Muncy victory keeps Lourdes from berth in Class A state playoffs
MILTON - Lourdes will not be making a return trip to the PIAA state playoffs.
The Red Raiders' season closed Friday in Milton with a 51-46 loss to Muncy in the District 4 Class A consolation game.
Muncy will advance to the state playoffs and face District 11 champ Mahanoy Area in the first round.
Lourdes, just a year removed from its own third-place finish is District 4 and a spot in the state playoffs, finished the season 18-7 with all five starters set to graduate.
"This is the toughest part of coaching, me giving that last speech to those seniors," Lourdes head coach Pete Long said. "They mean a lot to me. I wanted them around my kids and I appreciate everything they gave the program."
The loss came down to two factors - size and shooting percentage. Lourdes was on the wrong side of both numbers.
As was the case all season, Lourdes had no answer for a big man.
Muncy's Nick Ring, a thick-bodied post player, ate up the smaller Red Raiders. The junior scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds.
Thirteen of his points came in the second half.
And as far as shooting went, Milton's rims were more than a little unkind to the Red Raiders.
Lourdes shot just 15 of 59 for the game, while Muncy, mainly because of Ring's nine buckets underneath, made 21 of 46 shots.
"Our two biggest problems were the big kid (Ring) and putting the ball in the hole," Long said. "We didn't shoot well from three and we missed a ton of baskets around the rim.
"I'm not disappointed with our execution, our effort or our hustle. I'm disappointed the basket wasn't a little bigger tonight."
The Red Raiders started the game by taking apart the Indians' man-to-man defense.
Zach Oquendo, who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, scored the game's first two baskets. Then Matt Savitski and Anthony Pennypacker were able to shake free of their defenders and drain 3-pointers to give Lourdes a 10-5 lead. Savitski hit another trey with one minute left in the opening frame, but was held scoreless until the game's closing seconds, and Lourdes had a 14-7 lead after the first quarter
"I wanted an up-tempo game," Long said. "I thought we could score on them in the open court. We did and they slowed it down."
For the second game in a row, Lourdes hit a wall in the second quarter.
Muncy's Bill Kolletzki sliced through the defense for two quick baskets to cut Lourdes' lead to 14-11.
With the defense concerned with Ring, Muncy's guards scored seven straight to then put the Indians up 20-19 with three minutes left in the half.
Pennypacker scored all eight of the Red Raiders' points in the second quarter and the game was tied 22-22 at the half. He finished with 16 to lead the Red Raiders.
From then on, it was Ring's game.
He scored seven of the Indians' 12 points in the third as Muncy grabbed a 34-29 lead.
"Inside, (Ring) killed us. Every time we made a run, he came up with a basket," Long said.
"We've had a matchup problem with every big kid this year. You see our size, but we usually found a way around it. Athletically, we got teams trapped, but they were tall enough to throw over the top of our trap, which I thought they did well. That was a big problem."
Ring kept it going in the fourth and Muncy had as much as an 11-point lead before Lourdes cut it to six, but didn't get any closer.
"I thought we executed our plan, but a lot of his points were putbacks," Long said. "We got around him, used our feet, but what can you do?"
LOURDES (46) - Menapace 1 2-3 4, Holleran 0 0-0 0, Gilger 0 0-0 0, Pennypacker 6 2-3 16, Savitski 3 0-0 9, Oquendo 5 5-6 15, Howal 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 9-12 46.
MUNCY (51) - Kolletzki 3 0-3 7, Sabanovic 0 2-3 2, Ghezzi 1 0-0 2, Scott 2 0-0 5, Fox 3 0-0 7, Clark 3 1-4 7, Ring 9 3-11 21. Totals 21 6-21 51.
3-point FGs: Pennypacker 2, Savitski 3, Fox.