Lourdes overcomes tough Sayre squad
MONTOURSVILLE - Lourdes was right to be wary of Sayre.
The Redskins had a 13-9 record, a talented scorer in Nate Williams and enough depth to keep the Red Raiders' attention.
For the first 27 minutes, none of that mattered to the Red Raiders, who played with a double-digit lead for most of the game, but it was the last four minutes that showed what both Lourdes and Sayre were made of.
Lourdes' experience eventually overcame Sayre's late
run and the Red Raiders won 49-41 to move on in the District 4 Class A playoffs.
"We found a way to win, and we move on," Lourdes' head coach Pete Long said.
"I knew it was going to be a tough game. That's a good basketball team with a very, very good player. When you have to concentrate on a player of that caliber, it gets everyone else going. They hit an open shot, grabbed an offensive rebound and they were right back in the game."
Lourdes will play the winner of the matchup between Sullivan County and Galeton, a game being played tonight.
Either way, the Red Raiders have two chances to qualify for a return trip to the PIAA playoffs thanks to a gutty fourth-quarter performance by their seniors.
Matt Savitski hit two free throws to double a Red Raiders' two-point lead with 2:58 left to give Lourdes some breathing room after a furious rally by Sayre.
The Red Raiders were able to build a lead almost immediately thanks to a concentrated effort on the offensive glass by Zack Oquendo. The senior forward put back two rebounds for easy buckets as Lourdes finished the first quarter with a 14-5 lead.
Lourdes grabbed and maintained a double-digit lead by matching every basket Sayre made with one of its own.
Anthony Pennypacker scored nine points in the second and third quarters, while Sayre's Williams made enough plays to keep the Redskins close.
And then Lourdes' lead just seemed to evaporate in the fourth quarter.
Seth Murrelle and Nick Skerpon hit back to back baskets for Sayre and Williams pushed the action, scoring seven of the Redskins' last nine points to cut the Red Raiders' lead to two with 3:06 left in the game.
"I know it seemed like we were up by 10 for forever, but we couldn't put them away," Long said. "They kept hanging around, and a young team, like they are, when you get some confidence anything can happen. We made some plays at the end to pull it out.
"We are a veteran team and we found a way to win. We could have crumbled easily when they took it from 10 to two."
Oquendo scored the Red Raiders' final field goal and led the team with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Williams finished with 17 points and eight boards for Sayre.
SAYRE (41) - Murrelle 2 0-0 4, Higby 3 3-3 10, Sweet 0 0-0 0, W. Wampole 0 1-2 1, Skerpond 1 0-0 2, A. Wampole 1 1-2 3, Williams 6 4-6 17, Kochin 1 0-2 2, Kyc 0 0-0 0 Galicic 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 9-15 41.
LOURDES (49) - Menapace 2 2-2 6, Holleran 0 0-0 0, Gilger 0 1-6 1, Pennypacker 5 1-3 12, Savitski 2 2-2 8, Oquendo 8 2-7 18, Howal 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 8-20 49.
3-point FGs: Higby, Williams, Pennypacker, Savitski 2.