COAL TOWNSHIP — Lourdes Regional’s “revenge tour” makes one of its biggest stops today at Muncy High School at 3 p.m.
The Red Raiders (20-7) face St. John Neumann (18-9) in the Class 1A girls basketball state quarterfinals, a rematch of the Golden Knights’ 63-47 win in the District 4 semifinals Feb. 25.
“We’re very excited to play them,” Lourdes junior Leah Kosmer said.
Her classmates Masie Reed and Cassidy Grimes both called it part of a “revenge tour.”
“We’ve thought about it a lot and reflected on it,” Grimes said of the loss to Neumann. “We’ve taken what we didn’t do in that game and worked on it in the following games.”
One thing the Red Raiders didn’t do well against the Golden Knights was box out. St. John Neumann held a 50-23 rebounding advantage, and that has been a big focus for the Red Raiders over the last three weeks.
“It’s about everything we’ve been talking out,” Kosmer said.
“We realized we did need to start upping our boxing out,” Grimes said. “The Neumann game really opened our eyes to how much we needed to work on that.”
Gigi Parlante led St. John Neumann with 15 points and 19 rebounds, and Elizabeth Weller finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
“We had never played Neumann before in all of our high school career,” Kosmer said.
“They were definitely better than we thought they were going to be,” Reed said. “We didn’t know anybody who played them, so it was hard to tell how good they were going to be.”
The Red Raiders had a lot of success with their press, especially in the first half against the Golden Knights. Lourdes forced 31 turnovers, 19 in the first half.
“We have to play better defense,” Reed said. “Our press was really good against them the first time. But if we can get more steals and points off that, it would be good.”
After taking a 35-31 lead into halftime against Neumann, the Red Raiders were outscored 32-12 in the second half.
“Our confidence level really dropped in the second half,” Kosmer said. “We need to keep our heads up for the entire game.”
In three wins since then, Lourdes has outscored its opponents 83-55 in the second half, including 50-18 in the third quarter.
“We’ve definitely been playing more as a team during states,” Reed said.
“Our game (Wednesday) really affected us a lot,” Kosmer said of a 55-34 win over Shade in the state second round. “We all played together. We were all excited and having fun. It boosted our confidence.”
That good play in states plus the added motivation of a chance at revenge has the Red Raiders feeling good ahead of their rematch with Neumann.
“I’m feeling confident, and I’m sure the rest of the team is feeling confident as well,” Grimes said. “The first time we played them was definitely a learning experience. It definitely opened our eyes. We’ve put that one behind us and are focused on what’s ahead of us.”
Lourdes bounced back from the loss to Neumann with a win over North Penn-Liberty in the district third-place game that put the Red Raiders into states. After that game, Reed said the Red Raiders were going to reach at least the state quarters after losing in the state second round a year ago.
“We have a great team,” Reed said. “We wanted to come further than we did last year. That’s what we did. We want to keep going.”
Now the Red Raiders have a shot at revenge and a spot in the state semifinals where their opponent will likely be Meadowbrook Christian, a team Lourdes defeated during the regular season.
“We worked so hard for this,” senior Tori Lindemuth said. “We all really want it.”
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