Lans­dale Catholic downs O’Hara for first league win

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - SPORTS - By Matthew DeGe­orge mde­ge­[email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @sports­doc­tormd on Twit­ter

LANS­DALE >> There were mo­ments Sun­day af­ter­noon where it was hard to be­lieve Lans­dale Catholic and Car­di­nal O’Hara had got­ten near the half­way point of the Catholic League sea­son with­out a con­fer­ence win. The ex­quis­ite half­court ball move­ment ex­e­cuted by Kyle Kane in LC’s cir­cle-cuts and the pic­ture-per­fect 18-foot jumpers hit by O’Hara big man Solo Bam­bara in the first quar­ter held the prom­ise of two teams whose tal­ents ex­ceeded their win to­tals.

But by the fourth quar­ter, as the turnovers and missed free throws piled up, it be­came clear why they en­tered among the five win­less squads at the foot of a PCL stand­ings quickly sort­ing into two dis­tinct tiers. And be­fit­ting a matchup of strag­glers, it was the team that made the fewest mis­takes that got its first tick mark in the win col­umn.

De­spite faulty shoot­ing from the free-throw line late, LC held on at home for a 53-48 vic­tory.

“It was scary,” LC for­ward Nick Romeo said. “Coach (Joe Cor­bett) told us yes­ter­day that free throws might be big to­mor­row, and he was right. But luck­ily that didn’t hurt as much as it could have.”

The fi­nal un­sightly tally at the line for Lans­dale Catholic (3-10 over­all, 1-6 PCL) was 14-for-29, in­clud­ing four missed front-ends of one-and-ones. In the fourth, they shot 8-for-17 from the stripe, miss­ing two front-ends. But they did enough de­fen­sively to keep the game in hand, lim­it­ing O’Hara (6-8, 0-6) to five field goals and 15 points af­ter half­time.

The Cru­saders’ de­fense had O’Hara off bal­ance from the start. The Lions are one of the area’s most de­pen­dent teams on the 3-pointer, with 10 play­ers who’ve con­nected on at least one deep ball this sea­son and six with eight or more makes. The one-tofive shoot­ing abil­ity made a zone de­fense that in­vites long shots the un­ortho­dox de­ci­sion, but LC’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to get hands in shoot­ers’ faces made it work. O’Hara shot 5-for-19 be­hind the arc and never got into a shoot­ing rhythm to make Lans­dale pay.

“We’re all shoot­ers, so we al­ways have got to try to hit the open man, the open shots,” Bam­bara said. “Against big­ger teams, be­cause we’re not so big, we’ve got to try to hit open shots. We do what­ever we can to get the next man open shots.”

“Coach told us that they were a shoot­ing team, they were go­ing to hit some and we can’t get down on our­selves,” Romeo said. “Credit to the team, we came ready to go and even when they hit some, we got back out on them more. The coaches kept us go­ing the whole game. They came out in the sec­ond half and hit a cou­ple more, but we just fought back.”

Bam­bara hit a 3-pointer from the cor­ner in the fi­nal sec­onds of the first half, and Adrian Irv­ing’s 3-pointer two min­utes into the third quar­ter gave O’Hara its largest lead at 38-31, but the Lions missed their last eight at­tempts from deep.

Lans­dale Catholic, though, kept me­thod­i­cally find­ing of­fense in the lane. Romeo led the way with 13 points and 10 re­bounds. Cen­ter Hunter Healy scored nine points. Kane added 11 points and Tim Cu­nane chipped in 10, the vast ma­jor­ity on high-per­cent­age drives to the rim or jumpers within 10 feet. Kane dished five as­sists, and Cu­nane led the way with four steals.

“They fought through it and I was proud of them,” Romeo said of the two-way ef­fort from Kane and Cu­nane. “We kept talk­ing to each other and we knew what we had to do, and we got it done.”

Healy’s sec­ond-chance bas­ket in the fi­nal minute of the third quar­ter evened the score at 41, and he con­verted a three-point play early in the fourth to put LC up for good at 44-41, part of a 10-3 run.

O’Hara’s an­swer wasn’t firm enough. An­thony Pur­nell hit a run­ner two min­utes into the fourth to claw within 46-44. Their next bucket wouldn’t come un­til Jameel Bur­ton tossed in a sec­ond-chance deuce with 18 sec­onds to play, in­dica­tive of too many missed jumpers.

“Some­times we feel too com­fort­able about shoot­ing too many shots, and when there’s an open layup we can take, it’s like our guys aren’t some­times con­fi­dent enough,” Bam­bara said. “But we’re def­i­nitely go­ing to work on that.”

Pur­nell led O’Hara with 14 points. Irv­ing had 11 and nine re­bounds, and Bam­bara tal­lied nine.

There re­main end-of-game items for both teams to work on — like O’Hara get­ting a put­back bas­ket that would’ve made it a two­point game nul­li­fied by an off-ball

“Some­times we feel too com­fort­able about shoot­ing too many shots, and when there’s an open layup we can take, it’s like our guys aren’t some­times con­fi­dent enough. But we’re def­i­nitely go­ing to work on that.”

— O’Hara cen­ter Solo Bam­bara

foul. Or LC foul­ing Dai­jon Wo­mack shoot­ing a 3-pointer with nine sec­onds left in a five-point game only for Wo­mack to miss all three free throws.

For O’Hara un­der first-year head coach Ryan Nemetz, it comes with the ter­ri­tory of a ros­ter loaded with ju­niors and sopho­mores that are tal­ented but still grow­ing to­gether.

“We’re pretty young and we’re try­ing to get into the flow of it be­cause there’s dif­fer­ent guys who’ve come over from dif­fer­ent places,” Bam­bara said. “We’re try­ing to get a good bond with each other and hope­fully next year we’ll come out and show out.”

LC is a lit­tle fur­ther along in its growth, and Sun­day was a re­ward.

“It’s a big one,” Romeo said, “and hope­fully it keeps snow­balling and we keep rolling.”

In other Catholic League ac­tion: Due to weather, Arch­bishop Car­roll’s trip to Neu­mann-Goretti and Arch­bishop Wood’s visit to Bon­ner & Pren­der­gast sched­uled for Sun­day were post­poned. Both games will be played Mon­day night at 7.

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