Leicht’s touch helped push O’Hara to the top

PHILADELPHIA >> Chris Genther has a favorite story to tell about senior guard Lauren Leicht.

Genther, the longtime assistant coach at Cardinal O’Hara, recalls a conversation with Leicht last winter when the Lions were making their push to the Catholic League playoffs. Defensive whiz Molly Paolino had been injured for several weeks and was slated to return to the lineup. She would slide back into her starting role and bump Leicht back to the bench.

Genther wasn’t surprised by the way Leicht took the news.

“Before I could get out a sentence, she stopped me and said, ‘Coach Chris, whatever I can do to help the team.’ That’s the kind of kid she is,” Genther said. “I told her she played great and we needed her.”

Leicht hit the go-ahead shot in the fourth quarter of Monday’s Catholic League final, gobbled up a big rebound off a Wood free throw and generally played an outstanding floor game off the bench. Whatever Leicht offered in the Lions’ 35-30 victory, for the program’s 10th Catholic League championship in 20 seasons, was just another spoke on the wheel.

“We win as a team, we lose as a team. Not about me,” she said. “This effort, and the game against Neumann-Goretti (in the semifinals), we played like a team. Every person on the team knows what her role is.”

At the time when Leicht was getting slaps on the back for scrambling after a loose rebound in the waning seconds, or earlier when she hit a basket that proved to be the game-winner, she didn’t have the chance to bask in the glory. She didn’t have time to soak it in.

She was only worried about ensuring, to the best of her ability, O’Hara stay on top until the final horn sounded.

“Just to go in and get big plays, I mean, I didn’t really think they were big plays,” said Leicht, who was 2-for-2 from the floor with four points. “When it comes down to it, yeah, they were. That’s awesome. But we won as a team. I’m thinking it’s one little thing in a game of a lot of little things.”

Genther went on to say that he wishes he had 10 Lauren Leichts on every team he’s ever coached.

“She’s one of the hardest-working kids,” he said. “Never complains. It’s always about the team.”

That’s Lauren Leicht.

Top Photo: Cardinal O’Hara’s Lauren Leicht (11) puts a shoot up in the first half against Archbishop Wood in the Philadelphia Catholic League title game at the Palestra in Philadelphia on Monday, Feb, 27, 2017. O’Hara won 35-30. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

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