After their 47-42 victory over Sun Valley, the Boyertown High girls' basketball team was looking to continue their success. With a victory over Abington High School, they would qualify for the state tournament. That's something that they haven't done since 1996-1997 season when Kathy Allen, Amber Miller and Kristi Schellinger were playing for the Lady Bears.Unfortunately, the Lady Bears will have to wait until next year because they lost to the Lady Ghosts from Abington High School, 55-25 on February 13. The game was postponed one day due to Mother Nature causing problems and forcing schools to close early. With schools closing early Tuesday and Wednesday, the teams were unable to practice.

Coach Mike Ludwig had some concern coming into the game, not practicing for two days. "It's tough when you don't practice for a couple of days to get your rhythm," said Ludwig. "Basketball is a game of rhythm and it makes it difficult, but Abington had that too.

I'm not sure if they practiced yesterday (Wednesday), but they were off the day before (Tuesday). You need to come out and play the game."

The Lady Bears were unable to make shots during the first quarter and the Lady Ghosts got balance scoring during the first eight minutes of the quarter. They took a commanding 17-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Abington had two players, 6'2" sophomore Emily Leer and senior Casey Pritz, and utilized their capabilities getting six of the team's 14 points in the second quarter. Boyertown was unable to find the hot hand and scored five points in the quarter. The Lady Bears trailed 31-10 at the intermission.

"Things just didn't fall for us tonight and we knew that they were big coming in," said Ludwig. "They force you to make shots from the outside and they just didn't go in the hole for us. That dug a hole and forced us to press and it was hard to get the ball inside. They had a good defensive game plan."

The second half became a very quick paced game and the Lady Bears were pressing during the third quarter, trying to force the Lady Ghosts into turnovers and get some quick baskets to get back into the game. The pressure defense seemed to cause some problems for Abington. Boyertown got some turnovers, but were unable to convert them into points.

"We (coaches) knew that the girls had to attack them with some pressure. The unfortunate part was we were unable to turn that pressure into points," said Ludwig. "They did throw the ball away a couple of times, but we never translated that into points. They didn't steal a pass for a lay-up. It was more of a dribble the ball out-of-bounds type of thing. We got the ball back but didn't get into a flow or a real frenzy.

"We were trying to attack their weaknesses and their weakness weren't inside. We had to attack outside and try to make some things happen and be aggressive. They handled it and handled it well. Abington played very well and their guards handled it well. They got the ball inside when they had to and got scores."

The second half also became a very physical game with several Boyertown players going down. Fouls were called against Boyertown which roused the anger from the Bear fans.

Coach Ludwig was called for a technical foul after one of his players was on the ground and was called for the foul. The officials also called a foul on a Boyertown player who wasn't in the game, which was brought to the attention of the officials who switched the call.

"It's a physical game and you have two teams that don't want to lose," said Ludwig. "Anytime you have that, it's going to be physical and people are going to be aggressive. There isn't much that you can do about that, kids are just playing hard. Our kids are playing hard; their kids are playing hard; that's the way it's supposed to be."

The Lady Bears had one of the best seasons (15-10) in the team's recent history. "The girls worked very hard, and I'm really proud of them," said Ludwig.

He does lose three seniors, but there is still a good number back for next year. The future does look very bright for the Lady Bears.

"We've had a great group of seniors go through last year and this year and they have helped to build the program back to where we want it to be. We are still looking to move forward.

"The kids that are coming back now have something to look forward to and something to set their goals to. They want to continue to improve as much as possible. Hopefully, we will take the next step forward. I just can't say enough about this group of seniors and the amount of effort they have put in on and off of the court. They have really helped put Boyertown basketball back where it needs to be."

Phil Haddad is a free lance writer for the Times and all comments can be sent to writer-sprts@dejazzd.com

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