Brown, Greenberg lead Archbishop Wood past Lansdale Catholic in PCL quarters

WARMINSTER — With their precisely-run backdoor cuts and — this time around — hot shooting from the outside, Archbishop Wood was too big an obstacle for Lansdale Catholic to overcome on Thursday night, but the Crusaders never stopped climbing.

Resilient LC stayed close to perennial powerhouse Wood thoughout the entire first half in this Philadelphia Catholic League quarterfinal, on multiple occasions slimming the margin to as little as six points.

But the Vikings, talented and deep, played a tremendous second half to pull away to a 51-37 victory and advance to the PCL Semis.

“Wood’s a spectacular team,’ said LC coach Joe Mack, whose team closed out the season 13-11. “We knew coming in, with them being at home, they’d probably hit more shots (than in the regular-season matchup between the two). Unfortunately, we just couldn’t catch up to them. But I thought our kids played their hearts out. The effort was tremendous. They gave Wood one great fight.’

Led by Abby Ward and Kim Talley, the Crusaders battled through a tight first half. Wood, however, was able to get the early edge thanks to the play of Bailey Greenberg, who scored six of her 13 points in the first quarter in pushing the Vikings (19-3) to a 14-8 advantage.

“I thought we came ready to play,’ said Vikings interim coach Mike McDonald, whose team won 46-38 over LC in the regular season. “I was wondering if we were gonna come out right away and play well, and the girls came ready to play, especially Bailey.’

McDonald took over the coaching duties this week amongst tough circumstances, as former coach John Gallagher, who was in his first-year at the helm, resigned Monday while facing allegations that he sent anonymous emails to college coaches about the eligibility of players at Neumann-Goretti.

Wood responded Thursday with an inspired effort in order to hold off surging LC.

“I’m really, really proud of them. The kids are resilient and they showed it tonight,’ McDonald said. “We’re fortunate to have (senior) Aubree (Brown). She’s an incredible leader and the younger kids really look up to her. She kind of puts the team on her back.’

Brown, who had the game high with 14 points, hit a pair of threes in the first quarter and hit another in the fourth as the Vikings began to put the game away.

Erin Brokans, providing solid defense for the Crusaders as well as a team-high 11 points, helped LC claw to within 10 in the third, but Wood maintained a steady lead with not only the play of Aubree Brown and Greenberg, but with contributions from players like the 5-foot-5 Karly Brown, whose speedy drive to the basket helped push the lead to double digits.

“It’s not just their starting five that can kill you,’ said LC point guard Sammi Winslow. “That’s definitely tough, and Bailey Greenberg’s a great player all the way around.’

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