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Jim Church Classic (Dec. 2): Lansdale Catholic, Hopkins make memory; Worley, Abington win star-studded battle

12/03/2022, 4:45am EST
By Owen McCue

Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

As part of the opening night of the PIAA hoops season, Souderton Area High School hosted the first round of the 8th annual Jim Church Classic on Friday. The event, sponsored by the Souderton-Telford Rotary benefits the Children's Tumor Foundation.

The all-CoBL area slate featured a pair of boys and pair of girls games as Upper Dublin vs. Dock Mennonite boys tipped at 3 p.m. before Abington vs. West Chester Rustin girls, Souderton-Mount St. Joseph girls and Souderton-Lansdale Catholic boys rounded out the rest of the action.

Here is the coverage of the event:

Hopkins, Lansdale Catholic get memorable win over Souderton

Lansdale Catholic senior Matt Hopkins had 19 points in a win over Souderton on Friday. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

Lansdale Catholic senior Matt Hopkins knows there’s a termination date for his competitive hoops career.

Hopkins won’t be playing hoops next year, so each game this season gets him closer to him hanging up his sneakers. The goal is to tuck a few more memories before then.

The 6-foot-2 guard added to the memory bank on Friday against Souderton. He scored a team-high 19 points and made clutch play after clutch play as the Crusaders opened their season with a 53-50 win, which was followed by a storming of the court by their student section.

“Our fans are electric, so I thought something was coming,” Hopkins said. “But a court storming? I had no idea that was going to happen. It made me all the more excited.”

“I’m gonna remember this for a long time.”

The bleachers at Souderton are a little bit farther from the court than most high school gyms, so the handful of Souderton students in attendance stood about 10 feet in front of them throughout the game to try and create a home court advantage.

The Big Red appeared ready to give their student section plenty to cheer about when they went up by nine in the first few seconds after halftime. Then came a a 12-3 run by the Crusaders that knotted the game at 29-29 in the middle of the third. That’s when things got fun.

During the next 12-plus minutes of action there were four ties and nine lead changes. No one went up by more than three and each time the advantage grew the other squad responded back.

By the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, others joined the Big Red cheering section standing courtside and a sizable contingent of Crusaders faithful left their seats in the bleachers to stand behind the LC bench. 

Hopkins took over the game in the final moments for his team. He drilled a three to put his team ahead 48-45. After Souderton junior Bill Sackor (11 points) responded with a long ball of his own, Hopkins got to the line and knocked down a pair of free throws to put LC back ahead.

With his team clinging to a 50-48 lead, he kept Souderton from tying with a steal and went down to score the seventh straight point for his team and extend their advantage to four, 52-48 with a little more than a minute left. A few moments later he and his teammates watched James Blair’s (11 points) game tying attempt rattle out before their classmates joined them on the floor in celebration.

“That’s a great opener,” Hopkins said. “You couldn’t have it any other way. A great team, we fought hard. We struggled in the first half, woke up in the second half and won the game.

Hopkins and senior forward Evan Lojewski (15 points) and senior guard Harry Daviesare the starters back this season for LC, and junior Brendan Stewart, who banked in a three at the end of the first half saw limited minutes off the bench a season ago.

Hopkins averaged 5.8 ppg and 6.0 rpg in PCL play last season. LC will be looking to lean on a ‘more mature’ version of him in 2022-23 as they try and improve on a two-win campaign in 2021-22. He said he can heat from deep, but he likes to drive and get to the cup or dish to his teammates. Something he did both of on Friday.

He scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half, including nine in the fourth quarter alone to lead the win.

“Hop has developed so much from last year,” LC coach Joe Corbett said. “We’ve asked him to improve on his leadership, just being a great teammate, letting the offense come to him and I think it showed tonight. Harry fouls outs, Shane (Gillen) goes down and he’s the only captain left and nothing changed. There was no letdown in emotion or anything, we just stayed the course. He proved it. He’s a leader. It’s awesome to see.”

“Last year, I don’t think we see that side of Hop.”

