By Marion Valanoski
For The Daily Item
MONTOURSVILLE - Pete Long went through a near white-knuckle experience while Mike Klembara barely broke a sweat Thursday night but the end result still brought forth a smile for the two veteran coaches in the opening round of District 4 Class A basketball playoffs at Montoursville High School.
The Red Raiders' boys used clutch foul shooting down the stretch by Matt Menapace and Zack Oquendo's offensive rebounding to lead Lourdes past Sayre, 49-41, while on the girls' side, rode the torrid three-point shooting of Sarah Getchey and solid defense en route to rolling past Galeton, 57-15.
Oquendo opened the fourth quarter with four straight points to increase the lead to 40-30, and all indications pointed to the Red Raiders (18-5) coasting home to a convincing triumph over the Redskins (13-10). Unfortunately, Sayre had other thoughts and almost came within a whisker of upsetting the number three seed.
Taking advantage of early poor foul shooting in the period by Lourdes, the visitors began to get the ball to their top shooter Nate Williams, who had returned to the lineup after missing seven games with an ankle sprain, and the sharpshooter caught fire in the quarter with six points, including a put back miss that brought Sayre to within a basket of tying the score, 42-40, and had the home team on its heels.
"We missed several front ends of one-and-ones that could have given us some breathing room but the ball just wouldn't fall," Long said. "They got a few long rebounds and suddenly were back in the game, but give credit to our players, they didn't panic but instead came up with some big plays on both ends when we needed them."
More than big plays the Red Raiders with under three minutes to play began to make their foul shots.