By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
Rachel Schultz got a quick pass, turned around and hit a jumper inside the arc with just four ticks remaining on the first-quarter clock. The basket gave Lourdes Regional a lead after Southern Fulton tied it up on its previous two possessions.
Four seconds is more than enough time for something to develop, though, and Southern Fulton was very much aware. The Indians quickly inbounded the ball and chucked it down court to senior Kayla Wertz who buried a trey near the far corner at the buzzer.
It may have just been the end of the first quarter and still three to play, but that 3-pointer drastically shifted the momentum.
The buzzer-beater sparked a 14-0 Southern Fulton run that took the wind out of the Red Raiders’ sails as they lost 47-29 in the PIAA Class A girls quarterfinals at East Pennsboro High School on Saturday.
“That started a run and I mentioned (that) to the girls at halftime,” Lourdes coach Mike Klembara said. “Then the same girl hit another trey. I said to begin with the key to stopping them was No. 5 (Macey Hollenshead) and she created a lot of things. She’s as good a guard as we’ve faced all year long.”
Hollenshead, Southern Fulton’s 1,000-point scorer, created havoc for Lourdes (22-6) all game. The junior scored nine points, assisted on five buckets and had a team-high six steals. When Lourdes focused on Hollenshead defensively, it opened up the floor for other Indians, such as Ashley Roman, a 6-foot-1 junior who led all scorers with 17 points and grabbed a team-high 11 boards.
“If I were to recommend anybody to play them, you’ve got to control the point guard (Hollenshead). She’s very good. She has a great feel for the game,” Klembara said. “If she didn’t score, she set up somebody else to score and that’s a great thing (to have).”
Southern Fulton (26-3) advances to face Tri-Valley, a 73-72 winner over two-time defending state champion Steel-High, at a site and time to be determined on Tuesday.
Lourdes’ offense went cold in the second quarter and by the time Caitlin Funk scored on a putback with 3:21 to play, the Indians had already built a double-digit lead. Lourdes cut the deficit to 26-18 when Gabriella Long made a jumper, but Southern Fulton responded by closing out the half with a basket to regain a 10-point lead.
Schultz (7 rebounds, 3 steals) and Nikki Komara (10 rebounds) led Lourdes’ offense with nine points each.
The Red Raiders quickness didn’t work as it had throughout this postseason. Their quick passing and ball movement failed to get Southern Fulton out of position often enough for open looks. Lourdes also committed 20 turnovers as the Indians recorded 13 steals.
“We went to a man defense and I thought for awhile that was OK, then they rolled a high pick-and-roll and we didn’t read it correctly,” Klembara said. “The game is a game of hills of valleys and that was a big hill that we were never able to climb up again.”
Lourdes scored just one point in the third quarter when Schultz sank a free throw that made it an 11-point game. From that point, Southern Fulton went on a 13-0 run for a 20-point lead.
In the middle quarters, Lourdes was outscored 28-7 and trailed by as many as 24 points.
“I think the real difficulty that we had was we don’t really have a legitimate post player to speak of. Not that we really needed one or anything like that, but it was evident (Saturday) because we couldn’t get anything inside,” Klembara said. “They did a lot of things I wanted them to do. We were hitting shots, certainly in the first quarter, and we had some other shots, but we just didn’t click. We were forcing the ball and our passes weren’t as crisp as I thought they should be.”
Sarah Getchey had just one 3-pointer in the loss, but increased her single-season school record to 59.
For the Lourdes seniors especially, it was a great run that not many expected.
“A lot of us thought we’d never even get close to (the state quarterfinals) and that was a special thing. I told the three seniors — Kortni (Koshinskie), Nikki (Komara) and Sarah (Getchey) — you have a special place in my heart because they accomplished a lot of things. We set the bar high (with) winning districts, getting this far ... fantastic,” Klembara said.
“Two sophomores, two seniors and a junior (in our starting lineup). They played hard all year long for me and never let me down at any time,” Klembara added.