Crisler makes the difference as La Salle knocks off Lansdale Catholic

LANSDALE >> La Salle had just carved up host Lansdale Catholic, 66-45, in both schools’ Philadelphia Catholic League opener Tuesday night, and both head coaches couldn’t stop talking about Explorers sophomore Zach Crisler, who burned the home team for 18 points, nine rebounds and a whole lot more.

“He’s terrific,” said Explorers head coach Joe Dempsey, “and he’s still a sophomore.

“He’s very coachable, very talented and he’s a great weapon to have.”

“The big difference was (Crisler),” added Crusaders head coach Joe Corbett. “He hurt us inside and outside.”

Crisler had 19 points and Konrad Kiszka added 14 as La Salle grabbed the early lead and just never gave it up.

Crisler’s six points helped the visitors to a 14-12 lead after one quarter, then the Explorers put up a 20-spot in the second stanza, and the Crusaders never recovered.

The lead was extended to 34-26 by halftime, and the Explorers never looked back.

It didn’t help that the Explorers outscored the Crusaders, 15-9, in the third quarter to balloon the lead into double figures, where it stayed the rest of the way.

“We went in at halftime and told our guys we just couldn’t give their shooters open looks from the outside,” Dempsey said. “That’s why we scout teams and watch video.“But we did a much better job of stopping them in the second half.”

And it was downhill for the Crusaders the rest of the way, although Noah Saba’s six fourth-quarter points kept LC in the hunt until the game’s final five minutes.

“The start of the third quarter was the difference in the game,:” Corbett said. “That’s usually when we play our best, but they opened up their lead, and we could never get close again.

“We wanted to make (guard Jarred) Stukes best us with jump shots, but they got the ball inside, and we couldn’t match up with (Crisler).”

Mike Ottomato had 11 points to lead the Crusaders (6-3, 0-1), while Craig Rosenberger added eight – all in the first half.

In the 20-point second quarter, La Salle got five points apiece from Stukes and Sean Simon, while LC scored only 12 points, with Ottomato scoring five and Luke God zieba adding four.

But on this night, the story was the sophomore in the middle, and an Explorers team that looks primed for another PCL playoff run.

“It’s tough to win on the road in this league,” Dempsey said. “But we stayed disciplined and Crisler was terrific.”

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