Southern Fulton eliminates Lourdes
ENOLA - Southern Fulton looked the part of a 25-3 team coming into Saturday's PIAA Class A quarterfinal game against Lourdes Regional.
The Indians had size, focus and a penetrating point guard.
The Raiders picked a bad day to be off, and because of it the Indians ended their season, 47-29, in the matchup played at East Pennsboro High School.
Southern Fulton will play Tri-Valley, a 73-72 winner over Steelton-Highspire, Wednesday in the semifinals at a site and time to be determined.
Lourdes must console itself with being the latest team in the area, after Line Mountain in 2011 and Mount Carmel in 2012, to reach the final eight and exceeding everyone's expectations, even perhaps their own. The Red Raiders finished the season with a 22-6 record.
Seniors Kortni Koshinski, Nikki Komara and Sarah Getchey leave the program having been part of a run of five straight district championships and, with the success this year in the state playoffs, went deeper into the tournament than any Red Raiders' team in more than a decade.
"I complimented the girls because a lot of us thought we'd never get anywhere close to where we are today, and that's a special thing," Lourdes head coach Mike Klembara said. "I told the three seniors, Kortni, Nikki and Sarah, that they have a special place in my heart because they accomplished a lot of things. We set the bar high, winning districts and getting this far is fantastic.
"They played hard all year long for me, and they never let me down at any time."
The teams played to nearly a dead heat in the first quarter,
with Lourdes trying to pass around a tenacious 1-3-1 zone defense by Southern Fulton.
But the all-important momentum swing came at the buzzer when the Indians' Kayla Chilcote hit a 3-pointer to give Southern Fulton a 13-12 lead.
Lourdes trailed the rest of the way.
There were several factors that led to Lourdes' demise.
The Red Raiders couldn't penetrate the perimeter and settled for too many low-percentage shots, shooting just 2 of 19 in the second and third quarters combined.
Turnovers, usually a statistic Lourdes has an advantage in, were another bugaboo.
The passes that floated through the Indians' defense in the first quarter hung up long enough for Southern Fulton to step in front and take the other way, or simply never found their target.
The Red Raiders wound up turning the ball over 21 times.
And, last, there was the combination of Southern Fulton's Macey Hollenshead, the point guard, and Ashley Roman, Hollenshead's 6-foot-1-inch post-playing comrade. Both are juniors.
"I said to begin with that the key to stopping them was going to be (Hollenshead), and she created a lot of things," Klembara said. "She's as good as any of the guards we faced all year long.
"You have to control the point guard. She has a great feel for the game. If she didn't score, she set up somebody else to score. That's a great thing. They're going to make some noise not only this year, but next year, too."
Hollenshead had just nine points, but had six steals and seven assists.
If that wasn't enough for the Red Raiders to concern themselves with, Roman, a 6-foot, 1-inch center, added 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Lourdes had no way to counter that size offensively.
"We don't have a legitimate post player, but it was evident tonight because we couldn't get anything inside," Klembara said. "Attacking the 1-3-1 defense, they did a lot of the things I wanted them to do. We were hitting shots in the first quarter, but we just didn't click. We were forced to ball fake and our passes weren't as crisp as I thought they should be.
"We wanted to penetrate the gaps. We didn't have much of that all year long. We were more content with shooting open shots, and that's the personality of our kids."
Nikki Komara and Rachel Schultz each had nine points to lead Lourdes.
SOUTHERN FULTON (47) - Hollenshead 2 5-6 9, Morton 1 0-2 2, Spade 0 0-0 0, Wertz 2 2-2 8, Strait 0 0-0 0, Chilcote 5 1-1 11, Mellott 0 0-0 0, Roman 7 3-7 17. Totals 17 11-18 47.
LOURDES (29) - Long 1 0-0 2, Trell 1 0-0 2, Komara 3 3-4 9, Schultz 4 1-2 9, Getchey 1 0-0 3, Funk 2 0-0 4, Pennypacker 0 0-0 0, Koshinskie 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 4-6 29.
3-point FGs: Wertz 2, Getchey.