LANSDALE >> An absence of officials had the Lansdale Catholic and Archbishop Carroll girls basketball teams waiting more than hour after Tuesday night’s scheduled tip-off time to finally get their PCL Red Division contest underway.
For the Patriots’ Grace O’Neill, the hold-up was just one more thing to toss onto the pile of unpredictability that is playing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think kind of with just the entire season, everything’s changing,” Carroll’s junior All-PCL guard said. “And I think as a team we were just kind of trying to keep our mindset the same and stay in the game even though it we had an unexpected delay.”
The wait — which ended up being 68 minutes from what was to be a 5 p.m. start — did little to hinder the visiting Patriots. Archbishop Carroll scored the opening 11 points, stretched its lead out to 21 at halftime and rolled past the Crusaders 65-40.
“I felt like we were trying to find third gear while they were already in overdrive,” LC coach Eric Gidney said.
Lansdale Catholic (0-2, 0-2 division), which finally got its season underway Monday night with a 61-60 loss to defending Catholic League champ West Catholic, cut its early deficit down to eight at 20-12 in the second quarter after a Gabby Casey putback. But Carroll capped the half by collecting 19 of the last 22 points — five each from O’Neill and Brooke Wilson — with a Maggie Grant 3-pointer making it 39-18 at the break.
“I’m viewing this as this is still November, this is still actually December — this is still very early in our schedule,” Gidney said. “We didn’t have any preseason, we didn’t have any scrimmages or anything like that, so we’re still learning. It’s real tough to learn against the PCL Red Division, right, and you’re looking at who I expect to be one of the three teams that probably going to contend for a PCL title at the end of this season and there’s no margin for error.”
The Patriots (4-1, 4-1), which won their fourth straight after falling to Archbishop Wood in their season opener, had 11 players register at least a point with three finishing in double figures.
“Just sharing the ball is a big thing in our offense,” O’Neill said. “No one really cares who scores, it’s just more of if we win then that’s great. And I think that’s a great mindset to have as a team.”
O’Neill posted 11 of her team-high 16 points in the first half while Taylor Wilson had 10 of her 13 points before intermission. Grant added 10 points, eight prior to the break.
“When you have a delay like that it definitely kind of gets to you a little bit,” O’Neill said. “But I think we just talked to the team, we can’t let this get to us, just come out strong like we would of if it wasn’t an hour difference of whatever.”
For a while Tuesday night, it seemed as if the teams were in a perpetual state of warmups before eventually taking a break as they waited for the referees to arrive at LC. The second official’s entry into the gym was met with applause and a few minutes later the game started. A third ref joined the crew later in the first quarter.
“That’s why I was like let’s go back in but let’s not get too tight,” Gidney said. “But hey, the stuff that’s happened in the last 11 months there’s nothing that fazes me any more.”
Gabby Casey scored 15 of her game-high 20 points in the second half for the Crusaders while Olivia Boccella tallied all nine of her points before halftime.
LC, which moved into the PCL Red this season after going a perfect 10-0 in the league’s Blue Division last year, next game is home against Archbishop Wood 5 p.m. Friday. Archbishop Carroll visits Bonner & Prendergast 6 p.m. Friday.
“There’s no cupcakes on the schedule and we’re OK with that,” Gidney said. “We’re going to learn, we’re going to still have fun and like I said at least this year, the fact that we even get to step on a court and play is an accomplishment for everybody that gets to do it with everything that’s going on with COVID.
“So just keep maintaining being grateful, that’s how I look at it.”
Carroll pushed the paced Tuesday with an energetic press on defense and good ball movement on offense. A Grant free throw at 3:53 in the first quarter made it 11-0 before Cassidy Saulino’s jumper put the Crusaders on the scoreboard.
Grant’s drive for two put the Patriots up 16-2 before a Boccella three in the final seconds had LC down 11 at the end of the first eight minutes.
Two O’Neill free throws at 7:11 in the second quarter gave Carroll an 18-5 advantage before a 7-2 Lansdale Catholic burst – Lauren Edwards’ jumper making it 20-10 followed by a Casey putback to cut the margin to eight.
The Patriots, however, answered by scoring the next seven with Brooke Wilson’s three-point play at 3:06 extending their lead to 28-12. Casey knocked down a three but Carroll ran off eight straight, going up 36-15 on a Taylor Wilson basket.
“I think we were just kind of working as a team really well, sharing the ball,” O’Neill said. “And I definitely think, we scouted them, that our press was something that we wanted to focus on and I think we were able to execute that very well.”
Boccella was fouled on a shot beyond the arc and made all three free throws with 50.2 seconds left in the half but Grant’s three put Carroll back ahead 21 going into the second half.
Taylor Wilson began the third with a trey while O’Neill finished a 10-2 run with five consecutive points, her 3-pointer giving Archbishop Carroll its largest lead at 49-20.
Casey had eight of her points in the third, her three-point play at 3.4 seconds making it 53-31 entering the fourth. Casey’s basket after a steal had LC down 56-38 but that was as close as the home side could get.
Archbishop Carroll 65, Lansdale Catholic 40
Archbishop Carroll 16 23 14 12 — 65
Lansdale Catholic 5 13 13 9 — 40
Archbishop Carroll: Grace O’Neill 5 4-4 16; Taylor Wilson 5 2-3 13; Maggie Grant 4 1-2 10; Karli Dougherty 2 1-2 5; Brooke Wilson 2 1-2 5; Chloe Bleckley 1 1-4 4; Megan Sheridan 1 2-2 4; Lizzy Hennessy 1 0-0 3; Machaela Henry 1 0-0 2; Brooke Hippert 1 0-0 2; Courtland Schumacher 0 1-2 1; Totals 23 13-21 65.
Lansdale Catholic: Gabby Casey 8 1-1 20; Olivia Boccella 2 3-3 9; Lauren Edwards 3 1-2 7; Cassidy Saulino 2 0-0 4; Sam McHugh 0 0-1 0; Totals 15 5-6 40.
3-pointers: AC-O’Neill 2, Bleckley, Grant, Hennessy, T. Wilson; LC-Casey 3, Boccella 2.