Cru­saders roll past Hat­boro-hor­sham

North Penn Life - - Opinion - By An­drew Mar­cus amar­cus@jour­nalregis­ter. com

It was only four min­utes into the ac­tion and a Joe Nance one-timer sig­naled lift off for the Lans­dale Catholic ice hockey team. The Cru­saders rock­eted wris­ters at Hat­boro-Hor­sham repet­i­tively and of the three dozen shots on goal, a third of them found net­ting in a 12-2 win.

The most en­cour­ag­ing part was the Cru­saders cruised with­out head coach Mike DiDi­nato and their top two scor­ers, Michael Longhi­tano and An­drew Hart. The win helps put a dis­ap­point­ing 6-3 loss to rp­per Moreland be­hind them. Now they can start gain­ing ground in the SHSHL Amer­i­can Di­vi­sion.

“In a game like tonight you FDn finG youUVHOI noW giv­ing it your all,” as­sis­tant coach Bill Becker said. “We have a cou­ple things to work on, but in gen­eral it is about keep­ing the in­ten­sity up.”

Though DiDi­nato was ab­sent from the bench, Hart was re­cu­per­at­ing from a shoul­der in­jury suf­fered away from the ice, and Longhi­tano was tak­ing the night to bat­tle the win­ter bug, the Cru­saders still con­nected with reg­u­lar­ity. Liam McCorry scored three of his four goals in the third pe­riod against the Hat­ters ( 0- 10). Those three goals came within the first three min­utes of the fi­nal pe­riod and with more than 12 min­utes re­main­ing the mercy rule was put into ac­tion and the game was called.

“The boys really got them­selves ready to play,” Becker said. “The two guys out tonight are key, so it was nice that other guys picked it up.”

As­sis­tant cap­tain Pa­trick Longhi­tano added three goals in the win. He knew with his younger brother not in uni­form he was go­ing to have to pick up his of­fense. The brothers have com­bined to score 33 goals in the 10 games. The se­nior de­fense­man and the sopho­more for­ward make a deadly pair on the ice.

“I played Min­ute­men with him last year and this is my sec­ond year with him on this team,” Pa­trick said. “I have pretty much played with him my whole life and it is a lot of fun. We al­ways know where each other is go­ing to be on the ice.”

The im­prove­ments of both the Longhi­tano boys are a big rea­son the Cru­saders (8-2) are keep­ing hope alive that they can catch Arch­bishop Wood for a di­vi­sion crown and make an­other deep run in the Flyer’s Cup.

“We knew we had to come ouW fly­LnJ WKLV wHHN,” LonJhi­tano said. “We did that and got out of here fast. Once An­drew and Mike are back wH wLOO EH fiULnJ on DOO FyOin­ders. We are gear­ing up for the play­offs and we will be ready to go.”

The Cru­saders lost the likes of Nick Sette to grad­u­a­tion, but bring­ing back a num­ber of linch­pins in their OLnHV PDGH WKHP Fon­fiGHnW they could com­pete with the best teams in the area. They do not just have a strong of­fense, but great chem­istry. Al­most like they were all brothers.

Lau­ren Crisler grabbed 12 re­bounds, played tough on the de­fen­sive end, had a cou­ple of key blocks to re­sound­ing cheers — and, oh yeah, also scored a game-high 24 points — to lead the North Penn girls bas­ket­ball team to a 3V-26 win over Soud­er­ton Area Thurs­day night.

Crisler’s ver­sa­tile per­for­mance gave the Maidens a reg­u­lar-sea­son sweep of their Sub­ur­ban One Con­ti­nen­tal Con­fer­ence ri­val and it al­lowed the Maidens to win in much more con­vinc­ing fash­ion af­ter the two teams bat­tled into over­time WKH fiUVW WLPH DUounG.

“I knew this was go­ing to be a tough game be­cause Soud­er­ton’s a good team and they really wanted to come out and beat us,” Crisler VDLG. “:H MuVW KDG Wo fiJKW back and I think we really brought it as a team, not necHVVDULOy Ln WKH fiUVW KDOI, EuW in the sec­ond half we really picked it up.”

brin Ma­her hit a pair of key jumpers in the third quar­ter for the Maidens (131, T-1 con­fer­ence), the sec­ond one putting them in front for good at 22-20. Crisler EDWWOHG WKUouJK WUDI­fiF DnG scored from un­der­neath to ex­tend the mar­gin to 24-20, and a drive by Vicky Tu­masz and a score off a re­bound by Crisler gave the Maidens an eight-point lead head­ing into the fourth.

“Lau­ren had a really big game - huge,” Maidens coach Mag­gie deMarteleire said. “She really played out­stand­ing - she works hard. brin had a cou­ple big bas­kets in the third quar­ter, and we needed that. We needed other peo­ple in or­der for us to win and I thought it was a great team ef­fort in the sec­ond half.”

A three by Tu­masz gave the Maidens a 33-24 lead mid­way through the fourth, and Crisler’s jumper with 3:10 to go put North Penn in fiUP FonWUoO DW 35-26.

6ouGHUWon (7-4, 5-3 Fon­fer­ence), led by Bianca Pi­card’s 10 points, was up by three at the half, but the Maidens’ de­fense raised it up a notch af­ter the break.

“The last time we played Soud­er­ton, we were for­tu­nate to win — they were uS Ey 16 Ln WKH fiUVW KDOI,” deMarteleire said. “This time, I thought we really buck­led down on de­fense.”

Mikaela Gi­u­liani em­bod­ied the Maidens’ re­solve, adding nine re­bounds and fivH VWHDOV.

CULVOHU, wKo finLVKHG wLWK three blocks in all, scored all of the Maidens’ points in WKH fiUVW TuDUWHU Wo SuW WKHP ahead 8-T.

Both teams came out cold

SKRRWLNJ IRRP WKH flRRR, but Crisler was a steady force for North Penn. Af­ter Katie O’Connor hit a three to give the In­di­ans a 3-0 lead, Crisler sank a pair of free throws and then scored un­der­neath to push the Maidens in front 4-3.

Crisler again hit a pair of foul shots to give North Penn a 6-3 lead, and af­ter a bucket by Soud­er­ton, Crisler’s jumper ex­tended the mar­gin to 8-5. O’Connor brought the Big Red within 8-T by the end of the quar­ter, but Crisler had got­ten her­self es­tab­lished right away.

“Af­ter our loss to CB West, that was a tough one, but I think we can go un­de­feated for the rest of the sea­son and hopefully win this con­fer­ence,” she said.

Soud­er­ton’s Austin Murphy takes a shot over North Penn’s Ja­son Jones dur­ing Thurs­day’s Sub­ur­ban One Con­ti­nen­tal Con­fer­ence ac­tion.

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