Ottomano, Lansdale Catholic roll past Cardinal O’Hara on Senior Night

LANSDALE >>  If there was any way possible, Mike Ottomano would give Lansdale Catholic’s Monsignor Shade Gymnasium a big bear hug.

“Honestly, I love our fans,” Ottomano said. “This is a great place to play. I’ve played here four years the student section has never been anything short of amazing. So, I want to thank the fans for always showing up no matter what game it is.”

Playing in their last home game, Ottomano and six other seniors gave the fans of the green and gold something to cheer about Friday night. Ottomano scored a game-high 20 points – 16 coming in the second half – as the Crusaders took control in the second quarter and pulled away from visiting Cardinal O’Hara for a 65-46 Philadelphia Catholic League victory.

“Twenty is a good thing but it’s a team win,” Ottomano said. “I love having this win on Senior Night, every senior contributed, every player contributed. It’s a great team win and we led to ourselves and so did our coaches.”

Starkey Gabel and Jack Kusters both chipped in 11 points for the Crusaders (10-11 3-9 league), who led 32-22 at halftime and blew open the contest by starting the third quarter with a 15-5 run.

“One of the things that we stressed was they hadn’t won a (PCL) game but they’re still a dangerous team, they are looking to get one before the season end and we respect them,” Lansdale Catholic coach Joe Corbett said. “We came out and got off to a slow start, I think we were a little nervous cause of it being Senior Night and we missed some shots. Once we settled in though, I thought we got into our routine.”

LC still had hopes Friday of forcing a play-in game for the 10th seed in the PCL Tournament. The Crusaders needed to beat O’Hara, top Archbishop Wood Sunday then get help from La Salle. The Explorers, however, did not oblige – their 51-43 victory over Father Judge securing La Salle the last unsecured spot in the league playoff field.

Still, the Crusaders ended a two-game skid and a five-game home losing streak in the beating O’Hara. And they picked up their 10th victory, the program’s most since 2013-2014 when LC finished 10-12.

“These guys have so much heart that I tell them we have to practice at six in the morning on a Saturday cause the gym’s being rented out. No complaints, they’re here before I am, ready to go,” Corbett said. “We have to go down to BuxMont (Indoor Sports Center) sometimes, no complains, they just come in and they work hard. And that’s all they’ve done for the last two years.

“I’m going to miss these seven (seniors), they drive me crazy, but I’m going to miss these seven guys. They have played as a team, there’s never been any infighting or anything or complaining about playing time. That’s been the best part about it, these seven guys have stuck together through injuries and obviously the wins and the losses and they’ve just been a great group to be around for two years.

Jaye’lyn Peebles had 15 points to lead O’Hara (5-16, 0-12) while Garrett Ripp added 10 points.

Both  teams have PCL games 2:30 p.m. Sunday — LC takes on Wood at La Salle while Cardinal O’Hara visits Bonner and Prendergast.

Lansdale Catholic’s Kyle Kane takes a shot past Cardinal O’Hara’s Martin Osayi during their game on Friday, Feb. 10, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Cardinal O’Hara had an early 7-2 lead in the opening quarter Friday before Lansdale Catholic put together at 13-2 run – Kusters’ 3-pointer giving the Crusaders a 15-10 lead. Tripp Pierce, however, knocked down a corner three just before the buzzer to get the Lions within two.

The Crusaders — who had Ottomano on the bench after picking up two fouls — began to make use of its size advantage in the second quarter. Gabel and Ryan Braun’s efforts inside fighting for rebounds created second-chance opportunities – a couple off missed free throws.

“Starkey is just 100 miles an hour all the time, he (loves) it, at practice he’s diving on the floor, he’s boxing people out. Him and Braun are such assets, especially when you play a team that’s kind of undersized like O’Hara, they just dominate.”

Kusters scored off a drive for a 24-17 lead when LC kept possession after a missed foul shot. Sam Coleman’s three cut the margin to four but the Crusaders controlled a loose ball after Gabel went 1-of-2 from the line at 4:16 and Kyle Kane scored and was fouled at 4:09 for a 27-20 edge.

“Coach told us to crash, he wanted us two to crash every single time and get every rebound,” Gabel said. “It was just that we wanted it more than they did.”

A Peebles basket had O’Hara within 27-22 before Braun banked in a three and Jack Kane jumper had Lansdale Catholic leading 32-22 at halftime.

Ottomano quickly asserted himself early in the second half — burying a three from the wing then scoring a breakaway layup off Craig Rosenberger’s steal as LC went ahead 37-22.

“I didn’t necessarily (have) to get mine but I knew that we had to have a big third quarter as a team to come away with the victory,” Ottomano said.

After a Peebles bucket, the Crusaders ripped off 10 straight points — back-to-back baskets from Ottomano giving Lansdale Catholic a 45-26 advantage.

Starkey scored to push the lead to 20 at 47-27. A Jack Kane trey made it 50-30 but Peebles banked in a three at the buzzer to have the Lions down 17 entering the fourth.

O’Hara had the margin at 15 at 52-37 early in the final quarter before Ottomano answered with five straight points to extend the lead back up to 20 and LC was in the clear.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply