Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Crusaders dominate rematch
nThe Lancaster Catholic boys put up a solid all-around effort in stopping Lebanon Catholic. BY ED GRUVER, Sports Staff
LEBANON -- Among the things you won't find in Thursday's boxscore of Lancaster Catholic's surprisingly one-sided 52-36 L-L Section Four boys' basketball win here at Lebanon Catholic:
n Crusader ball hawks Eric Schneider and Josh Riley combining to hold star guard Tim Orr to eight points, 10 below his team-high average.
n Randolph Speller dishing out a game-best six assists, while helping provide suffocating defense on another of the Beavers' big scoring threats, Anthony Pletz.
n And, Omar Lopez hauling down a team-high nine rebounds to go with his game high-tying two blocks.
"Everyone has a role on this team," said Schneider, whose hyper-intense play likely could wear down the Energizer Bunny. "Everyone contributes."
Every Crusader did. Erik Goldbach scored 11 points and Lopez added 10 to lead a list of seven Lancaster Catholic players who scored. The end result was that the much-anticipated rematch -- Lebanon Catholic won the first meeting, 62-55, Jan. 2 in Lancaster -- turned into a mismatch.
"I thought this was the first time we were never really in the game this year," said Beavers boss Scott Clentimack, who saw his squad score a season low.
Lebanon Catholic's previous low was 48 in a Dec. 12 win over Lancaster County Christian.
"If you do this long enough you're going to have nights like this," Clentimack added. "You have to put it behind you. It's one game."
But it's a big game as far as the L-L standings are concerned. Lancaster Catholic, seeking its fifth straight Section Four title, improved to 10-3 in the league and 13-5 overall with three games remaining in the L-L's regular season.
"We're down to a three-game schedule," said Crusaders coach Joe Klazas, whose squad stays a step ahead of Lancaster Mennonite (9-4, 13-6), a 62-54 winner over Columbia on Thursday. The Crusaders play the Blazers in the season finale on Feb. 5.
"We want to take care of business," Klazas added.
Lancaster Catholic took care of business Thursday night on Assumption Hill. After falling behind 4-0 on buckets by Pletz (team-high 13 points and game-best 12 boards) and Alex Frattaroli (10), Speller's feed to Lopez fueled a 9-0 run that put the Crusaders in front for good.
Threes by Schneider and Goldbach helped Lancaster Catholic to a 14-10 lead at the close of the first quarter, and Speller's dish to Lopez for a layup closed the first half and increased the Crusaders' margin to 25-14.
A 10-2 scoring surge to start the third gave Lancaster Catholic its largest lead of the night at 35-16, and they went on to match that spread twice in the fourth quarter. Needing to win to stay in the championship chase, the Beavers (7-6, 12-6) were held to 28 percent shooting (13 of 45) from the field for the three-plus quarters that their front seven was on the floor.
"We didn't get any good looks," Clentimack said. "They made some adjustments from the first game."
Klazas said that while the Crusaders don't normally play the passing lanes and instead focus on help-side defense, the plan Thursday was to take touches away from Orr. The senior was limited to six attempts from the floor; just two in the first half.
"They try to run their offense through (Orr)," Schneider said. "We wanted to limit his touches."
The Crusaders succeeded, and in so doing, moved one step closer to putting the finishing touches on another section title.