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Lansdale Catholic starts fast, finishes strong in win over Pope John Paul II

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TOWAMENCIN >> Lauren Crim sank two crucial free throws with 24 seconds to go, then came up with a steal moments later to lock up the victory as Lansdale Catholic held off a second-half rally by Pope John Paul II to win 47-42 in the season-opening Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament at North Penn High School.

The Golden Panthers, down by 13 at the half, closed to within 34-31 going into the fourth, but LC began the final quarter with a 6-0 run and never let the game out of its control.

“In the fourth quarter, I think we finally settled down,” said Crim, who led the way with 16 points, including five in the fourth. “In the third quarter, we were getting down and (PJP) had all the momentum. But eventually, we just settled down, held the ball, and took care of the ball.”

bob raines — digital first mediaLC’s Lauren Crim takes a shot on Friday night.

Lansdale Catholic’s Lauren Crim takes a shot during the Crusaders’ game against Pope John Paul II at North Penn on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

A jumper by Brady Wassel extended LC’s lead to 36-31 moments into the fourth, and then a drive to the hoop by Maile Erwin quickly made it 38-31.

The Crusaders were getting to the basket, and a drive by Carolyn Ferko gave LC a more comfortable 40-31 lead. But the Golden Panthers had one more rally left in them.

Back-to-back baskets by Stephanie Petery (game-high 24 points) and Gabby Troisi tightened things up at 40-35, and eventually Pope John Paul II would draw to within 44-42 with a putback by Petery.

But with 24 seconds left, Crim drew a foul and stepped to the line.

“I was really nervous when I first went up there,” she said, “but I just told myself, ‘you practice this all the time.’”

Both free throws fell through, and Crim then made a steal and hit one of two foul shots to provide LC a 47-42 lead with just seconds to go.

In desperation mode, the Golden Panthers tried to get a quick basket at the other end but Abby Ward finished off an all-around performance for LC by knocking the ball to a teammate just before it went out of bounds, giving the Crusaders possession as time expired.

“We look a lot better,” Crim said of the progression from practices to the season opener. “Sometimes, we’ve gotten off to a slow start but tonight we came out really fast.”

Ward delivered the first points of the night, driving to the basket for a 2-0 LC lead, and after free throws by Ward and Crim, the Crusaders extended their early advantage to 8-0 when LC grabbed a defensive rebound and popped it out to Emily Smith for the first three-pointer of the night.

Lansdale Catholic’s run extended to 10-0 when Crim scored on a fast break.

The Golden Panthers closed the gap to 10-7 early in the second quarter, with Rachel Yerger coming up with a steal and taking it all the way in for two.

The Crusaders got points from six different players in the second quarter to build a commanding lead. Kim Talley was big underneath with four points, Crim added five, including a three, and Laura Vetter fired a three-pointer from the corner that kissed the backboard and dropped in, extending the margin to 22-11.

LC went into the break up 29-16.

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