A young Pleasant Valley girls basketball team is quickly learning that the best offense is an outstanding defense.
The Bears' pressure 'D' gave not only gave visiting East Stroudsburg North fits Friday night but it created chances at the other end of the floor.
It also led to a 47-22 victory in both team's Mountain Valley Conference opener.
"The coaching staff looked at our situation and said, 'What is something that we can work on to help us create offensive opportunities?,'" said PV head coach Nadia Gauronsky. "That's by hustling and working hard defensively, and that's what we've been doing.
"Every day at practice we work on the press and our defense and we continually try to create offensive opportunities off our defense."
Gauronsky's squad never let up on the Timberwolves, harassing them the whole opening half. The result was rather impressive for the Bears as their opponent turned the ball over 18 times while shooting just 3-of-17.
While Pleasant Valley (2-2; 1-0) had its own trouble at the offensive end, the driving ability of Kasey Meckes and Megan Hardy helped the Bears open a 21-8 advantage at the break. Meckes and Hardy combined for 15 of their team's first half points.
"We prepared for their defense, but unfortunately we didn't execute the way we wanted to," said North mentor Scott Moskovitz. "You definitely have to credit Pleasant Valley for that."
While the Timberwolves protected the ball better in the second half, managing just eight giveaways over the final two frames, PV's defense still made it difficult for them to score.
North managed to trim the margin to 13 (31-18) on a couple of baskets from Yasmeen Shabazz, but two inside hoops from Kelecia Harris helped trigger a 14-4 run that put the game away.
"We have a young group of kids," said Gauronsky, who only has one senior. "They're working on their skills and still developing them, and they're getting better. It takes time, though.
"Everybody is contributing ... We were happy the way we came out and got the lead. They came out with confidence. We have to be aggessive. Meckes is a tough kid and has stood out for us at times. When she got in foul trouble, Megan took some of the burden on her shoulders tonight."
Meckes and Hardy both finished with 13 points to lead all scorers. But while their offensive totals gained attention, it was their team's defense that produced the win.
"We practice defense everyday for an hour," said Meckes. "It's something that definitely keeps us in games. It's hard work and it's a pain, but we're definitely seeing the results."
The Bears also rolled to a victory in the JV contest, winning by a 47-14 score.
EAST STROUDSBURG NORTH
McEneaney 0-0-1-0, Rader 0-0-0-0, Ka. Harvey 0-0-0-0, Ki. Harvey 0-0-0-0, Talley 0-0-2-0, Ortiz 0-0-1-0, Goetz 0-0-0-0, Knight 0-1-2-1, Galvan 4-0-0-8, McLean 2-1-3-5, LeCascio 1-0-4-2, Shabazz 3-0-0-6. TOTALS: 10-2-13-22.
Meckes 6-1-1-13, Cisluycis 1-0-0-2, Mowery 0-0-0-0, Chieffo 1-3-6-5, Sisco 0-0-0-0, Harris 3-0-2-6, McGill 0-0-0-0, Hardy 6-1-2-13, Kregeloh 2-0-0-4, Fields 1-0-0-2, Salmon 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 21-5-11-47.
ES North 1 7 4 10 - 22
Pleasant Vy. 8 13 8 18 - 47