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Lansdale Catholic leans on depth to top Council Rock South, win Snear tournament

Lansdale Catholic’s Riley DeVitis (23) presses against the Council Rock South defense in the George Snear Tournament championship game on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. (James Beaver/For MediaNews Group)

CONSHOHOCKEN >> Lansdale Catholic won Friday night and in doing so, may have helped itself win later on this season.

A mix of injury and foul trouble meant the Crusaders had to dip deep into their bench against Council Rock South, putting a couple players in situations they weren’t used to and asked them to come through. While much of it won’t show in the scoring column, LC got enough of what it needed to fend off the Golden Hawks.

LC picked up a valuable 66-57 result, topping CR South to win the George W. Snear Holiday Tournament at the Fellowship House for the fifth straight season.

“When it was important, we came together as a team and worked together,” LC coach Eric Gidney said. “We did what we’re good at, which is attack the rim, be patient and be disciplined. I’m super-proud of all the girls, everybody contributed and this was a total team win.”

The Lansdale Catholic Crusaders pose with the championship trophy after winning the George W. Snear Tournament on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. (James Beaver/For MediaNews Group)

Both teams had to deal with foul trouble from the opening quarter. LC (8-1, 2-0 PCL Blue), which was already down freshman forward Gabby Casey with an injury, saw top scorer Timaya Lewis-Eutsey pick up her third foul early in the second quarter, leaving the junior’s role limited the rest of the night.

On the other end, CR South center Hannah Binder was also hampered when she picked up her third foul in the second quarter, leaving the Hawks without their most consistent offensive option. The high number of whistles forced a lot of different players into the game but both teams were able to adjust depending who was on the floor.

LC guard Riley DiVitis, the tournament MVP, didn’t face the same kind of foul trouble as some of her teammates but liked the way the Crusaders were able to rally against the challenges the game and the Hawks presented.

“We just needed to slow down,” DiVitis said. “Sometimes you just get caught up in the pace of the game and we just needed to slow down, move the ball and work together on the offensive and defensive end. As we got more into the game, we started communicating better, which is something we need to do all the time.”

Lansdale Catholic’s Riley DeVitis (23) was named the George W. Snear Tournament MVP on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. (James Beaver/For MediaNews Group)

LC used a 9-0 run in the middle span of the first quarter to break a 9-9 tie and a layup by DiVitis off a sharp cut to the hoop gave the Crusaders a 22-13 advantage. Binder and Nicole Blaustein, who was named the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award recipient, keyed an 11-4 Hawks run to open the second.

Binder scored 13 of her team’s first 24 points and was giving LC fits defensively, prompting the Crusaders to change things up. Her third foul certainly hurt CR South’s offensive production but seemed to energize the defense, which cut the lead to 33-28 at halftime.

After a terrific night passing on Thursday, the Crusaders did not have the same success on Friday. Much of that was due to the Hawks’ aggressive guards and CR South (5-4, 1-1 SOL National) totaled 12 steals as a team while LC turned the ball over 19 times.

Blaustein, Montanna Chambers and Kim Speiser all had three steals each.

“My hat’s off to Council Rock South and their staff,” Gidney said. “They came out prepared and ready to play us. I tell our girls all the time we have a target on our backs because of what our record is right now and that team was ready to play us.”

Lewis-Eutsey sat the final 4:36 of the half but came out firing to start the third quarter. In 54 seconds to start the half, she assisted a basket, scored on a drive, stole a pass and finished after a nice pass-fake to put LC up 39-30 before scoring on a foul line jumper with 6:26 left in the frame

The junior picked up her fourth foul with 4:45 left in the quarter, keeping her on the bench until a big finish in the fourth quarter helped LC seal the win.

DiVitis scored 16 of her 17 in the first half, so the Crusaders really needed something big from their supporting cast. They got it from a number of contributors.

“I think it’s really big to have that depth on the bench,” DiVitis said. “Our coach always says when you come in to know your role and fill your role well and I really think they were able to do that.”

Lansdale Catholic’s Cassidy Saulino (4) dives for a loose ball against Council Rock South in the George Snear Tournament championship game on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. (James Beaver/For MediaNews Group)

Point guard Mia Rosenberger battled some foul trouble as well, but when she was on the floor, she gave LC a little bit of everything with eight points, five rebounds and four assists while Autumn Weber had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Cassidy Saulino, a freshman who starts on JV, played big minutes and while scoring just two points, had five boards and helped the Crusaders battle. Lauren Edwards only scored four, but the sophomore forward had four assists and drew the defensive assignment on Binder after LC knew it had to switch things up.

Edwards, who started all season as part of LC’s state champion girls’ soccer team, didn’t flinch at the task.

“She knows what it takes and she’s willing to whatever we need to have done,” Gidney said. “We took Weber off and put Edwards on (Binder), while Edwards doesn’t have the length, she has the size and strength. We also weren’t afraid to attack her offensively, which helped get her in foul trouble.”

CR South went on a roll to end the third quarter, turning a handful of steals into buckets on the other end went on a 10-2 run over the last 2:30 to cut the lead to 48-47. Blaustein finished a reverse layup to open the fourth, giving the Hawks a one-point lead.

Then, Lewis-Eutsey came back strong again. She scored four straight to put LC back in front, hit a baseline drive with 2:29 left for a 58-53 lead and buried 6-of-6 at the foul line in the final 48.1 to ice the game on her way to 24 points.

“This is our fifth year winning it so we come back every year with that winning mentality,” DiVitis said. “We learned to never underestimate your opponent and to always play with a bit of a chip on your shoulder.”

Lansdale Catholic’s Timaya Lewis-Eutsey (3) drives the lane against Council Rock South during the George W. Snear Tournament championship game on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. (James Beaver/For Media News Group)

LC returns to play next Thursday at home when it hosts North Penn.

“I tell the girls all the time there’s more to this game than just the challenge of the opponent,” Gidney said. “There’s us against ourselves, players against themselves in their heads, sometimes us against the officials, us against the crowd, us against the environment and we got a little bit of all of that in two games so I’m just glad to see how they handled it.”

LANSDALE CATHOLIC 22 11 15 18 – 66
COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH 13 15 19 10 – 57
Lansdale Catholic: Timaya Lewis-Eutsey 7 10-11 24, Autumn Weber 4 3-5 11, Mia Rosenberger 2 3-7 8, Lauren Edwards 2 0-1 4, Riley DiVitis 5 6-8 17, Cassidy Saulino 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 24-32 66.
Council Rock South: Montanna Chambers 4 0-4 8, Jenna Cul 1 2-3 4, Nicole Blaustein 5 5-6 15, Carley Irvin 1 2-4 4, Hannah Binder 8 2-2 19, Kim Speiser 2 1-2 5, Ryann Szydilk 0 2-5 2. Totals: 21 14-26 57.
3-pointers: LC – Rosenberger, DiVitis; CRS – Binder.



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