State champions! Lansdale Catholic claims first state title with gutsy performance; Plus 📸!
The biggest games of the high school basketball season take place this weekend with the PIAA state championships in Hershey, and Lansdale Catholic proved more than ready to bring the school's first state title back home to Montco. The Crusaders faced District 7 runner-up Blackhawk in the Class 4A final at the Giant Center.
Check out photos from the game and the celebration afterwards right here:
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Final: Lansdale Catholic 53, Blackhawk 45
For the first time in team history, the Lansdale Catholic Crusaders are PIAA state champions.
While they found themselves trailing at halftime, an unusual occurrence for this team, the Crusaders put together a spectacular second half, which included an 11-0 run, to claim the Class 4A title. Gabby Casey was incredible, as usual, scoring a game-high 28 points and pulling down 16 rebounds. It was also a stellar showing by Blackhawk, with the Cougars coming in as the underdog. Junior Alena Fusetti led Blackhawk with 20 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter.
The Crusaders’ historic season included a Catholic League championship, a District 12 championship, Casey breaking the school’s all-time scoring record, and, finally, a PIAA Class 4A Championship.
Saniyah Littlejohn opened the fourth quarter with a bucket for LC, then raced to the other end to block a Blackhawk shot. Alena Fusetti scored the first basket for Blackhawk since early in the third quarter, but Casey countered with a fadeaway jumper. After a steal, Littlejohn dished to Casey, who puts the Crusaders up 46-36 with four minutes remaining.
The Cougars are clawing their way back into this one, and Fusetti’s three-point play cuts into the Crusaders lead. A 3-pointer from Kassie Potts makes it 46-42 with three minutes to go, and, after a timeout, Fusetti hits another 3-pointer to make it 46-45. LC responded with a free throw from Littlejohn and then a driving basket from Casey, to give the Crusaders a four-point lead with under a minute remaining. With a few free throws in the final 45 seconds, the Crusaders scored the final seven points of the game and close out the 53-45 victory.
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Third Quarter: Lansdale Catholic leads 38-30
Casey tied the game 25-25 with a 3-pointer to open the third. Hupp hit one from beyond the arc as well to put the Cougars up, but Casey scored from the paint. After a Jaida Helm block, Cougars call timeout with 5:30 remaining, and they are up 30-27. A 3-pointer from Olivia Boccella gave the Crusaders their first lead of the game since 2-0. The Crusaders lead 32-30, and timeout is called after Helm forces another turnover.
Nadia Yemola takes advantage of a fast-break opportunity as the Crusaders go on a 9-0 run and take a 6-point lead in the final minute of the third, which prompts Blackhawk to take another timeout. But the Crusaders closed the quarter on an 11-0 run and led 38-30 to end the third.
Halftime: Blackhawks leads 25-22
Gabby Casey has 11 points, 11 rebounds for LC
Alena Fusetti has 10 points and Aubree Hupp 8 points for Blackhawk
LC has 17 rebounds and Blackhawk has 9
Blackhawk has 5 turnovers, compared to LC with 9
Blackhawk went 10-22 from the floor
Second Quarter: Crusaders lead 9-8 to start the second
Blackhawk started the second quarter well and doesn’t seem to be missing anything. Freshman Aubree Hupp hit a big three-pointer for Blackhawk two minutes into the second, followed by Haley Romigh. Fusetti also scored again as Blackhawk goes up 21-14. Helm, under pressure, drives to the basket and scores ahead of a media timeout with 3:54 remaining in the second.
After the timeout, Casey helps the Crusaders climb back in it, and she already has a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. With 45 seconds until halftime, the Crusaders trailed 25-22. Blackhawk’s defense doesn’t seem too rattled and forces their second 5-second violation of the game. Going into halftime, Blackhawk holds a 25-22 lead.
First Quarter: LC holds narrow lead
The first points of the PIAA Class 4A championship game are scored by Crusaders’ sophomore Nadia Yemola. Alena Fusetti followed with a 3-pointer for Blackhawk. With four minutes remaining, Casey, who sank a layup for LC’s next basket, was called for her second foul. Jaida Helm also picked up a foul for LC.
After a TV timeout, both teams seemed to be settling in. Helm hit a free throw to tie the game at 5-5 with three minutes left in the opening period. Boccella closes out the first quarter with a layup in transition on a feed from Casey. The Crusaders lead 9-8 after the first quarter.
Tip Off: Noon
Lansdale Catholic: Senior Gabby Casey (g) #15, Senior Jaida Helm (f) #2, Junior Olivia Boccella (g) #11, Sophomore Saniyah Littlejohn (g) #3, Sophomore Nadia Yemola (g) #10
Blackhawk: Senior Kassie Potts (g) #2, Junior Alena Fusetti (g) #11, Freshman Aubree Hupp (g) #20, Junior Haley Romigh (g) #25, Junior Piper Romigh (g) #30
This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: PIAA Girls High School Basketball Championship Lansdale Catholic