With even PAC 10 records (14-3) and similar talent, the game was going to hinge on the production of their role players.
That edge went to the Crusaders, who received a huge lift from six-foot sophomore Kate Wojdula off the bench to help lead LC to a 55-51 comeback victory over St. Pius.
The win gives Lansdale Catholic the No. 1 seed in the PAC 10 playoffs. They will face No. 4 seed Owen J. Roberts on Saturday at Ursinus College, 6 p.m. The Winged Lions drop to the No. 3 seed with the loss and will face No. 2 Pottsgrove at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Ursinus.
St. Pius quickly took command of the game from the onset by deploying a full-court press that short-circuited LC's offense. Hurried passes in the backcourt led to turnovers and easy baskets for the Winged Lions, who took a 17-10 first quarter lead.
"We weren't executing out press-breaker at all," said LC head coach Maggie deMarteleire. "We were just running away. And then when the ball was being thrown we weren't coming back to it."
St. Pius also controlled the boards, outrebounding the Crusaders 16-10 through the first two quarters of play. A main player down low in the first half was junior forward Kristin Bone, who had eight points and three rebounds to lead St. Pius to a 29-24 halftime lead.
Wojdula, being the tallest player on the Crusaders lineup, saw plenty of action in the second half to give LC help in the rebounding category.
She provided that and more.
With the near-full Lansdale Catholic stadium responding louder to every critical play, Wojdula made rebound after crucial rebound, usually followed by a putback on the offensive end. Ten third-quarter rebounds and five points helped eliminate the Winged Lions lead. By the end of the third, LC was up 42-36.
"We were working a lot on offensive rebounding this week, that was our main thing," Wojdula said. "I knew I kind of had to step it up when I went in there, and everyone followed."
A team that in the beginning of the season depended too heavily on Lindsay Formica on the offensive end saw seven different girls contribute in the scoring category. Formica led the team with 21 points, freshman guard Michele Brokans had nine points and Lindsay's sister Katelin Formica contributed seven points.
Rayne Reber led Pius with 15 points, Bone finished with 12 points and Kimberly Brady had 10 points and eight rebounds.
It was a game in which both teams took turns dominating, setting up a very interesting PAC championship possibility.
"We're going to see them in the championship," said a very confident Joseph Masleh, head coach of the Winged Lions.