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Lansdale Catholic erases early deficit, edges Abington for 4th straight win

ABINGTON >> Facing another early double-digit deficit was not going to discourage the Lansdale Catholic girls basketball team Monday night.

“It’s familiar territory, “Crusaders coach Eric Gidney said. “And in fact I think I talked about in a timeout of two somewhere in that first half.”

Down 15 in the second quarter to host Abington in their nonleague matchup, LC steadied its defense and found a spark of offense before halftime to whittle the margin down to seven at the break. The Crusaders proceeded to take control – and the lead – in the third then used free-throw shooting to hold off the Galloping Ghosts late in the fourth to claim a 74-68 victory.

“It just says that we don’t give up,” Lansdale Catholic’s Timaya Lewis-Eutsey said. “Even when we’re down we don’t finger-point, we don’t do any of that, we work together and figure out what we need to do to take the lead back.”

Lewis-Eutsey scored 15 of his game-high 27 points in the second half, Gabby Casey added 19 points while Riley DeVitis went 12-for-12 from the foul line in recording 18 points as the Crusaders (12-2, 3-0 PCL Blue) won their fourth straight.

“We never really got rattled, we understood that again teams are really hyped up to play us right now,” Gidney said. “We always feel like we have a target on our backs just because we’re a Philadelphia Catholic League not necessarily cause we’re Lansdale Catholic but because we’re in the PCL. And sometimes we have to weather some storms and we did that.

“We made some adjustments. I want to give hats off to my staff because they made the suggestion to go to the adjustment in the second quarter to go into the zone (defense) out of the man and that kind of frazzled them a little bit.”

Trailing 42-31 early in the third, Lansdale Catholic flipped the game with 16-3 run while Lewis-Eutsey’s buzzer-beater from well beyond the 3-point arc had LC up 52-48 entering the fourth.

The Crusaders pushed their lead to as much as eight in the final quarter but Abington made a late charge, cutting the margin to two twice in the final 30 seconds. However, Casey answered with clutch free throws as Lansdale Catholic went 13-of-14 from the line in the fourth to finish 29-of-34 for the night.

“We don’t shoot a lot of free throws at practice,” Gidney said. “We tend to just shoot and then we’re a big believer that shooting work in practice makes it easy to knock down those free throws.”

Cire Worley collected 11 of her 19 points in the first half to pace Abington (6-7, 4-2 SOL National), which had a two-game win streak snapped. Amanda Jackson and Khalis Whiting each scored 16 points for the Ghosts – Jackson connecting on five 3-pointers before halftime.

For the second time in three days, LC found itself in a quick hole. Last Saturday, the Crusaders were down 10 to Gwynedd Mercy in the first half before rallying back to best the Monarchs 64-47.

Monday, LC trailed by 15 points three times in the second quarter, the last time at 33-18. However, six points from Casey and another five by Lewis-Eutsey helped the Crusaders cap the quarter with a 13-5 run – a putback by DeVitis getting LC within 38-31 at the half.

“That was very big,” Lewis-Eutsey said. “It gave us a lot of hope. When we got back into the locker room we said we got out we need to come out with more energy and (play) even harder and take this momentum and take this lead and run with it.”

Abington extended their lead back to double digits by collecting the first four points of the third to go up 42-31 on a Worley basket. Two Whiting free throws at 6:25 had the Ghosts leading 42-33 but the Crusaders ripped off the next nine points, tying the game 44-44 when Mia Rosenberger’s shot banked in.

A Casey free throw at 2:29 had LC level again at 45-45 while Lewis-Eutsey gave Lansdale Catholic its first lead since 8-6 in the first quarter by hitting a pair at the line to make it 47-45 at 1:38.

“Even down 15 the one thing that I will say about these girls is that no matter what the score is they tend to be aggressive all the time,” Gidney said. “It doesn’t really matter. And I think that eventually that sort of like it did Saturday with Gwynedd Mercy it wears teams down.”

Lewis-Eutsey gave LC a 52-48 lead at the end of the third, draining a 3-pointer a healthy distance beyond the arc at the buzzer after an inbounds under the Crusader net.

“It felt pretty good,” Lewis-Eutsey said.” Just to get it up there for my team and definitely to make the shot.

In the fourth, Lewis-Eutsey grabbed her own miss twice before putting in her third chance for a 62-55 LC lead. Another basket by Lewis-Eutsey off an offensive rebound put the Crusaders up 65-57.

“I think the other team was focused on a little bit other stuff, you know, than boxing out so as soon as I see my opportunity I got and I use my strength to get the board.”

But Abington made one last push – a 9-3 run to get within 68-66 on a Whiting three-point play at 28.5 seconds. Casey answered with two free throws at 26.1 but Whiting scored on a drive to make it 70-68 with 20 seconds left.

Casey hit twice from the line again at 16.0 seconds to put LC back up four. Abington missed on a three and the ball went out of bounds to the Crusaders. Casey made two more free throws with six seconds left for the final six-point margin.

The Ghosts are back on the court Tuesday hosting Cheltenham at 7 p.m. Lansdale Catholic next plays Friday visiting Bishop McDevitt at 7 p.m.

Abington’s quick pace and had the LC defense out of sorts in the first quarter. Consecutive threes from Jackson and Worley made it 19-10 Ghosts with two Worley free throws at 2:17 extending the lead to 11.

Two DeVitis foul shots at 1:09 had LC within 21-12 before Jackson knocked down an open triple to put Abington up 24-12 at the end of the quarter.

Jackson opened the second quarter with a three for a 15-point Ghosts lead. After Jaida Helm’s jumper had Abington up 33-18 the Crusaders got back into the contest with a 9-0 run – Casey providing six of the points – to make it 33-27.

LC was within six again at 35-20 after a Lewis-Eutsey foul-line jumper but Jackson put the Ghosts up nine by hitting the last of her five 3-pointers. DeVitis’ putback cut Abington’s halftime lead to 38-31.

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