Johns’ 23 points help North Penn hold off Lansdale Catholic

TOWAMENCIN >> Reece Udinski navigated around the perimeter, found a crease, hopped-stepped into the lane and converted inside.

That left the North Penn boys basketball team with two things left to do – defend and convert free throws.

The Knight did both. After Udinski’s basket broke a 39-39 tie late in the fourth quarter, North Penn did not give up a point to visiting Lansdale Catholic then pulled away by going 12-for-16 from the line in the final two minutes to earn a 53-39 non-league victory Friday night.

“Just a good win. I thought it was a real good win,” Knights coach John Conrad said. “We knew it would be a battle, LC’s a good basketball team and it’s always a rivalry game. And on the heels of last night I thought our kids showed a lot of heart and a lot of grit.”

North Penn scored the game’s first 11 points but had a harder time scoring from there, needing a desperation three-pointer from Noah Kwortnik at the buzzer to tie the Crusaders 23-23 at the break.

North Penn’s Reece Udinski pulls up to shoot during game against Lansdale Catholic on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Four straight points to start the third had LC up 27-23 in the third before Ricky Johns responded with a personal 8-0 run – the first six coming on back-to-back three-point plays – to put North Penn ahead by four.

“I was just hustling. Just putting everything on the line for my team,” Johns said.

Johns scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the second half as the Knights (5-2, 2-0 Suburban One League Continental) bounced back from a one-point loss to La Salle Thursday.

“It felt good. We had to capitalize off the loss yesterday,’ Johns said. “So you know this would be a big game, full crowd, doubleheader. So we had to come out here and take the win.”

A Johns free throw at 6:41 in the fourth put North Penn up 35-29 but Lansdale Catholic pulled level by collecting 10 of the next 14 points. Ryan Braun’s three cut the deficit to 39-37 while Mike Ottomano’s two free throws tied things at 39 with 3:07 remaining.

Udinski’s go-ahead bucket came as the Knights worked patiently in the half court. Udinski dribbled around the three-point arc before sliding between defenders and getting the ball to drop in after two bounces on the rim.

A Johns free throw at 1:45 put the NP lead at 42-39 and after the teams traded turnovers, the Crusaders went for the tie but the three from the wing in the final minute was off-target.

“We tied it, we just couldn’t execute down the stretch after that,” LC coach Joe Corbett said. “We couldn’t run offense, we threw the ball all over the floor. It’s just we did not take care of the ball well enough to win that game.”

North Penn made 11 of its last 12 free throws in the final 43 seconds – after missing nine of its first 13 in the fourth – to turn what was a close game into a 14-point win.

“Sometimes it’s just like a three-foot putt, sometimes it gets in your head and it goes,” Conrad said. “We work on it in practice, we don’t really talk about it too much Important thing is when it came down to the end our kids did make free throws. I thought AJ Mitchell really sealed the game for us from the foul line.”

Lansdale Catholic’’s Mike Ottomano dribbles along the baseline during the Crusaders’ game against North Penn on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Ottomano’s 16 points paced Lansdale Catholic (4-2) which had a four-game win streak snapped.

“I thought defensively we didn’t execute. We weren’t tough enough defensively. We gave up too many offensive rebounds,” Corbett said. “The bucket, the layup to go ahead by two, (Udinski) dribbled all over the floor and nobody could step in.

“I always thought we pride ourselves on taking charges and helping each other out and we didn’t have one charge that game. So that was for me an alarming stat.”

Both finish 2016 with holiday tournaments.  North Penn is in the Perk Valley Holiday Shootout, taking on Methacton 5 p.m. Tuesday then Perk Valley 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. LC plays in the Garnet Valley tournaments, opening with Sun Valley 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

A Johns putback gave North Penn an 11-0 lead but Lansdale Catholic scored the next eight before Johns ended the visitors’ run with two free throws. Chris Coleman’s jumper gave the Knights a 15-10 after a quarter.

Luke Godzieba scored in transition off a Noah Saba bounce pass to give LC its first lead at 17-16. North Penn went back up on a Coleman putback but back-to-back threes from Ottomano and Craig Rosenbeger put the Crusaders ahead 23-18.

“I think we got too lazy, too confident and then we started to play one versus five, to be honest,” Johns said. “But then we had to move the ball a little bit more.”

Johns hit a short jumper to make it 23-20 with North Penn getting a break at the buzzer. Kwortnik grabbed a loose ball in the air, heaved a shot well beyond the three-point line that banked in at the buzzer to tie the game.

Two Ryan Braun free throws had LC up 27-23 at 5:07 in the third but Johns converted two-three point plays in a 13-second span then scored in transition for a 31-27 NP advantage. The Knights went into the fourth leading 34-29 thanks to a Lance Ford’s three-point play on a drive into the paint at 22.6 seconds.

North Penn 53, Lansdale Catholic 39
Lansdale Catholic 10 13 6 10 — 39
North Penn 15 8 11 19 — 53
Lansdale Catholic: Mike Ottomano 5 4-4 16; Ryan Braun 2 2-2 7; Luke Godzieba 2 1-2 5; Starkey Gabel 2 0-2 4; Craig Rosenberger 1 0-0 3; Mo Kahney 1 0-0 2; Noah Saba 1 0-0 2; Jimmy Boccella 0 0-1 0. Totals 14 7-11 39.
North Penn: Ricky Johns 7 9-14 23; Noah Kwortnik 1 4-4 7; David Giuliani 2 2-4 6; AJ Mitchell 0 5-6 5; Chris Coleman 2 0-1 4; Reece Udinski 2 0-2 4; Lance Force 1 1-1 3; Derek Heiserman 0 1-4 1. Totals 15 22-36 53.
Three-pointers: LC-Ottomano 2, Braun, Rosenberger; NP-Kwortnik.

Top Photo: North Penn’s Ricky Johns goes up between Lansdale Catholic’s Luke Godzieba and Craig Rosenberger during their game on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply