Roman topples Lansdale Catholic
As Lansdale Catholic senior Jim Rock swished a three-pointer in the final minute of Philadelphia Catholic League action on Friday, it brought his team within 10 points of Roman Catholic. The Crusaders were once again displaying the relentless effort that allowed them to carry a threegame winning streak into their home gym.
However the Cahillites extended the margin large enough that the Crusaders ran out of time before they could collect their first PCL win of the season. The 67-52 loss reminded the Crusaders (6-2, 0-2 league) despite the nonleague wins, there is still some work that needs be done in order to be suc- cessful in the high-level league.
From the opening tip the Cahillites’ obvious advantage in length made its presence felt. The long-armed defenders dipped into passing lanes and went the other way for easy buckets. Bluechip junior Shep Garner scored 13 of his gamehigh 23 points in the first quarter.
“They are a pretty special basketball team,” Crusaders coach Ed Enoch said. “We played hard, but I thought we could have played better. The kids are working hard, but you have to earn every win. Wins do not just fall into your lap.”
The Crusaders first attempted to slow the tempo and avoid rushed passes and shots. They worked off screens and used the quick fire shooting of juniors Corey Kirk and Andrew Riviello for offense. Kirk scored 10 points and Riviello led the Crusaders with 15 points.
“We practice coming off screens,” Riviello said. “If I see a little bit of space, I have to get my shot off. I think it is one of my strengths.”
What Riviello lacks in size, he makes up for in heart. Even though you can find him posted up on the perimeter during offensive-sets, he is always crashing hard to help rebound. However Riviello’s hard dashes to the basket did not always result in a rebound against the Cahillites.
“A lot of Catholic League teams are similar and we are undersized,” Riviello said. “We have to come out and give it 110 percent. We all have to crash the glass and while a lot of guards are bigger than me, I still have to make sure they do not get any rebounds.”
The execution was there. The Crusaders had seven different players come down with at least a pair of rebounds. Kyle Pavlik finished with a doubledouble, 10 points and 10 boards. But trailing 5036 heading into the final frame, the majority of the quarter was spent fouling purple jerseys and hoping they were going to have an off-night from the foul line. The Cahillites made 23-of-30 free throws compared to one foul shot made for the Crusaders.
“People say drive the ball, but you can’t,” Enoch said. “They are too long and athletic. They will make a few steals and score points in bunches. vou have to play aggressive and hope you shoot the ball well.”
The Crusaders are determined to prove the 6-1 start was more than smoke and mirrors. They have proven they can hang with some of the top teams in the Philadelphia Catholic League already, and the confidence of the early non-league wins are bound to pay dividends. The hope is it will come as early as this Monday when they square off with BonnerPrendergast.
“The kids are having fun and our practices are much better,” Enoch said. “Winning makes things easier. Kids pay more attention and make my job easier. It’s a slow process, but we are building something here.”
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