By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
Late charge lifts boys
A couple of wins late in the season have created a much happier feeling around the Prince of Peace locker room.
The Irish picked up their third victory of the season, and second in the past four games, Tuesday night when they defeated Camanche 70-64 at Central Catholic Auditorium.
“We don’t usually beat Camanche, and it’s a great feeling,” said Lucas Laufenberg, who scored 28 points to lead Prince of Peace.
“It means a lot,” Nic Roth said. “We’ve had a down season, but beating Camanche feels good.”
The game was a battle all night, but the Irish (3-17, 2-14 Big East Conference) finished strong.
Laufenberg delivered a 3-point basket from the right corner with a second left in the third quarter to knot the score at 46-46, and Quin Schnier put the Irish ahead to stay early in the fourth quarter on a three-point play with 7 minutes, 40 seconds remaining. It came on an inbounds pass from Roth.
“I set up on the ball side, and it starts with Warren (Lewis) going through on a double screen,” Schnier explained. “Lucas puts his arms up as a distraction, and I roll around him (and down the lane).
“It’s worked a lot for us this season. It felt good. It felt like the momentum started leaning toward us after that.”
The basket and free-throw were part of a 14-point night for Schnier.
“That was a big response,” Prince of Peace coach Gerry Murphy said. “We kept answering. Once we got it spread a bit, we kept a little distance.”
Prince of Peace pushed the lead to 11 on a pair of free throws by Laufenberg and kept it at least as a two-possession game the rest of the way.
“I kept looking at the clock and knew we had to make free throws to keep it at two possessions,” Murphy said. “It was a mental relief.”
The Irish were especially strong at offensive rebounding.
“Everyone was attacking and crashing, trying to finish,” Roth said.
Camanche (9-11, 7-9) led most of the first quarter, taking the lead at 5-2 on a three-point play by 6-foot-4 junior Spencer Fraley (13 points). The Indians couldn’t shake free of the Irish, though, and Prince of Peace grabbed a 13-12 lead late in the quarter on a fastbreak layup by Laufenberg.
The second quarter featured nine lead changes and six ties, with the Irish going up 34-33 at the half on an AJ Williams layup.
Prince of Peace led by as much as four in the third quarter, but Camanche came back and went ahead 44-43 on a steal and layup by Seth Boysen, who led the Indians with 18 points. A layup by Derek Harksen (13 points) pushed the lead to 46-43 before Laufenberg tied it with his 3.
PRINCE OF PEACE 70, CAMANCHE 64
CAMANCHE — Seeser 3 0-0 7, Bialas 1 0-0 2, Brantley 1 0-0 2, Boysen 6 5-7 18, Busse 1 0-0 2, Fraley 4 3-4 13, Harksen 5 3-4 13, Atkinson 2 2-2 7. Totals 24 13-18 64.
PRINCE OF PEACE — Schnier 4 6-10 14, Laufenberg 9 8-11 28, Lewis 4 0-2 8, Kitteringham 2 2-5 6, Williams 2 3-3 7, Hessing 0 0-0 0, Roth 3 1-2 7. Totals 24 20-33 70.
Camanche 12 21 13 18 — 64
Prince of Peace 13 21 12 24 — 70
3-point goals — Camanche 3 (Seeser, Boysen, Atkinson); Prince of Peace 2 (Laufenberg 2). Total fouls — Camanche 18, Prince of Peace 26. Fouled out — Seeser, Harksen, Lewis.
Irish girls answer call
Prince of Peace didn’t panic Tuesday night when Camanche finally completed an arduous comeback and pulled even on a basket by Courtney Sowle with 5 minutes, 19 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Eleven seconds later, the Irish were back in front on a three-point play by Megan Mulholland. This time they kept the lead the rest of the way in a 53-43 girls basketball victory at Central Catholic Auditorium.
“We actually kept calm, which I’m proud of my teammates for,” Mulholland said.
“The girls kept their composure; that’s the big thing,” Prince of Peace coach Maggie Furlong said. “Megan knew we needed to score, and she went in and did what she had to do.”
The win prevented Camanche (16-5, 11-5 conference) from finishing alone in second place in the Big East Conference. Instead, they shared the spot with Marquette Catholic, Northeast and Preston.
