FORKS TWP. >> Dallas had thrown the party and was ready to turn out the lights.
The Mountaineers rushed the court to celebrate senior Lauren Charlton’s 1,000th career point, the milestone coming on her free throw that put Dallas up 49-39 on the Lansdale Catholic girls basketball team with 6:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.
And from there District 2’s second seed was set on running a lot of time off the clock and leaving Easton Area Middle School with a PIAA Class 4A second-round victory Wednesday night.
But Timaya Lewis-Eutsey and the District 12 champ Crusaders were not down with those plans.
“I feel like they counted us out,” LC Timaya Lewis-Eutsey said. “But they shouldn’t of did that cause they gave us even more motivation to play our game and come back and take the win.”
After chasing Dallas throughout the contest, Lansdale Catholic caught up and blew past the Mountaineers in the fourth – finishing the final quarter with a 22-4 surge to pull away and earn a 61-53 comeback win to reach the state quarterfinals.
“It felt like the air went out of the gym for them after that (1,000th point) happened and so we just kind of jumped on it,” LC coach Eric Gidney said. “And that was that one of the things that we talked about during that break. So I think it was just us just staying the course. It seemed liked as they got the lead, they changed their game plan and as we lost the lead or as we fell behind we stuck to our game plan. And I think after 32 minutes, that’s why we came out on top.”
Lewis-Eutsey capped a stellar 30-point effort by going 7-for-7 from the foul line in the fourth – hitting six from the stripe as the Crusaders (24-3) scored the last 12 points after trailing 53-49. Lansdale Catholic faces PCL rival Bonner & Prendergast in the quarters after the Pandas topped Eastern York 52-46.
“When the team needs someone I want to be that someone to step up and really help them out,” Lewis-Eutsey said.
Mia Rosenberger hit a pair of 3-pointers in adding 11 points while Gabby Casey scored all eight of her points in the second half – her last two on a steal and breakaway layup pulling LC level 53-53 with 2:09 left.
“I was anticipating the pass and I really just wanted to get a bucket for the team so we could come back and be tied,” Casey said.
After Dallas (23-6) missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, Lewis-Eutsey grabbed the rebound, drove downcourt then found Riley DeVitis for the go-ahead basket at 1:39.
“Just making the extra pass to really secure the bucket,” Lewis-Eutsey said.
A pass deflected off the Dallas player’s head to give LC back the ball at 1:31. The Crusaders burned 30 seconds before Lewis-Eutsey was fouled and made two free throws to make it 57-53.
After the Mountaineers missed a pair of 3-point attempts, Casey was fouled in the scramble for the rebound. The LC freshman hit her pair at the line at 27.3 seconds for a 59-53 lead. Lewis-Eutsey’s two foul shots at 7.8 seconds completed a fourth quarter that saw the Crusaders outscore Dallas 24-5.
“The biggest thing, too, was also recognizing their personnel,” Gidney said. “They were a little bit deeper into their bench at that point than I think they were comfortable with so we sort of let maybe some inexperienced players get the ball a little bit more and then what they do they forced some shots that they really didn’t need to force, they made some passes that maybe they shouldn’t of made.
“And really just denied 12 (Charlton), just make sure that she doesn’t get an opportunity to beat us.”
Charlton, a Penn commit, led Dallas with 23 points – 10 coming in the third as the Mountaineers stretched their advantage to 13 at 48-35 before a Lewis-Eutsey bucket made it an 11-point game entering the fourth.
Bella Hill finished with 10 points for the Mountaineers.
“We keyed on (Charlton), we think that early she hit a couple threes that maybe we kind of closed out a bit lazy on,” Gidney said. “I think that she maybe one in transition that was a little bit deeper than anticipated but again we knew that if we kind of weared her down – I mean we went back and forth between three different defenses today. We went with our match, we went with our man then we went with some junk defense on her and I think again it kind of wore her down.”
Charlton’s free throw for her 1,000th point was her final point of the night. A Rosenberger three and Casey jumper cut LC’s deficit to 49-44. Lewis-Eutsey put back a missed free throw and drew a foul at 4:31 – completing the and-one to pull the Crusaders within 49-47.
“Once she hit her 1,000th we thought they were so excited we thought that they just focused on that,” Casey said. “So we stepped it up as a team and we tried to take everyone else out of the game.”
Haley Habrack scored inside off a Morgan MacNeely assist to give Dallas a 51-47 edge but Rosenberger’s jumper had LC back down two.
MacNeely drove and dished to Habrack for a layup to again put the Mountaineers ahead four, but those were Dallas’ last points of the night. Two Lewis-Eutsey free throws at 2:35 made it 53-51. Casey, playing with four fouls, knocked a pass into the backcourt and chased it down for the tying layup.
“Just our pressure,” Lewis-Eutsey said. “Don’t let them pass around the perimeter, don’t make it easy, be up, go for everything but play smart, don’t foul and when you get the ball push it, convert always.”
DeVitis’ bucket that made it 55-53 gave Lansdale Catholic its first lead since 2-1 in the first quarter as the Crusaders struggled getting its offense on track in the opening half.
Dallas was up 12-7 after a quarter and pushed their advantage to nine twice in the second quarter – the last time at 27-18 after a Charlton trey.
A Lewis-Eutsey runner had LC within 27-22 but Dallas went into the break leading 30-22 after Victoria Spaciano’s putback just before the buzzer.
“I think that in the first half – maybe more specifically just the first quarter of the first half – our shot selection wasn’t great,” Gidney said. “And part of the problem was is that we just kind of kept going to the wing and we weren’t really reversing the ball much. And I think that that poor shoot selection was really just out of us running our offense really to the wrong side.”
A Charlton 3-pointer gave Dallas a 33-24 lead in the third before LC scored the next six – four from Lewis-Eutsey, with her two free throws at 5:45 making it 33-30. The Crusaders, however, could not get any closer in the quarter while the Mountaineers used an 8-0 run to build its largest lead at 48-35 after a MacNeely basket.
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