Lourdes reaches Elite 8
READING - For the third straight year, the area will have a team in the Elite Eight of a PIAA girls tournament.
This year, Lourdes gets the honor after a decisive 57-42 win over Girard College at Reading High School's Geigle Complex Wednesday.
The Red Raiders will play Southern Fulton, a 73-34 winner over Halifax, Saturday with site and time to be determined.
Lourdes is one of three Schuylkill League teams still in the PIAA playoffs, joining Tri-Valley and Pine Grove.
"There are only four teams after today left in the east (in Class A) and we're one of them," Lourdes head coach Mike Klembara said. "Who would have thunk that at the beginning of the year? It's a great accomplishment for our kids. I told them a couple weeks ago, don't let anyone tell you what you can't do, in life or on the basketball floor."
Lourdes' balance and unselfishness prevailed on a night when it didn't have a size advantage in the paint.
The Red Raiders had three players in double figures, five players tallied at least one assist and six players had a rebound.
And except for a brief stretch in the third quarter, Lourdes had nothing to fear - just like the rest of the Red Raiders' postseason run.
Lourdes grabbed a 7-2 lead with a couple backdoor layups by Caity Funk and Nikki Komara and a 3-pointer by Sarah Getchey.
Getchey finished with 15 points, and Komara had 10 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
Girard College closed to 8-5 before Getchey hit another wide-open 3-pointer and the Red Raiders finished the quarter with an 11-7 lead.
Even with the lead, Lourdes had to wonder what if a couple more of its shots found the bottom of the net?
The Red Raiders shot just 4 of 15 in the first quarter, bad enough to let G'mrice Davis and the Cavaliers stick around.
Davis, a 6-foot, 1-inch, forward, scored at least four points in every quarter and had 12 rebounds for the game.
Lourdes meant business in the second quarter, though, and outscored the Cavaliers, 18-7.
The Red Raiders forced eight of their 33 turnovers in that frame and had Girard College on the ropes.
Rachel Schultz scored five of her team-leading 19 points for Lourdes in the second quarter and Getchey connected on her final 3-pointer.
"Rachel hit some big shots and Sarah hit some treys early in the ball game," Klembara said.
The run was indicative of what Lourdes did to its opposition all season - frustrate them and produce points off turnovers.
Girard College didn't go away though.
The Cavaliers got to within seven points in the third quarter but lagged down the stretch.
Lourdes helped the Cavaliers' comeback bid by committing six turnovers and missing 15 shots in the quarter.
Davis scored 10 for the Cavaliers and got help from guard Jodi Marshall, who scored six of her 10 points in the quarter.
"We knew that (Davis) and (Marshall) were key players that we had to stop. (Davis) is very athletic," Klembara said.
"They made a run at us and we kept our poise. I'm disappointed in some of our turnovers, but all in all we kept our poise pretty good."
Lourdes scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to get its lead back to double figures and a steady diet of foul shots and easy layups guided the Red Raiders the rest of the way.
In other Class A action, Steel-High beat Jenkintown 74-39, and Tri-Valley beat Old Forge 68-44 to round out the rest of the eastern side of the tournament.
GIRARD COLLEGE (42) - Pugh-Arrington 1 0-1 2, Davis 10 5-7 25, Smith 0 0-0 0, Marshall 5 0-2 10, Brown 1 1-2 3, Washington 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 6-12 42.
LOURDES (57) - Long 0 0-0 0, Trell 0 2-4 2, Komara 5 0-1 10, Schultz 7 5-8 19, Getchey 4 4-6 15, Funk 4 0-0 8, Pennypacker 0 1-2 1, Koshinskie 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 12-21 57.
3-point FGs: Getchey 3.