Entering this week, the Pleasant Valley boys' basketball team was in the midst of a four-game losing streak and was in danger of watching its season slip away.
Two days and two conference games later, the Bears' post-season hopes are back on the rise.
Pleasant Valley rebounded from a slow start and outscored East Stroudsburg South by 25 points in the final three quarters to win, 67-46 in Mountain Valley Conference play. Whereas the Bears recently had poor shooting nights and shot as low as 25 percent against Pocono Mountain East and week and half ago, the locals made 26 of their 52 attempts and connected on 10 three-pointers.
"It's nice to finally see us shoot well," said Pleasant Valley head coach Ken Piontkowski. "We were going through a tough stretch there for a while with some bad shooting nights in our own gym. Tonight we were able to knock down some open shots and even made some contested ones as well."
Junior guard Nick Stanovick scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Bears (8-6) to victory. Monday night against East Stroudsburg North he banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime in a game the Bears eventually went on to win. Last night Stanovick did more of the same, this time sinking five three-pointers.
"I was still in a rhythm from (Monday) night," said Stanovick. "I was confident coming in. We knew we had to get this win to keep our season going.
"We were struggling a little bit for four games and were kind of hit with a reality check. Now we are back to playing Bears basketball. I think we are starting to gel as a team and are really starting to come together well. Hopefully down the road we will be able to shock somebody in a big game."
East Stroudsburg South caught Pleasant Valley napping early on and jumped out to a 10-4 lead. The Bears then responded with a six point run that was capped by Stanovick's first trey of the night. However, the Cavs scored four quick points to end the quarter.
The Cavs continued their run into the second quarter and put up six more points before Piontkowski called a timeout. Whether it was the timeout or something else, Pleasant Valley woke up after the break in a big way. Stanovick found Mike Sharpe for a cutting lay-up at the 2:45 mark to give the Bears their first lead of the game (21-20). The bucket was part of an 18-1 run to close the half, thanks in large part to four three-pointers, and gave the Bears the momentum going into the half.
"We finally seemed to wake up," said Piontkowski. "(South) sat in its 3-2 zone and we were able to work it around and find our shooters. In this case, not only did we find the shooters but they made the shots. It was definitely a big confidence boost heading into the locker room."
Pleasant Valley continued to knock down shots from long range in the second half and hit five more triples in the third and fourth quarters. East Stroudsburg South came out of its 3-2 zone and went man mid-way through the third quarter, but it was too little too late at that point.
Selwyn Wright helped Stanovick with 12 points. Teammate Mike Sharpe, a second-team All-MVC player a year ago, added ten.
Since dropping four straight games, Pleasant Valley has bounced back with wins over both East Stroudsburg schools. The wins help the Bears move ever-so-closer to qualifying for the district playoffs, as they have eight overall wins and four league wins. They would need just two more league wins to clinch a berth.
"Coming into Monday's game, I told the guys that we were playing for our season," said Pointkowski. "We couldn't afford to let any more games slip away. After Monday's win we pointed to tonight. And now that we got this one, we are pointing to Thursday's match-up with Lehighton."
Mercado 1-0-0-2, Simmons 4-5-8-13, Wickham 0-0-0-0, Lane 6-2-2-15, Howell 0-0-2-0, Franklin 3-2-6-8, Caldera 0-0-0-0, Quick 0-0-0-0, Peck 0-4-4-4, Thompson 1-1-2-4, Carlos 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 15-14-24-46.
Stanovick 6-0-0-17, Irving 1-0-0-3, Sharpe 5-0-0-10, Wild 2-3-6-8, Wright 5-0-0-12, Franklin 4-0-0-9, Blot 0-0-0-0, Guadagna 0-0-0-0, Brown 3-1-2-7, Bok 0-0-0-0, Dekmar 0-0-0-0, Wierzbicki 0-0-0-0, Williams 0-1-2-1, Gerlimatos 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 26-5-10-67.
ES South 14 7 10 15 - 46
Pleas. Vy. 10 20 15 22 - 67
Three pointers: East Stroudsburg South - Lane 1, Thompson 1; Pleasant Valley - Stanovick 5, Wright 2, Franklin 1, Wild 1, Irving 1.