Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3)
ROYERSFORD — Life in the Philadelphia Catholic League prepares a team for just about anything.
So, after a very rough second quarter Sunday evening, Devon Prep retreated to its team room far from defeated. Yes, the Tide had turned a 10-point lead early in the quarter into a double-digit deficit against District 3 champion Columbia in the span of about seven scoreboard minutes, but it wasn't anything Devon Prep couldn't fix.
The second half belonged to Devon Prep and a strong closing effort by IV Pettit sent the third seed from District 12 into the Class 3A quarterfinals with a 76-73 win over the Crimson Tide.
IV Pettit (above) had 29 points as Devon Prep advanced to the state quarterfinals. (Photo: Andrew Robinson/CoBL)
"We pretty much said not to get discouraged," Pettit, who bagged a team-high 29, said. "We had to come back out with the same energy we had in the first quarter. We couldn't let a 10-point deficit affect the entire rest of the game, so our message was to play hard on defense, play smart on offense and just come out with energy."
Pettit was good early and great late, which could be said for a few of his teammates as well. Devon Prep came out firing and connecting, splashing in four 3-pointers - two apiece from Pettit and Allen Cieslak - as it took a 24-15 lead over Columbia to open the nightcap of a triple-header at Spring-Ford.
A free throw by Pettit put Devon Prep up 10 just 19 ticks into the second quarter, then things came apart. Kerry Glover, who was fantastic for Columbia with 30 points and Robert Footman, who wasn't far behind with 20, just started attacking over and over. The Crimson Tide combo either got to the line or stuck a midrange jumper on repeated takes while the Columbia defense sped up Devon Prep in what became a 23-3 run to end the half.
Glover had 11 points in the quarter, capping it with an exclamation point on a three with 1.3 seconds left that sent the Lancaster County power to the break with a 38-28 lead.
"We were rushing our shots and playing sped up," Pettit said. "We had to calm down, stay patient on the offensive end and play hard on defense."
It may have been hard for anyone watching to spot the patience in a game that was mostly played under the "all gas, no breaks" adage of thinking, but there was a calmness amidst the chaos to Devon Prep's approach after halftime.
"It comes from playing with each other and also playing off each other," Pettit said. "It was pretty much a back-and-forth game, which made it important for us to stay calm, stay with each other and play at our tempo, not theirs."
Pettit had plenty of praise for the Crimson Tide's toughness and hard-nosed style but he also knew his team was capable of handling it. Ben Costello opened the third with a 3-pointer, setting the tone for a quarter where the longball would dictate things for Devon Prep.
Lucas Orchard buried three looks from the perimeter, all set up by kick-out passes from his teammates and the PCL's Tide found a lot of success driving into the lane and making a pass out to an open shooter in the corner as they chipped away at the lead.
A pair of free throws by Pettit cut the lead to one with 55.7 left in the third, then he poked away a steal and took it the other way, drawing another shooting foul with a chance to go ahead. In the first two instances of what would be a repeating motion, Pettit knocked down both freebies as Devon Prep came all the way back and took a 50-49 lead to the final frame.
"We practice a lot of free throws, nobody was putting pressure on me from the bench or on the court," Pettit said. "I was going to take my time and do what I do in practice."
Pettit opened the fourth with a three off an offensive rebound and kick-out by Cieslak, who was big with 15 points for Devon Prep, then answered a Columbia hoop with another trey assisted by Cieslak. The Crimson Tide got within 58-56 with 4:27 left, then it was Cieslak burying a clutch three and Orchard, who finished with 17, putting in two at the line.
From there, it was a clinic in execution at the foul line as Devon Prep went 10-of-13 at the line in the final 1:24. The Tide led 74-68 with 19 seconds left before Columbia got a couple late baskets to pull the final score closer.
"We trust each other," Pettit said. "We're with each other pretty much 24/7. We can all do anything on the court, so we all trust each other. It all started with being unselfish."
Devon Prep will get a rematch with West Catholic in the state quarterfinals on Wednesday. The Burrs, who knocked off defending state champion Loyalsock on Sunday, are 2-0 against Devon Prep this season with the most recent a 10-point win in the PCL quarterfinals.
"It means a lot, we want to play them again and hopefully this time it'll be our time to get that win," Pettit said.
Devon Prep: 24 | 4 | 22 | 26 || 76
Columbia: 15 | 23 | 11 | 24 || 73
DP: IV Pettit 29, Lucas Orchard 17, Allen Cieslak 15, Ty Mishock 8, Jacen Holloway 4, Ben Costello 3
C: Kerry Glover 30, Robert Footman 20, J'Von Collazo 11, Brelon Miller 5, Jordan Poole 3, Aiden Miller 2, Daezjon Jones 1, Arthur Poindexter 1
Casey gets 1K as Lansdale Catholic advances
Gabby Casey knew exactly how many points she needed.
She also knew she wanted to get those nine points as quick as possible so she could get back to winning a basketball game. As it turned out, the Lansdale Catholic junior managed both, scoring her 1,000th point early in the second quarter and then scoring the Crusaders' final 10 points to carry them to the PIAA Class 4A quarterfinals.
Casey's 25-point day propelled LC past Allentown Central Catholic 49-41, giving the forward plenty of time for photos with the balloons and signs her family had brought to the game.
"I knew at the beginning of the season where I was at and I really wanted to score it this year," Casey said. "It served to motivate me over the summer and get me to where I could achieve what I wanted to achieve. It pushed me to try and score it my junior year, which luckily we made the playoffs and I had the chance to do it today."
LC fell behind early but Casey helped bring them back and was at eight points with 1:50 left in the opening quarter. She'd have to wait, missing her next three shots but finally got the milestone score on a tough drive with 3:01 left in the first half.
"I really wanted to get it out of the way so I could go back and play my normal game," Casey said after taking a couple dozen pictures with friends and family after the game. "I did feel a little pressure, but that only motivated me to get it going early and get on with it.
"It was really surreal, I'm really thankful I could spend that first moment with my teammates, they do so much for me and seeing them be so happy made it more special."
The Crusaders had the moment but at the half, the Vikettes had the lead thanks to a scorching hot second quarter from Molly Driscoll, who scored all 14 for ACC in the frame as they took a 25-22 lead to the break.
LC stuck freshman Sanyiah Littlejohn on Driscoll after halftime and the sweet-shooting ACC sophomore only got three more shots and two more points the rest of the way. On the other end, the Crusaders kept hitting the open player and slowly started to build a lead.
"I think we played one of our best games today in terms of sharing the ball and playing good defense," Casey said. "That really pushed us to stay with it and I think we found a way to fight through the adversity we faced going to halftime."
Finally, Casey put things away by out-scoring the District 11 runner-up 10-6 in the final three minutes to send her team to the elite eight for a second time in three seasons.
LC will face District 3 champion Delone Catholic in Wednesday's quarterfinals. The Squirettes edged the Crusaders earlier this season in Boyertown's holiday tournament title game.
Lansdale Catholic: 11 | 11 | 12 | 15 || 49
Allentown CC: 11 | 14 | 6 | 10 || 41
LC: Gabby Casey 25, Nadia Yemola 11, Lauren Edwards 9, Saniyah Littlejohn 4
ACC: Molly Driscoll 16, Hanna Hoenig 10, Abbey Koforth 6, Armani Brickhouse 5, Madi Szoke 4