ABINGTON >> Despite being the hosts, it had been a while since Abington Friends won the Coaches vs. Cancer Invitational. That’s what makes a win all the better.
“I feel like it brings hope and a lot of pride to our school,” AFS junior guard Ace Bibbs said. “I feel like people want to come out and see us. Our fans come from all over the place…We host this tournament so I feel like we have to come and fight for our school. That’s our school name on the trophy…I feel like we did that tonight.”
Abington Friends played with pride and fight Thursday night, winning a tight game over Academy at Palumbo 65-61 and taking home the tournament trophy.
A pair of key Kangaroos showed up big against Palumbo, especially in the fourth quarter. Bibbs and junior Joel Arteaga combined to score 21 of the team’s 25 points in the final frame. Arteaga finished with a game-high 29 points.
“I just started to feel it. Getting my jump shot knocked down,” Arteaga said. “I missed a few shots early but got things going…I think it was just being patient. I’ve always been a scorer but it’s just a matter of being patient and letting the game come to me…I was rewarded by that patience.”
Arteaga’s reward was not only a team trophy, but the guard was also named the tournament’s most valuable player.
“It’s huge for us,” Arteaga said about his team’s win. “We started strong, then we had some slow spurts but I think we’re right back in it.”
Bibbs ended the game with 18 points of his own, and it felt like much more. The 6’1″ guard was constantly making momentum plays, most notably a dunk that got the home crowd buzzing after a slow start. Bibbs also had a few acrobatic layups and and-1s that kept his team fired up.
“He’s a kid that plays with a lot of emotion and heart,” Abington Friends head coach Steve Chadwin said. “He’s learning to play team basketball.”
Also making an impact on the scoreboard, Bibbs scored nine of his 18 in the fourth quarter. He connected on his final five free throws down the stretch as well. The performance earned him all-tournament team honors.
“It’s my first one,” Bibbs said about his award. “I’m very proud of it. I feel like I earned it.”
Earning all-tournament honors on the Palumbo side was Myles Carter, who ran the show all night for the Griffins. The senior had 19 points in the game before fouling out on a questionable charge call with just over 1:30 to play and Palumbo down three.
The first half was a bit of a struggle on both sides, with some missed layups, turnovers, and fouling defense. The pace picked up in the second half however. Both teams scored more in the fourth quarter than they scored in the first half. AFS won the fourth 25-23 after leading at the break 23-22.
Abington Friends led after each quarter, but the margin was always tight. The difference was the Kangaroos being able to knock down its final 10 free throws of the game, where the Griffins were missing foul shots throughout the fourth
“This is the first game where they played a very close game and they didn’t let it slip away,” Chadwin said. “We’ve made some progress in winning a close game and not letting the other team win it…We hadn’t won (this tournament) in a long time so it’s nice that the kids we’re able to do that.”