Crim’s 18 separates Lansdale Catholic from Mount St. Joseph in Snear final

CONSHOHOCKEN >> Lansdale Catholic and Mount Saint Joseph Academy are two teams that understand their defense is the biggest factor in how far their seasons go.

Defense is important, but at some point, they’re going to have to score the ball as well. When the teams met Wednesday night in the championship game of the George Snear tournament at the Fellowship House, defending was the theme of the night.

There wasn’t a ton of offense, but LC had more of it and led by tournament MVP Lauren Crim, the Crusaders emerged with a 41-25 win.

“We tried to do our best to slow the game down and get the ball inside,” LC coach Joe Mack Jr. said. “Mount did a great job defensively and their pressure did cause us some problems. Our message was to slow the game down, take long possessions and get the ball inside.”

Crim scored a game-high 18 points while Brady Wassel contributed six points, 12 rebounds, three assists and four steals for the Crusaders. LC did need almost three minutes to score its first points and trailed 7-2 with 3:23 left in the opening quarter.

Mount’s tenacious defending got the Crusaders (5-3, 1-1 PCL) playing too fast and LC was turning the ball over at a high rate in that first quarter. Then, Crim canned a 3-pointer for her first basket of the night after missing her first four shots and LC closed the first on a 7-0 run.

LC led just 20-15 at the half but it felt like Mount was behind more with the struggles the Magic (3-5, 1-1 AACA) were having on offense.

“I think we shot 25 percent from the floor and we were 2-of-12 from the free throw line, so it was tough,” first-year Mount coach Claire Perry said. “Our goal was to hold them to 35, but 41 is still good and the defense does spur us. But when we allow an offensive board, it’s for nothing or tonight particularly, a weak-side rebound, it’s for nothing.”

Lauren Vessey, a freshman, led Mount with six points and had all of them in the fourth quarter. The rest of the team had a collective very off night, missing a ton of shots at the rim or in the lane. Mount players kept getting to the rim, but without finishing, it let LC start to pull away after halftime.

Mount had just four points in the third quarter and while LC only had nine, it was enough for the Crusaders to widen their lead to 10. With Crim, a three-year starter and senior Laura Vetter, a two-year starter, in the backcourt, the Crusader offense was a little calmer in the second half.

“There’s nothing they haven’t experienced,” Mack said. “As a coach, you trust them as your backcourt.”

Carolyn Ferko had six rebounds and two blocks for LC, giving Wassel some help policing the backboard after misses. Wassel didn’t have her best shooting night, but she filled the box score for LC and her play was just as important as Crim’s scoring in the outcome.

“Brady does everything for us, whether it’s scoring, rebounding, playing defense, getting on the floor or blocking shots, she does it,” Mack said. “We’re not a big team so we put a lot on her but she always responds.”

Crim got hot for a minute-long spree in the fourth where she scored seven straight to give LC a 20-point lead with 3:42 to play. That was all the space the Crusader defense needed to make sure it was going to close out the game.

What LC lacks in size, it makes up in tenacity on the defensive end. All game, the Crusaders did a good job of switching on screens and also recovering back in their man defense.

“We stopped their dribble-penetration and I thought our defense won the game,” Mack said. “We almost played Mount’s style a little too much, but our defense won the game for us. It’s been our emphasis all offseason and into the season. If we defend, we can beat some teams. If we don’t, we’re not going to score 60 or 70 points, so we have to hang our hat on it.”

Mount’s season so far has been some ups and some downs and the two games in this tournament were an example of that. A night after throttling Girard College, the Magic’s offense couldn’t get going, leaving Mount to chase the consistency Perry has been looking for all season.

“It’s exciting to think where we will be going,” Perry said. “Every game, we should be improving but whether or not we are, we need to reflect on that. We have spurts, and that’s the thing, we have these spurts which is great, but we have to be consistent. Along with fundamentals and confidence, we have to be consistent and we haven’t been able to put it all together yet.”

Lansdale Catholic 41, Mount Saint Joseph 25
Mount Saint Joseph 7 8 46 — 25
Lansdale Catholic 9 11 9 12 — 41
Mount Saint Joseph (25): Kieran Glowacki 2 0-2 4, Grace Gelone 2 0-4 4, Julie Hoover 2 0-2 4, Ashley Smith 1 0-0 3, Grace DiGiovani 1 0-0 2, Megan Dodaro 1 0-0 2, Lauren Vessey 2 2-2 6, Sarah Rothenberg 0 0-2 0. Totals: 11 2-12 25.
Lansdale Catholic (41): Lauren Crim 6 4-5 18, Carolyn Ferko 2 0-0 4, Laura Vetter 1 1-3 4, Brady Wassel 3 0-0 6, Maile Erwin 1 2-3 5, Emily Smith 1 0-1 3, Kris Finkelston 0 1-2 1. Totals: 14 8-13 41.
3-pointers: MSJ – Smith; LC – Crim 2, Vetter, Smith, Erwin.

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