Corbett said Hopkins had a tough opening tournament last season, but he could tell talking to him earlier on Friday that he was ready to avenge last season’s loss to Souderton. 

The senior captain is ready to leave it all out there as he finishes up his hoops career and see if he and his teammates can put a few more ‘Ws’ on the board before all is said and done.

“They called on me to lead this year, so that’s what I want to do, get out there and lead the boys,” Hopkins said. “I just want to lead the boys to a win.”

Lansdale Catholic 53, Souderton 50

By Quarter

Lansdale Catholic:  15  |  15  | 11  |  17 | 11  ||  53

Souderton:  12 |  11 | 12 | 14 ||  50


Lansdale Catholic: Matt Hopkins 19, Evan Lojewski 15, Brendan Stewart 7, Andrew Montagna 6, Shane Gillen 3, Harry Davies 3.

Souderton: Nate Hemsing 14, Bill Sackor 11, James Blair 10, Jared Zimmerman 6, Levi John 5, Chanse Salone 2, Aiden Maue 2.


Worley, Abington win star-studded matchup against McGurk, Rustin

When seniors Cire Worley and Laine McGurk take the floor for their respective teams, it’s very likely a big number will be posted next to their names in the scorebook at the end of the contest.

It’s why Abington’s Worley (UMass-Lowell) and West Chester Rustin’s McGurk (Drexel) are headed to the Division I level at the conclusion of their high school careers and their high school teams have hopes of deep postseason runs.

Worley, McGurk and their squads faced off on Friday and the star-studded contest did not disappoint. McGurk poured in 35 points to start her season, while Worley finished with 21 after a slow start.

It was the Ghosts’ complimentary pieces, however, who made the difference in a 69-62 overtime win.

“I think even though that I had a slower night tonight I have to work on facilitating to people and I think that’s what I do when I’m not going,” Worley said. “I think I’m able to facilitate to my shooters and there’s a lot of people who can knock shots down at times. Other people look at me like, ‘Why is she passing the ball?’ But it’s like I gotta get us open. I gotta rely on somebody else.”

Fellow senior Abril Bowser had nine of her 11 points in the first half to lead the Ghosts, who led 15-10 after the first quarter and 30-29 at halftime.

The lead didn’t last long. McGurk scored or assisted on 14 of her team’s 18 points in the third to spot the Golden Knights a 47-40 lead heading to the fourth. Junior Riley Stackhouse joined her in double figures with 12 points. 

Abington had a push of its own ready at the start of the fourth. Junior Jordyn Reynolds (12 points) hit some big shots and made a handful of clutch defensive plays as well. 

Abington sophomore Maya Johnson was the difference finishing with 20 points. She pulled her squad within two early in the fourth and then again later in the period. 

“It’s actually real big being as though she’s a senior so we’re going to have to learn to work without her next year,” Johnson said of the support for Worley. “We gotta start getting used to it now.”

Of course there were still big moments for the Ghosts’ star to be a star. Worley’s free throws tied the game 58-58 with 1:08 to play. The Ghosts survived two good go-ahead looks from McGurk and an even better one from her sister Lizzie (seven points) in the final seconds before heading to overtime.

McGurk put Rustin up 60-58 early in OT with a pair of free throws, but they got stuck on that number for quite some time as turnovers (31 total in the game) that reared their head in the fourth quarter continued in the extra period. Abington junior Piper McGinley deserves a shout for her defensive work on McGurk as well.

Worley started OT with four straight makes from the foul line as part of an 8-0 run. Her steal and a pair of ensuing free throws gave her team a 66-60 edge with 2:07 left in OT and another foul shot at the 1:44 mark made it a three-possession game — too much to overcome.

Abington reached the District 1-6A quarters for the second straight time last season. The Ghosts are a dark horse in the district this season and the Golden Knights likely fall into that category as well. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Abington and Rustin meet up in a district quarter or beyond later this winter.

Like McGurk, Worley is certainly the type of player who can carry a team on her back. She also knows come playoff time other teams will try to game plan her out of the game.

