Roman rallies past La Salle, into PCL semifinals

PHILADELPHIA >> La Salle led the entire game. The sixth-seeded Explorers led by 10 at halftime, 15 in the middle of the third quarter and nine going into the fourth.

Then Roman got going.

The third-seeded Cahillites scored the first six points of the final quarter to get within three, rattled off five of the next six points to tie the game, took their first lead with 3:39 left and never looked back.

Roman pulled away to a 56-46 win over La Salle in the Philadelphia Catholic League quarterfinals at the Community College of Philadelphia Friday afternoon.

Roman will play St. Joe’s Prep in the semifinals at the Palestra Wednesday night.

La Salle led by as many as 15, 35-20, with 5:40 left in the third quarter after Zach Crisler and Sean Simon hit back-to-back three-pointers. Roman cut that deficit to nine, 41-32, by the end of the third.

Roman’s Seth Lundy scored nine of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter along with seven from Lynn Greer III to help the Cahillites come back from the large deficit. Lundy scored his nine points on four field goals while his teammates went a combined 11-for-16 from the free-throw line over the final eight minutes.

“When we were down 15 in the third quarter I said, ‘Don’t put your heads down, we’ve been in this situation before. Just stay poised, keep playing,’” Lundy said. “I refuse to lose. It’s funny though because at halftime we’re losing by 10 I’m in the locker room and everybody has their heads down. I’m the only one energetic in the locker room. I’m up standing around, bouncing around, laughing. I kept saying to my players, ‘We’re not losing this game.’ I was just poised in the second half.”

Greer hit a pair of free throws to start off the fourth and Hakim Hart followed with an old fashion three-point play.
Roman’s Allen Betrand and La Salle’s Konrad Kiszka traded free throws before Lundy sandwiched a three and a put-back around a Titus Beard free throw to tie the game at 43.

“We lost our poise a little bit,” La Salle coach Joe Dempsey said of the fourth quarter. “Their athleticism wore us down a little bit. Obviously the pressure — we had some turnovers, we struggled to score, we got pushed out to half-court a little bit.”

Betrand went 1-for-2 at the free-throw line to give Roman the lead, 44-43, with 3:39 remaining and it would never lose the advantage.

“Defensive effort, effort, effort,” Lundy said was different in the fourth. “We went out there diving for loose balls, we took a couple charges, we tipped a couple threes, defensive rebounds, offensive rebounds. Stuff like that is definitely going to be a big difference.”

Lundy hit a couple shots after La Salle turnovers to make it 48-43 Roman lead, Greer hit a pair of free throws and, after Crisler went 1-for-2 from the line, Betrand threw down an alley-oop dunk to seal the deal.

“I was proud of our gameplan, I was proud of the way we battled,” Dempsey said. “It just broke. It just snapped. It’s unfortunate.”

The Explorers came out on fire shooting the ball. Matt McMahon hit three three-pointers in the first half and the team hit seven to get their lead to 35-20. They didn’t make any after that.

“I felt really good,” Dempsey said. “Sean Simon only had one three and we had as much as a 15-point lead. We got threes from Zach and Konrad and Allen (Powell), I think Titus (Beard) had one. I think we were spreading the ball. That’s our team.”

Kiszka led La Salle with 16 points. McMahon added nine and Simon and Crisler each had six.

Roman Catholic 56, La Salle 46

La Salle                16 13 12 5 — 46
Roman Catholic 12 6 13 25 — 56

LS: Powell 1 0-0 3, Simon 1 3-5 6, Kiszka 7 1-2 16, McMahon 3 0-0 9, Beard 1 1-2 4, Crisler 2 1-2 6, Diarrah 1 0-4 2. Total 16 6-15 46.
RC: Greer 2 11-14 15, Hakim 3 3-4 10, Lundy 10 0-0 22, Betrand 3 3-6 9. Total 18 17-24 56.
Three-point goals: LS: McMahon 3, Powell, Simon, Kiszka, Beard, Crisler. RC: Hakim, Lundy 2. .

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