It was fitting that Mulholland, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, put the Irish in front to stay. She was the game’s high scorer with 15 points, and she had helped the Irish establish an early 10-point lead that forced the Indians to battle back all night.
“We came down, and I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “It felt good making the shot. I felt really on tonight. We didn’t really set it up.”
As one of only two seniors in uniform on Tuesday, Mulholland said she felt a responsibility to be there when the team needed her.
“”We know that when things are going down, Julia (Isenhour, the other senior) and I need to be leaders and get us through the rough patch,” Mulholland said. “Julia and I did that tonight.”
Isenhour finished with 13 points, 11 in the second half.
Isenhour scored in the lane to put Prince of Peace ahead 42-38 about a minute later, and that started a 7-0 run that helped clinch the victory. Mulholland completed the run, which also included a Karli Atkinson free throw, with a pair of free throws, but the key basket came from Lauren Pittman.
With the Irish ahead 43-38, the Indians fouled Pittman, sending her to the line for a pair of free throws. She missed both but slid down the lane, grabbed the rebound and scored on a putback with 2:21 remaining.
“I knew it was off,” Pittman said. “We needed to make the free throws late, and I was mad at myself, so I gave it my all and got it back.”
Camanche coach Danny Vogel said Prince of Peace’s rebounding hurt the Indians all night.
“They rebounded the ball, and we didn’t,” he said. “They had 12, 14 points on free throws where we didn’t block out. It was a lack of desire on our part.”
Pittman also made a key contribution on the defensive end, making it difficult for Camanche’s Kylie Vogel to run the offense. The Indians’ leading scorer on the season, Vogel was limited to nine points.
“She’s a very good defender; she gets her hands in the passing lanes and is quick,” coach Vogel said.
“I knew she’d be a big player for them,” Pittman said. “I couldn’t let her get on a roll because she brings them momentum. I tried to shut her down.”
Prince of Peace never trailed and held the lead all night with three short exceptions, including a scoreless first 51 seconds before Mulholland hit from the left wing.
Camanche pulled even on two Julia Moore free throws with 6:29 left, then Jackie Kokjohn made 1 of 2 free throws with 4:57 left to put the Irish ahead. She added a layup off a steal, Mulholland buried another shot from the left wing and Isenhour scored on a putback for a 9-2 lead with 2:36 left. The lead reached 10 when Andrea Aquilani sank a 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:12 left.
After that, the Indians spent most of the night trying to dig out.
They got within 22-15 at the half and continued to climb back in the third and fourth quarters.
They pulled with two on several occasions — a 3-pointer by Libby Schnoor cut the gap to 28-26, another by Vogel made it 31-29 and a three-point play by Vogel made it 34-32 early in the fourth quarter.
A pair of Atkinson free throws made it 36-32, then Lindsey Grams (10 points) cut the gap to 36-35.
Isenhour made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 37-35 before Sowle (11 points) tied it.
But Prince of Peace responded.
“It’s huge,” Pittman said. “It gives us a lot of momentum going into tournament play.”
The Irish (12-10, 9-7 Big East) begin the postseason Thursday with a home game against Calamus-Wheatland.
“I think that if we come out like tonight, we will have a pretty good run,” Mulholland said.
PRINCE OF PEACE 53, CAMANCHE 43
CAMANCHE (16-5, 11-5) — Kylie Vogel 3 2-5 9, Courtney Sowle 5 1-3 11, Brettan Hilgendorf 0 0-0 0, Libby Schnoor 3 0-1 7, Jordan Nissen 0 0-0 0, Lindsey Grams 3 2-2 10, Julia Moore 2 2-4 6. Totals 16 7-15 43.
PRINCE OF PEACE (12-10, 9-7) — Jackie Kokjohn 2 4-5 8, Andrea Aquilani 1 1-3 4, Megan Mulholland 5 5-9 15, Karli Atkinson 2 5-8 9, Sydney Laufenberg 0 0-0 0, Julia Isenhour 5 3-5 13, Lauren Pittman 2 0-2 4. Totals 17 18-31 53.
Camanche 4 11 14 14 — 43
Prince of Peace 12 10 10 21 — 53
3-point goals — Camanche 4 (Grams 2, Vogel, Schnoor); Prince of Peace 1 (Aquilani). Total fouls — Camanche 21, Prince of Peace 13. Fouled out — Vogel. Technical — Camanche bench.