PLYMOUTH MEETING - Shelby Mueller scored a game-high 18 points, and Maggie Locke returned from a three-week absence due to a concussion to grab a game-high 13 rebounds as Spring-Ford defeated Abington, 50-40, in the PIAA Class AAAA girls basketball quarterfinals March 14 at the Colonial Elementary School.
Spring-Ford (26-6) maintained the lead throughout the contest to advance to the March 18 semfinal round against North Allegheny, a 73-47 winner over Hempfield Area, at a site and time to be determined.
The Ramsí Twin Towers of Mueller and Locke outdueled Abingtonís tandem of 6-2 senior Michael Harris and 6-1 sophomore Leah Simmons inside.
Mueller shot 7-for-10 from the field and 4-for-7 from the free throw line to account for her points. She also pulled down seven rebounds (four offensive) and also had two blocked shots in 24 minutes of action.
Locke netted four steals, three blocks and two assists to go along with her huge night on the boards that included five offensive rebounds. The 6-0 junior played 26 minutes.
Senior guard Sammy Stipa finished with 16 points, one 3-point field goal, three rebounds, three steals and one assist as the Rams took a 15-10 lead after one quarter, 21-17 at halftime and 31-29 at the end of three periods. Spring-Ford outscored Abington, 19-11, during the final eight minutes.
Spring-Ford, the District 1 runner-up, won the battle on the glass, 32-24. But the Rams turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 24 times to 23 miscues by Abington (21-9), the sixth-place team from District 1 that was coming off a 53-43 upset of District 3 champion Wilson.
Mueller and Locke combined to harass Harris into an 0-for-9 shooting night from the field and just one point on a free throw during the fourth quarter. Harris, who is heaed to American University to play her college ball, came into the game averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds per outing. Harris did take down 12 boards (four offensive) and had one steal in 25 minutes of court time.
Simmons ended up with 12 points and five rebounds. Junior guard Deja Rawls paced Abington with 15 points.
The Rams got off to a fast start and kept up that energy and intensity throughout the game. Mueller had seven points in the opening quarter and 11 by halftime. Stipa hit for six points with her trey in the opening stanza.
In the first game of the doubleheader, West Chester Bayard Rustin (Dist. 1-4) upended District 1 champion North Penn, 55-40. The Knights will meet Cumberland Valley (Dist. 3-3), a 45-36 winner over Dover, in the other state semifinal game. ... Cumberland Valley is the squad Spring-Ford defeated in last yearís state championship game. ... The state championship game will be played on Friday night, March 21, at the Giant Center in Hershey at 6 p.m.