Lansdale Catholic holds off Conwell-Egan, keeps PCL playoffs hopes alive

LANSDALE >> Nick Romeo was certain that after coming up on the wrong side of a couple close games, Lansdale Catholic was due.

“We knew we were bound to get one eventually,” he said. “I mean, we knew we had to fight through the other two. The other two have been against (Bishop) McDevitt and the other one-point game (against Archbishop Ryan) last Friday or whatever, so we knew we needed to pull one out this game.”

In a matchup of boys basketball team teams trying to keep their Philadelphia Catholic League tournament hopes alive, the Crusaders found a way to make things go their way this time.

Visiting Conwell-Egan erased an eight-point deficit in the third quarter to go up 51-50 in the fourth, but LC scored the next six to regain the lead then held on to beat the Eagles 60-54 Monday night.

“It was just a great win,” Lansdale Catholic coach Joe Corbett said. “We’re still alive for the Catholic League playoffs. That’s the goal that was the message coming in is that we both have one win. We’re both a desperate team, who wants it more. And it was a great battle.”

Conwell-Egan’s Patrick Robinson pulls up to shoot near a host of Lansdale Catholic defenders during their game on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Luke Godzieba provided a lot of the early offense for Crusaders, scoring 11 points in the first quarter and collected 14 of his game-high 21 points before the break as LC (7-10, 2-7 league) snapped a six-game skid.

“My coach just say to keep going, keep putting it up, keep getting rebounds, keep fighting,” Godzieba said. “I wasn’t even thinking, I was just playing and I guess the beast came out.”

Jack Kusters had 11 of his 13 points in the first half while Romeo gave LC a spark after the break, scoring eight of his 10 points in the second half

“Luke started it, and then when Luke kind of tailed off and Nick Romeo came on in the second half, and really helped us build that lead a little bit, so it was nice,” Corbett said.

Patrick Robinson paced Conwell-Egan (6-11, 1-8) with 21 points while Eric Esposito had 14 points as the Eagles dropped their second straight.

LC held Robinson to four points in the second half, Corbett saying the Crusaders did a better job limiting his penetration into the lane.

“It was something we talked about at halftime was really had to limit his paint touches. He was getting in the paint a lot in the 2-3 (zone), so we went to the 1-3-1 which kind of limited him getting into the paint but then they started to knock shots down,” Corbett said. “So I thought the difference was when we went back to the 2-3, Robinson still wasn’t getting into the paint and we were able to contest a lot of their threes and do just a good enough job rebounding the misses to help us out.”

The win helps LC in its bid for grabbing the PCL’s 10th and final spot in the league tournament. The Crusaders and Bishop McDevitt are both 2-7 with West Catholic 2-6 before Tuesday’s home game with Archbishop Wood.

Friday’s result also boosts Lansdale Catholic chances to making District 12 play with the Crusaders and Conwell-Egan the only two 4A teams in the Catholic League.

“We got to fight, we got to fight like we did tonight. And we’re all capable off it, we all believe, our coach tells us that and we all believe in him and we all trust each other. And that’s what we got to do for these next three games, get two of them see what happens from there.”

Lansdale Catholic’s Mo Kahney dribbles up court during the Crusaders’ game against Conwell-Egan on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Lansdale Catholic hosts Norristown in a non-league game 7 p.m. Wednesday then is returns to its PCL schedule Friday at Bonner & Prendergast. Conwell-Egan hosts Roman Catholic 7 p.m. Friday.

Up 35-32 at the half, a Godzieba three-point play and a Romeo basket pushed the Crusaders’ advantage to 40-32. LC led by eight twice more in the quarter – the last time 44-36 before Conwell-Egan put together a 15-6 run to go up 51-50 on a Patrick Robinson layup after corralling an offensive rebound.

Romeo, however, gave Lansdale Catholic back the lead, Mo Kahney finding him inside off a drive while a Godzieba bucket made it 54-51.

Two Kahney free throws with 3:03 remaining extended the lead to five but Sean Stokes’ steal and score had the Eagles within three.

LC left the door open late with an offensive foul, five-second violation and a missed front end of a 1-and-1 with 42 seconds left, only Conwell-Egan could not capitalize – a three to tie then two shots to get within one did not fall.

“Felt like the breaks went our way a little bit,” Corbett said. “They got a couple looks that they did not knock down that I think normally they would and we got just enough breaks, that, yeah, I mean it went our way and it feels good after the couple losses, tough losses.”

Jimmy Boccella proceeded to convert both ends of a 1-and-1 at 30 seconds for a 58-53 LC lead. Conwell-Egan tried to roll the ball in the backcourt to save time but when Boccella dove to grab it, the Eagles inbounder touched it first, turning the ball over to the Crusaders.

“I mean, that’s a kid just coming back from injury, just a heady senior who’s coming off the bench, could care less, just wanted this win so bad. And he saw them rolling the ball,” said Corbett of Boccella.

With 19 seconds left, an Esposito free throw cut the margin to 58-54. The Eagles forced a turnover on the inbounds but after a time out CEC missed a corner 3-pointer. Godzieba – who says he’s 95-percent back from his ACL tear last February –  put the finishing touches on the victory with a layup off a long inbounds pass.

“We knew that we had to potential to win all of our close games, so we just wanted to finish it tonight,” Godzieba said.

Godzieba knocked down a 3-pointer to begin his strong opening quarter, scoring 11 as the Crusaders led by as much as six at 20-14. A Robinson basket made it 20-16 entering the fourth.

“That was something we really kind of challenged him after the last game, he really struggled and we really tried to challenge him and motivate him to be the player that he can be,” said Corbett of Godzieba. “And he’s coming back from the injury still but we know he’s better than the player he was against Ryan. And he went out and credit to him, he proved it from the beginning, from the opening quarter he was aggressive, he was active. I’m so proud of him, I’m so happy for him. It’s just a great game for him.”

Conwell-Egan began the second quarter with seven straight points – four from Robinson – to take a 23-20 lead. Four consecutive free throws put LC back up 24-23 but the Eagles regained the lead 28-27 as Robinson made two from the line at 3:29.

LC  was back ahead 29-28 on a Godzieba bucket inside. Two Kusters free throws at 1:07 had the Crusaders up 35-30 before Robinson converted two at the line to make it 35-32 at intermission.

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