HS GIRLS' BB: Lourdes downs St. John Neumann

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Mar. 18—MUNCY — It was gnawing at them for more than three weeks.

It was on their collective minds.

Feb. 25, the District 4 Class A girls' basketball semifinals, and a loss to St. John Neumann that kept Lourdes Regional out of the district championship game.

The Red Raiders wanted another shot at the Golden Knights and the state playoffs provided that.

Lourdes' satisfaction was on display during the celebration moments after the Red Raiders toppled Neumann 50-35 in a PIAA Class A quarterfinal Saturday afternoon at Muncy High School.

Up next for Lourdes is a semifinal matchup Tuesday with District 2 champion Mountain View (21-6), which advanced earlier Saturday afternoon with a 47-41 overtime victory over District 4 champion Meadowbrook Christian.

"I was definitely nervous coming into today, because I didn't play really well the last time we played them," said Lourdes junior Leah Kosmer in the moments following Saturday's victory. "That's all we thought about was Neumann.

"We just wanted to win that bad."

After a tight first half that closed out with the Red Raiders holding a slim 21-19 lead, it was a huge third quarter that set them apart and sent them on their way to the state semifinals.

Kosmer, who finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, Masie Reed and Chloe Rishel scored four points each in the third quarter as Lourdes went on a 16-6 run that put them in a comfort zone and put all the pressure on the Golden Knights.

"That first game was a learning experience for us," Lourdes coach Mike Klembara said. "You should always take a loss or a win as a learning experience.

"What we did the very next day in practice, I told my assistants to come up with a great block-out drill or drills to get us better defensively. I thought that was very important that we came up with a drill that we do every day in practice, every game in pre-game. A lot of credit goes to my assistants. I had a big concern because the last time we played them, they had four or five treys. I think today they only had one."

Lourdes' defense was nothing short of outstanding. The Raiders held St. John Neumann 17 points under their season scoring average. They limited the Golden Knights to just one triple, and that came early in the first quarter.

And, this might be the biggest accomplishment, after pushing the lead to double digits with the big third quarter, the Red Raiders never presented an opportunity for Neumann to get back in the game.

"From the time we lost to St. John Neumann, they were saying we want Neumann again," Klembara said. "They got their wish and we had to show up or shut up.

"We showed up."

In a very physical game against a physically bigger team, the Raiders played well in every aspect. The defense obviously shined, limiting solid scoring opportunities and forcing 20 turnovers.

So did the offense, where point guard Reed led the way with 15 points. And there were contributions across the board with Rishel, Paityn Moyer and Cassidy Grimes following Kosmer's 10 points with nine, seven and six, respectively.

On the boards against the bigger Golden Knights, the Raiders pulled down 39 rebounds with Kosmer and Rishel topping the list with 12 and 11, respectively.

"Paityn Moyer stepped up her game," Klembara said. "Cassidy Grimes made some clutch buckets for us.

"Obviously, the leader of the group is Masie Reed because she's touching the ball all the time and she runs the floor, she's the coach on the floor."

With a state semifinal berth secured, Klembara said his team is enjoying the ride.

"It's a short turnaround," Klembara said. "I'll take it every year, but it's the girls.

"The girls deserve it. We're fortunate to be surrounded with, not only great girls, but also their parents. Let's enjoy it for what it is."

Contact the writer: croth@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6025; @repheraldsports on Twitter