Home » Keystone Classic in Philadelphia: Lebanon Wins in Riveting Fashion; Lancaster Catholic Rally Falls Short
Fashion Global News Lebanon News

Keystone Classic in Philadelphia: Lebanon Wins in Riveting Fashion; Lancaster Catholic Rally Falls Short

PHILADELPHIA — Two Lancaster-Lebanon League blue-blood girls basketball programs touched down in the City of the Brotherly of Love on Saturday to participate in the Keystone Classic.

These kinds of one-day, showcase events are becoming more and more popular these days, especially on this end of the state, where you can pretty much find an event on any given weekend during the season in the greater Philly area.

The School of the Future hosted the seven-game Keystone Classic. Reigning L-L League runner-up Lebanon and reigning District 3 Class 3A champ Lancaster Catholic were here.

The Cedars won in riveting fashion. The Crusaders played a spirited fourth quarter, but came up short. Both played against other blue-blood programs, and all four teams made spirited PIAA state-playoff runs last winter.

Lebanon got the go-ahead free throws from Liliana Harrison with 13 seconds to play and edged longtime WPIAL kingpin Pittsburgh North Catholic 51-49. Catholic hung tough until the bitter end, but dropped a 54-41 decision against Philly Catholic League behemoth Cardinal O’Hara.

By the way, Lebanon KO’d Catholic in last season’s L-L League semifinals; we’ll see if that rematch materializes in the coming weeks.

Cardinal O’Hara 54, Lancaster Catholic 41

The Lions, who fell to eventual PIAA champ Archbishop Carroll in last season’s all-Philly-Catholic-League 6A state semifinals, and who returned four starters from that team, drilled five first-half 3-pointers and opened up a 34-19 lead at the break against the Crusaders, who slipped to 4-1 overall.

Catholic’s energizer-bunny defense spent the afternoon chasing O’Hara’s D-I backcourt; Drexel recruit Molly Rullo scored 22 points, and La Salle commit Joanie Quinn added 12 points. They were murder from the arc. When Catholic cut into the Lions’ 19-point lead in the waning minutes, Rullo and Quinn splashed back-to-back dagger 3-pointers to finally douse the Crusaders’ furious comeback.

Down 46-27 through three, Catholic forced eight fourth-quarter turnovers, Carleigh Anderson had a couple of clutch buckets — including an and-one — and Mary Bolesky scored seven of her 14 points. Alas, the Crusaders couldn’t get over the hump; they had a very early 7-3 lead, but O’Hara started making shots.

The Lions, who won state championships in 2021 and 2022, made seven treys in all, and only turned the ball over three times in the first half — an excellent number against a Crusaders’ team that thrives on forcing turnovers and getting easy transition buckets.

A loss, yes. But some great experience for Catholic, a 3A state semifinalist last season.

“They’re one of the best teams I’ve had to prepare for in 10 years,” Catholic coach Charlie Detz said about O’Hara. “They just don’t have many weaknesses. But we made them work well into the fourth quarter. It just took is a little while to figure out that we could play with them. That fourth quarter, that’s who we are. And that’s what we need to build on from here.”

Lebanon 51, North Catholic 49

Harrison had herself a day.

The Cedars’ powerful post had 16 points and 15 rebounds, and when she stepped to the foul line in a 49-49 game with 13 seconds to go, she coolly and calmly hit both free throws to give Lebanon the lead for good.

At the other end, the Cedars had to sweat out Ava Walker’s last-gasp, top-of-the-key 3-point attempt. Her shot was deflected, and when Harrison plucked the rebound, Lebanon won it and improved to 3-2.

The Cedars were down this way last week to take on D1-6A power Perkiomen Valley. Lebanon went home that night with a lopsided loss. And the Cedars fell to Manheim Township in their Section 1 opener on Thursday. So this win, against a perennial Pittsburgh power, was not only needed, but a nice line on Lebanon’s ledger.

North Catholic’s sweet-shooting Harvard recruit, Alayna Rocco, poured in 22 points with five 3-pointers. She was a thorn in Lebanon’s side throughout. The Trojanettes — who fell to Blackhawk in last season’s 4A state semifinals — had a 20-19 lead at the break, but the Cedars grabbed a 31-28 lead on Tyana Camuy’s 3-pointer.

Lebanon, which went to the second round of the 6A state playoffs last March, led by as many as six in the fourth quarter — 47-41 on Kailah Correa’s bucket; she chipped in with 11 points — but Rocco knocked down a pair of treys, and Brady Wehner’s 3-ball with 49 seconds left knotted it up at 49-49.

Cue Harrison, whose clutch foul shots gave Lebanon the lead for good, and whose rebound clinched it. She was marvelous throughout.

“This was a really good experience,” Lebanon coach Jaime Walborn said. “We’re stepping outside of our comfort zone a little bit. But we want to be uncomfortable because it will help us grow. We want to play some different teams that have some tradition and have experience in these kinds of situations. We want to get to that point if we’re playing for something bigger down the line.”

Source : LNP Lancaster Online