OLOL rallies for victory in final
COAL TOWNSHIP - This is the kind of building block successful seasons are constructed upon.
Lourdes came away from its own season-opening tournament with a championship, a 2-0 record and, probably more importantly, the knowledge that it can rally from behind against a quality opponent.
Trailing virtually from the opening tip, the Raiders took
their first lead halfway through the third quarter, took the lead for good less than a minute into the fourth quarter and held off a strong New Hope Academy team down the stretch for a 62-58 victory.
The importance of the victory, even at this early point in the season, wasn't lost on veteran Lourdes coach Pete Long.
"This was a good early-season win," an obviously happy Long said following a brief meeting with his team after the game. "That's a good District 3 team we beat."
The Raiders spent most of the first half chasing a Mighty Ants team that was always in front, but never able to push that lead into double digits. New Hope would go up 6, 7, 8 points, then Lourdes would whittle it down. When they broke for the half, the Ants were up three, 34-31.
The third quarter followed that same pattern, or nearly so, although Lourdes did lead briefly a couple times and pulled even at 46 heading into the final eight minutes.
Then, with growing confidence, the game became the property of the Raiders.
Anthony Pennypacker, who finished with a team-high 17, popped free out front for a 3-pointer and a 49-46 lead 24 seconds into the quarter and the Raiders led from that point on. Twice, at 56-48 and 58-50, they pushed that margin to eight.
"This really was a team effort," Long said. "I don't think I can put my finger on any one reason we won the game. Maybe the most important thing was being gutsy."
That, and following - and sticking with - the game plan Long laid out.
"I told them we had three goals," Long said. "Tempo, rebound and get back on D.
"I think we achieved all three, and we got the W."
It was on the boards where the Raiders may have been even more impressive. The final advantage was only three, 33-30, but senior Zack Oquendo was the dominant force on the floor, finishing with 14 boards, six more than any New Hope player could manage.
Oquendo, with 14 points, was also the third Raider to score in double figures, joining Pennypacker and Matt Savitski, who finished with 16.
Freshman guard Montrel Morgan led New Hope and matched Pennypacker for game scoring honors with 17. Kaewan Matthews was next with 11 for the Mighty Ants.
NEW HOPE ACADEMY (58) - B. Murray 0 3-4 3, March 3 0-0 7, Nunez 1 0-0 2, Farquher 1 0-0 2, Matthews 5 1-4 11, Brown 2 0-0 4, Morgan 7 2-3 17, Salisbury 3 0-2 6, Harris 3 0-0 6. Totals 25 6-12 58.
LOURDES (62) - Menapace 4 1-3 9, Gilger 0 0-0 0, Pennypacker 7 2-3 17, Savitski 3 9-13 16, Oquendo 6 2-8 14, Howal 1 2-4 4, T. Holleran 0 2-2 2. Totals 21 18-34 62.
3-point FGs: March, Morgan, Pennypacker, Savitski.