CONSHOHOCKEN >> Sophomore Lauren Crim has had a great start to the year, but even for as hot as she’s been she wasn’t expecting to come out like she did Wednesday night. The Lansdale Catholic guard guided her team to a 75-57 victory over Pope John Paul II for the George Snear Holiday Tournament championship with a season high 24 points.
“I’ve never seen us score 75 points in a game before,” LC head coach Joe Mack said. ”Offensively, this was the best game I’ve seen these kids play, we’ve had struggles offensively but tonight we were able to put it all together.”
LC and the Golden Panthers faced off earlier this year, with the Crusaders pulling off a 47-42 victory, but this time was different. This time PJP had its leading scorer Gabby Troisi in the lineup.
Troisi scored almost at will, finishing with a game-high 30 points, but the key for LC was just to let Troisi do her thing and make the Golden Panthers shoot jump shots rather than get to the hoop.
“We tried to just keep them out of the lane the best we could and make them shoot jump shots,” Mack said. “They actually were able to make a bunch of jump shots but we said we’ll just pick out poison and try to make them shoot over the zone and it worked out.”
Even though the LC defense accomplished its goal, Troisi was extremely impressive. The senior not only scored almost at will, but had excellent court vision and often put her teammates in position to make an easy bucket.
The Crusaders’ zone was swarming to the ball early, forcing six turnovers in the first quarter alone and allowing Lansdale Catholic to jump out to a 14-8 lead.
A strong second quarter from Troisi brought the Golden Panthers back to within one at halftime, but the LC offense was just too much in this one as the Crusaders pulled away down the stretch.
Much of that was due to Crim, who shot an absolutely blistering 66 percent from 3-point range, finishing 6-of-9 from beyond the arc and leading her team to the win on her way to being crowned tournament MVP.
“I was really feeling it,” Crim said. “In warmups I just knew this was going to be a good night I could just feel it the whole time.”
It wasn’t just Crim lighting up the scoreboard for LC. Senior Abby Ward finished with 19 points of her own and was a huge focal point for the offense in the fourth quarter as they tried to slow down the pace and prevent a comeback.
Lansdale Catholic made it a point to get the ball to Ward and let her work her magic, often ending with a trip to the foul line, where she shot 70 percent on the night.
“She (Ward) is one of our seniors and our captain,” Mack said. “If we can get her the ball good things usually happen and a focal point of our offense is to get her the ball and we were able to do that.”
“Whenever we get the ball to her good things happen,” added Crim. “Whether it’s her scoring or kicking the ball out to someone it’s always good.”
The Crusaders have not gotten off to the start they were hoping for coming into the year, but they are optimistic that Wednesday’s 75-point outburst can propel them down the stretch and allow them to go on a run.
“After tonight I do (like the team’s progress),” Mack said. “I think we’ve struggled a bit to start this season but it seems like we’re turning a corner but it’s really important that we keep moving forward.”
LC will have its work cut out for them, as they face powerhouse Cardinal O’Hara in a Philadelphia Catholic League contest Tuesday.