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Wassel, Crim lead Lansdale Catholic past Bishop McDevitt, into PCL quarters

LANSDALE >> Brady Wassel was not ready to be done Tuesday night.

“It was always in the back of my mind, I said I don’t want to end it here,” the Lansdale Catholic girls basketball senior said. “As much as I love playing on my home court, we want to keep going and we want to go as far as we can.”

In a tight battle with Bishop McDevitt in the first round of the Philadelphia Catholic League tournament, Wassel was a big reason the Crusaders’ season continues. The Holy Family commit scored 10 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter as seventh-seeded LC found away to get ahead of the No. 10 Lancers in the final period and stay there, pulling away for a 51-40 victory.

“We played them on our Senior Night and obviously emotions are running high that night but we knew coming into this game it was going to be the same battle, it was going to be a dogfight,” Wassel said. “They’re really tough players and they really play up on you and those are one of the teams you can’t underestimate. Each team in the PCL, every game is a battle so you can’t any team lightly.

“But I thought at first we started out a little tentative but once we stated to play our game and we didn’t let them dictate, I thought we handled it really well.”

Elan Wali collected the first four points of the fourth to give McDevitt at 36-34 lead but Wassel drained a 3-pointer to put Crusaders (16-7) up for good as LC proceeded to put together a 12-2 run — nine points coming from Wassel, including the last four for a 46-38 advantage with 1:53 remaining.

“She struggled a little bit in the first half. And her confidence stayed high,” said Crusaders coach Joe Mack of Wassel. “We kept encouraging her to shoot the ball and she really answered and did a great job tonight. And like I said in the locker room, she kind of put us on her back in the fourth quarter and carried us to the finish.”

Lauren Crim finished with a game-high 22 points for Lansdale Catholic, which advances to visit No. 2 Archbishop Wood in the PCL quarterfinals Thursday. The Crusaders are in the league quarters for an eighth straight season but have lost in the round each time.

“It’s a great opportunity Thursday to do something special and that’s how we got to approach it,” Mack said. “We got to go in there, we got nothing to lose. Archbishop Wood is a good team, but we got to go up there with no fear and just play our game.”

Wali paced Bishop McDevitt (7-15) with 14 points while Nyah Johnson had eight of her 10 points in the third quarter as the Lancers fell in the PCL first round for the second straight year.

“Just some mental breakdowns, fatigue cause we’re a small team. Turnovers,” Bishop McDevitt coach Steve Prescott said. “Then I would say in the third quarter what hurt us was midway in the third quarter — actually like three minutes, two minutes into the third quarter it was 4-to-1 with the fouls, So we got 4-to-1 already in the third quarter, you only need three more the team’s in 1-and-1 and that played a big difference going down the stretch.”

While Wassel provided much of the offense in the second half, fellow senior Lauren Crim did the same for LC before the break. The Chestnut Hill College scored 14 of her points in the second quarter thanks to hitting two 3-pointers and making 8-of-10 from the foul line as the Crusaders earned their second victory this season over McDevitt after winning 48-42 Jan. 16.

“It’s no secret, the story of us is we’re going to go as far as our two seniors kind of carry us,” Mack said. “I think Lauren, obviously, did the bulk of the scoring in the first half and then Brady stepped up in the second half. And again, those are two seniors, they want to keep playing, so it great to see them step up like that.”

McDevitt led 14-11 in the second quarter before Crim knocked down consecutive 3-pointers, beginning a 9-0 run that had the Crusaders ahead 20-14 after a Kristine Finkelston basket. Wali, however, connected on a corner triple to make it 20-17 with the Lancers pulling within a point twice before a Crim free throw with 12 seconds left gave LC a 25-23 lead at halftime.

“Our man-to-man was working, we just couldn’t stop 23 (Crim) from penetrating to the basket and she’s an excellent foul shooter,” Prescott said. “So when she get her way to the basket, she get touched, she’s out the foul (line) and that made a big different for us in the man-to-man. She’s a good player.”

The biggest lead of the third was just three, coming at 3:47 after a Wali free throw had McDevitt up 30-27. Wassel hit a three to tie it with the Lancers regaining the advantage 32-20 on a Johnson jumper. But baskets from Wassel and Carolyn Ferko had the Crusaders leading 34-33 entering the fourth.

“We played them earlier in the year and the game came down to the fourth quarter so to be honest with you I expected it a tough, close game,” Mack said. “And they just seem to match up well with us. I’m not surprised it was that close.”

Four straight from Wali gave McDevitt the 36-34 edge before Wassel’s 3-pointer had LC back in front. After a Finkelston free throw at 6:06, Wassel missed on a drive but grabbed the rebound and scored for a 40-36 lead.

“I play the best when I just don’t think about it,” Wassel said. “And I think I was thinking too much about missing one shot and when you’re playing, you just have to (think) ‘Next play, next play.’ And obviously, with the teammates penetrating and kicking the ball out and everyone just playing a team basketball towards the end of the game really helped us get a lead toward the end of the half.”

Dana Mizelle’s jumper had McDevitt within two but LC scored the next six — the last four by Wassel, the senior again putting back her own miss then making two from the line at 1:53 for a 46-38 lead.

A Mizelle putback cut the margin to six before Crim hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to make it 48-40 with 1:33 left.

Lansdale Catholic 51, Bishop McDevitt 40
Bishop McDevitt  10 13 9   8 — 40
Lansdale Catholic  9 16 9 17 — 51
Bishop McDevitt: Elan Wali 4 5-6 14; Nyah Johnson 5 0-0 10; Dana Mizelle 4 0-0 8; Nisea Burrell 1 2-5 4; Renee Clark 1 0-0 2; Jessica Francois 1 0-0 2; Totals 16 7-11 40.
Lansdale Catholic: Lauren Crim 5 10-12 22; Brady Wassel 6 4-6 18; Carolyn Ferko 2 0-2 4; Olivia Schneider 1 2-4 4; Kristina Finkelston 1 1-4 3; Totals 16 17-28 51.
Three-pointers: BM-Wali; LC-Crim 2, Wassel 2. 

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