Although St. Basil's Jackie Thompson can score - she went over the 1,000-point mark Saturday in a 48-38 Athletic Association of Catholic Academies win over Sacred Heart - the thing that catches your eye first about her is her ballhandling skills.
In last week's 40-31 league loss to Mount St. Joseph, Thompson split the Magic's pressure man-to-man defense on numerous occasions to get the ball into the frontcourt. She finished the game with 15 points, leaving her seven shy of 1,000 going into the Sacred Heart game.
Although she is naturally righthanded, she's just as adept dribbling lefthanded. Thompson says she owes that to watching her older sister Samantha, who is lefthanded.
"I'm small [5-foot-4], so I figured I'd better learn to handle the ball. I watched my sister so much that I learned to imitate her. That's why I can dribble so well with my left hand," Thompson explained.
It was a three-pointer from the top of the key that took Thompson over the 1,000 milestone. She had 999 points when she hit the trey in the third quarter. She finished with 14 points.
"The shot was off a [set] play, and I hesitated, but after it left my hand it felt good," Thompson said of the shot. "I wasn't thinking of the 1,000 points. I knew I'd get that sooner or later. I was just concerned about winning the game. Sacred Heart played really well."
Dan Marsh, who coached Abington to its first District 1 championship in 35 years last season, says this season has been a strange one. Injuries have not helped.
"Our record [11-7] is deceiving," said Marsh. "Our only two losses in the league [Suburban One National Conference] have been to [unbeaten] Council Rock North. Last Tuesday night we lost to them, 47-40, in overtime. We've been without some key players."
One of them is guard Chyna West. She suffered a concussion against Neshaminy last Tuesday and has not returned to the lineup.
On Saturday, Marsh got a call from senior Jessica Schmidt saying she was sick and would not be able to play against Methacton that day. Abington lost the nonleague game, 59-50.
Jamie Schectman, a key player from last year's district-title team, has been limited in her play because she needs arthroscopic knee surgery.
"She hasn't been practicing but is trying to help us out as much as she can in games," Marsh said.
Schectman plans to finish the season and then have the surgery.
"I've been rehabbing the knee so that I can play," she said. "I might do a few half-court drills, but that's about it. We don't expect to get a high seed [for the District 1 playoffs], but we're confident we can compete and make it to states again."
The District 1 Class AAAA playoffs will open Feb. 19 with a 32-team field. The AAA and A playoffs will start Feb. 22 and 23, respectively, with fields of 12 teams each.
The Class AA playoffs, which will have a five-team field, begin March 3.
Seeding for all classifications is determined by a power-rating system. Teams receive five points for each win; additional points for the winning percentage of all opponents on a team's schedule, multiplied by five; and bonus points based on the winning percentage of all opponents defeated by a team, multiplied by 12. The power rating is determined by dividing the sum of the win points, schedule points, and bonus points by the number of games a team has played.
In Class AAAA, nine teams from District 1 will advance to the PIAA playoffs. Three each will advance from Class AAA and A. One will advance from Class AA.