in its District-1 AAAA first round matchup Friday night.
Boy was it the right 4.5 seconds.
With his team down two and less than five seconds to go, Upper Dublin senior John Barrett nailed a corner three, giving the No. 27 Cardinals a 41-40 victory over No. 6 Abington to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
“It was definitely a broken up play,” Barrett said. “I thought I’d stick in the corner and make myself available…(Ryan Stover) has great vision, turned, pivoted, gave me my shot. Knocked it down.”
“We talk to him all the time and when he gets his feet set, more times than not it’s going in,” Upper Dublin coach Josh Adelman added. “I had a perfect angle. I knew that was going in.”
Abington’s final possession ended with Robbie Heath driving the entire length of the court and having his shot blocked at the rim by Will Derr to seal the Cardinals’ victory.
“Heath is such a crafty player,” Adelman said. “To see him break into the lane, your worst nightmares are happening, and then Will Derr comes and blocks a shot. It was just great.”
Offensively, Derr had 14 points on the night.
Barrett finished as the games’ leading scorer with 18 points on seven field goals, including one very big three.
“I always like having the ball in my hands,” Barrett said. “I actually didn’t shoot the three ball that well tonight…when I get close to that line I like to be pretty reliable.”
Barrett was also the driving force on offense for UD in the first half, scoring nine points with four field goals and a 2-of-4 performance from the line.
“(Abington) plays great defense. They’re really tough, definitely a really big team,” Barrett said. “What I saw was their bigs trying to stay out on the perimeter so if I could get past my guy, get one to the basket and get some confidence that way then stretch out if need be.”
“He’s a very good finisher,” said Adelman about his senior. “When that shot starts to go then they get off him a bit and it opens up his three. He kept us afloat.”
Eric Dixon proved to be a force inside for Abington, scoring 11 points to lead the Ghosts. The freshman had just one point in the second half, but Brian Close picked it up from there, as he scored eight of his 10 points in the final 16 minutes.
“We just wanted to be patient and play inside-out,” Abington coach Charles Grasty said. “That’s our style and the way we played this year…We settled down and were able to get some easy ones inside but, you know what, (Upper Dublin) did a good job collapsing on us and we missed shots and they were able to capitalize.”
Abington led from 2-0 through 40-38, with the game having just two ties along the way. The Ghost lead never grew to more than six on the night, however.
“We got a bunch of seniors that knew this was it,” Adelman said. “Whatever run (Abington) would go on we would have an answer…It was just a good team effort.”
Upper Dublin faces No. 11 Lower Merion in the second round of the District-1 AAAA playoffs Tuesday.
“It’s definitely a great feeling to get that win,” Barrett said. “We actually made a good football run so about four or five of us missed the first 4-5 games…I think we’ve been 11-4 since we started out 1-7. So we’re not, I guess, your typical 27-seed…To get a win at Abington, a rival, it’s awesome.”
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