Team-first mentality helping Lourdes' girls in playoffs
How team oriented is Lourdes on this current run in the state playoffs?
If the Red Raiders' 16 assists on 21 fied goals against Girard College isn't enough of an indication, then the number 600 should be.
That's a large number, and yet somewhere along the line, 600, and then 601 and even 602 were overlooked, by Lourdes and everyone else.
The number in question (602) is the total number of wins belonging to Lourdes' head coach Mike Klembara.
And yet, nary a mention from anyone. Knowing Klembara, it's likely he'd rather celebrate with win 605 in just over a week.
"I don't care about that," Klembara said by phone Thursday. "Other people might, but not me. I'm more concerned with getting this year's team as far as we can go."
To get to that point, Lourdes is going to face even stiffer, and taller, competition.
First up for the Red Raiders is Southern Fulton, the District 5 runner-up at 1 p.m. Saturday at East Pennsboro High School in Enola in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals.
The Indians are 25-3 with wins in the state tournament over Juniata Valley, 63-30, and Halifax, 73-34.
And reports from various media outlets in the southern part of the state claim the Indians are as good as their record and those scores indicate.
Six-foot, 1-inch junior Ashley Roman was a dominant force against an undersized Halifax team. Roman scored 24 points and had seven rebounds, shades of what Benton's Justine Seely (35 points) and Girard College's G'mrice Davis (25 points), both six-footers, did against Lourdes.
Where Lourdes was able to make up the difference was by pressuring a weak supporting cast around both players.
That doesn't appear to be the case with Southern Fulton.
After Roman, Macey Hollenshead is well worth paying attention to. Hollenshead had 12 points and nine assists, six to Roman, against Halifax. As a junior, she has already scored 1,000 points for her career and committed to play at Division I Loyola (Md.). She's averaging 17.6 points per game.
Two more players, Kayla Chilcote and Taelor Morton, were in double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively, against Halifax.
"This is a very good basketball team," Klembara said. "They are on par with Tri-Valley."
The Indians are relatively new to the big stage under first-year coach Terry Bard and have never been to the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs. The Indians also lost their two biggest games before the state playoffs in both the league and district championship games.
It seems once again that Lourdes' defense, which allowed an average of 39.07 points per game, will need to carry the day.
Southern Fulton, however, allows even less at around 37 points a game and forced 22 turnovers against Halifax.
"We're not going to change anything," Klembara said. "We're going to press because that's what got us here. There's not much different either team can do but get prepared for the task at hand."
Lourdes is going to have to counter with deadly outside shooting from Sarah Getchey, who has snuck up on 1,000 career points with 957 thus far, and playing as selfishly as it has all postseason.
Then, maybe, just maybe, the Red Raiders can quietly congratulate Klembara on win 603.