“We kind of got the same people as last year,” Worley said. “I think last year we had a lot of people who had their confidence down because they’re used to me doing everything. I feel like I gotta try to share the ball and get other people opportunities because that’s the only way they’re going to get better.”

Abington 69, West Chester Rustin 62 (OT)

By Quarter

Abington:  15  |  15  | 11  |  17 | 11  ||  48

West Chester Rustin:  10 |  19 | 18 | 11 | 4  ||  44


Abington: Cire Worley 21, Maya Johnson 20, Jordyn Reynolds 12, Abril Bowser 11, Piper McGinley 4, Sara O’ Leary 1, Florence Ajunwa 1.

W.C. Rustin: Laine McGurk 35, Riley Stackhouse 12, Lizzie McGurk 7, Ava Panetta 4, Jenna Kraft 2,  Raelyn Loper 2.


Souderton humming on ally cylinders against the Mount

Souderton Mikayla McGillian (11) had 10 points on Friday. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

While most squads are still trying to build up some on-court chemistry together this time of the year, the Souderton girls basketball team doesn’t have that problem.

The Big Red didn’t have a senior on the roster last season, so everyone is back with a year of varsity experience under their belts and many, many more minutes on the court together.

“We've been playing together since sixth grade or some of us even younger," Harter said. 

"After playing whole year together with the same exact group, we're all better and we improved so much individually and as a team," she added. "It's just so different and it's awesome out on the court."

Souderton, another projected District 1-6A contender,  used some crisp passing and stellar defense to jump ahead 13-5 on Mount St. Joseph after eight minutes of play on Friday. They did the same in the second to hold a 28-10 at halftime and ease to an opening night victory.

Harter led the way with 18 points and six boards, and Mikayla McGillian added another 10 points and five rebounds to set up a championship meeting with Abington on Saturday.

“I think that we all played really well, and I think it's really exciting, especially just to win the first game and get off on a good start," Harter said. "We've all been waiting for the first game for a while now. We've been practicing everyday really hard, so it was good for us."

Souderton 48 , Mount St. Joseph 33

By Quarter

Mount St. Joseph:    5  |   5   |  7  |  16  ||  33
Souderton:  13  |  15 |  12  |  8  ||  48


Mount St. Joseph: Georgia Pickett 9, Lauren Hoffman 8, Chloe McGrorty 7, Kiersten Pumilla 5, Addison Smith 4.

Souderton: Casey Harter 18, Mikayla McGillian 10, Brooke Fenchel 8, Erin Bohmueller 7, Teya McConnaha 5.


Dock Mennoite holds off short handed Upper Dublin

The Dock boys basketball team build a nine-point lead after a quarter of play. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Pioneers found themselves needing to make a comeback.

Led by Nathan Lapp and Tony Martin that’s exactly what they did.

Lapp scored 26 points, including six in the fourth quarter, and Martin had eight of his 12 in the final eight minutes of play in a 57-54 win over Upper Dublin on Friday.

The Cardinals were missing several key pieces who were playing in the PIAA football semifinals. They started off cold, falling behind 16-7 in the first quarter before sophomore Ryan Mulroy started to get going. He scored all of his team-high 18 after the first period. Senior Terrell Turner led the charge in the third with six of his 12 to put Upper Dublin ahead 39-36. Dock had enough left in the tank to pull it out, making a couple of big defensive stops late.

Dock Mennoite 57, Upper Dublin 54

By Quarter

Upper Dublin:   7  |   14   |  18  |  15  ||  54

Dock Mennonite:  16  |  11  |  9  |  21  ||  57


Upper Dublin: Ryan Mulroy 18, Terrell Turner 12, Brady Fogle 9, Seaton Kukla 7, Kobe Bazemore 4, Idris Rines 2, Mason Pensabene 2.

Dock Mennoite: Nathan Lapp 26, Tony Martin 12, Lane Bergey 5, A.J. Washington 5, Hoyt Bultje 4, Zach Neff 3, Ethan Parr 2.

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