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Lourdes Regional girls fall in district semis

Feb. 24—DANVILLE — Mike Klembara and his Lourdes Regional girls talked a lot about history repeating itself Saturday.

The Red Raiders can only hope the deja vu continues well beyond their 44-33 loss to St. John Neumann in the District 4 Class A semifinals.

"We were in the same situation last year, same gym," said Klembara, Lourdes' long-time coach. "Maybe history's going to repeat itself."

A year ago in the district semifinals the Red Raiders had a first-half lead on St. John Neumann, but they were out-rebounded by more than two dozen boards in an eventual 16-point loss. Rebounding then became their focus, a point of pride that carried them all the way to the state championship game.

In Saturday's rematch back at the McCloskey Center, Lourdes led wire-to-wire in the first half despite serious foul difficulty before the Golden Knights' took control with a 17-3 third-quarter surge. The Red Raiders slashed a 12-point deficit to five with just more than 3 minutes to play. However, Neumann went 7-for-8 at the foul line down the stretch to clinch its 17th consecutive win and a return trip to the district title game.

"It's definitely disappointing," said Lourdes senior Leah Kosmer. "We wanted to win districts this year ... and we had this game.

"The third quarter definitely hurt us bad."

Second-seeded Neumann (21-4) will face defending champion and top-seeded Meadowbrook Christian (25-1) in a rematch of last year's final next week. The third-seeded Red Raiders (15-9) have a chance to qualify for the state playoffs as they did last year — via the district third-place game — against No. 4 Bucktail (14-10).

Lourdes' senior class — headlined by all-state guards Paityn Moyer and Masie Reed, and rounded out by multi-year starters Cassidy Grimes and Kosmer — was the program's first since the Class of 2007 to be denied even a single district title.

Grimes scored a team-high 15 points despite sitting the latter half of the second quarter with three fouls. Kosmer added eight points and five rebounds. Moyer and Reed, who combined to average 20.2 points through the district quarterfinals, each scored a fourth-quarter bucket.

"We've got to have balanced scoring — seven, eight, nine points from a lot of different people," Klembara said. "Give (the Golden Knights) a lot of credit. They deserve it. Their girls executed, (but) they did absolutely nothing that we did not anticipated. Everything they did we prepared for, but we did not execute well enough offensively or defensively."

The Red Raiders started well overall, if slightly slow on the offense end. Moyer stuck with Neumann's dynamic senior forward, Gigi Parlante, in a box-and-one as the Golden Knights shot 1-of-7 from the floor. Grimes and Kosmer scored on consecutive trips late in the opening quarter for an 8-2 lead.

There were red flags, though. Moyer picked up her second foul with 2:40 left in the first, and Grimes was whistled for a second with 22.4 seconds to play. Moyer then picked up her third foul not two minutes into the second quarter and was subbed out for the rest of the half.

Grimes hit a 3-pointer after Moyer's exit, but a few minutes later she drew her third foul and was forced to sit.

"I think with Paityn and I both out, it was definitely ... not a turning point, but it benefitted them," Grimes said.

Neumann senior forward Lizzie Weller (11 points, eight rebounds) scored to pull Neumann within 13-11, and Lourdes held a two-point edge at halftime (15-13).

"It's definitely nice to have all of our starters in. We all work really well together," said Reed. "With them out, our defense was fine but we couldn't get anything going on offense."

"It's also confidence with them," Kosmer added. "It's a lot different because we've all been playing together since we were four."

Another red flag was Neumann's first-half shooting percentage (19% overall, 0-for-7 from 3-point range), which began turn around soon after the break. The Knights hit a pair of third-quarter 3s while going 5-for-13 from the floor. Lourdes, meanwhile, was 0-for-8 in the third, managing only three Grimes free throws.

"We had to score, we had to get a run on them," Grimes said, "but I think we tried too hard and our nerves got the best of us."

Parlante finished with her 17th double-double of the season (11 points, 21 boards), and junior guard Niyah Tutler was Neumann's third 11-point scorer.

"Our game plan was the box-and-one, which was effective, however we missed opportunities," said Klembara. "I told the girls that we needed to keep our poise throughout the course of the ballgame. I thought, particularly in the second half until maybe halfway through the fourth quarter, that we lost a lot of poise. We were rushing things when we shouldn't have."

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DISTRICT 4 CLASS A GIRLS BASKETBALL

SEMIFINAL

At Whitey McCloskey Center, Danville H.S.

ST. JOHN NEUMANN 44, LOURDES REGIONAL 33

Lourdes Regional (15-9) 33

Masie Reed 1 0-0 2, Paityn Moyer 1 0-0 2, Cassidy Grimes 5 3-6 15, Anna Keer 0 2-4 2, Leah Kosmer 4 0-2 8, Hannah Lokitis 2 0-0 4. Totals 13 5-12 33.

3-point goals: Grimes 2.

Did not score: Vivian Reiprish, Onaleigh Barnes.

St. John Neumann (21-4) 44

Sophie Reed 1 0-0 2, Lizzie Weller 2 7-10 11, Gigi Parlante 3 5-6 11, Bre Nixon 3 1-2 9, Niyah Tutler 2 6-6 11. Totals 11 19-24 44.

3-point goals: Nixon 2, Tutler.

Did not score: Kallee Johnson.

Score by quarters

Lourdes Regional;8;7;3;15 — 33

St. John Neumann;3;10;17;14 — 44