By Tim Healey, Globe Correspondent
ABINGTON — The Abington boys’ basketball team made it interesting, but when the final buzzer rang Tuesday night, No. 9 Rockland came out on top again, 67-53, to improve to 13-1.
Bulldogs senior captain Tyler Gibson, a UMass-Lowell commit, led all scorers with 23 points, including 9 in the first quarter.
Rockland coach Fred Damon was not happy with his team, despite the win.
“We’re just not finishing teams when we have a chance to,” Damon said. “We missed way too many bunnies, didn’t reward ourselves, just sloppy play. But hey, it’s a win on the road.”
The Bulldogs led Abington (7-7), 23-12, after one quarter and 43-27 at the half. The Green Wave drew within 55-46, and had most of the momentum with five minutes left.
But with a teammate shooting a free throw, Gibson stood ready for the rebound, subtly rubbing elbows and jockeying for position with Abington’s Joe Buckley. Gibson grabbed the rebound before an emphatic dunk while drawing a foul from Buckley, his fifth. The play put the Bulldogs up, 57-46, and took away the Green Wave’s most dangerous weapon.
Abington’s 6-foot-7-inch senior Matt Diver scored 12 points and kept Gibson in check for much of the game, something the Rockland center is not used to.
"You don’t see too many 6-foot-7 kids who can jump and block shots and match Tyler’s athleticism," Damon said. "[Diver] did a good job tonight."
Up next for Rockland is South Shore League foe Cohasset (13-2) in what may be both teams' biggest regular-season game of the year.
“We have to play a heck of a lot better [against Cohasset],” Damon said. “We have to shore up our defense . . . We just have to do a better job shoring up some small things. We really do. Some decision-making process.”
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