Sports are full of those moments where the underdog rises up and drops the elite from their lofty status. Such events, while exciting and dramatic, are rare as the underdog has to make it happen throughout the entire game.
Last night, it was a tale of two halves as upset-minded Lehightonwas giving Pleasant Valley all it could handle. The Lady Indians played what coach Tony Thomas said was their best half of the season.
In the end, Pleasant Valley (11-4, 6-1) was just too strong and too hot in the second half as it downed Lehighton, 57-32, in Mountain Valley Conference action.
"We knew they were one of the top teams and I thought we were prepared." Lehighton coach Tony Thomas said. "We were able to take advantage of what they were giving us in a lot of looks and opportunities. We played great defense the first half."
With the Bears holding a slim 20-17 lead, the second half started out as well as Lehighton could want as one of Pleasant Valley's main inside threats, Kelcia Harris, went to bench in foul trouble with 6:43 left in the third quarter.
Then the game shifted dramatically.
After shooting poorly in the first half, Pleasant Valley heated up hitting 9-of-11 from the floor including all of their shots from behind the three-point line in the third quarter.
"We were 8-for-28 in the first half," Pleasant Valley coach Nadia Gauronsky said. "We had some quality looks but they just weren't falling."
That changed as Kasey Meckes sank a trey to give the Lady Bears a 25-17 lead. Her teammates pressed the Lady Indians and converted their turnovers into easy points. Meghan Hardy sank back-to-back buckets followed by a deuce by Rachel Sisco.
"We had 27 total turnovers, and it wasn't just the turnovers, we made poor decisions with the ball," Thomas said. "Their press was easy to break, we just threw the ball away."
Amber Chieffo hit another three-pointer for the Bears and Meckes, who scored a game high 14 points, added five more points. By the time buzzer sounded to end the third period, Pleasant Valley had a commanding 41-24 lead.
"A good team will come out of it and find their niche in the second half," said Gauronsky. "That's what we were able to do. We started making some of the shots we were missing early in the game and that allowed us to get into our press a little more often."
The 'heat' continued in the fourth quarter as the future Lady Bears extended the lead.
"I was happy we were able to open up a bit of a lead and get some of our younger kids in the game," said Gauronsky. "I thought our reserves did a nice job when they got the opportunity."
Lehighton played tough defense throughout the first half. The tight defense and hustle forced poor shots and turnovers that kept the score close early.
Midway through the second quarter, Pleasant Valley seemed to take control. With an 18-12 lead, but Jordyn Homyak sank a three and hit another shot to cut the score to 18-17.
"We missed our opportunities in the second half," Thomas said. "When you miss your shots and allow them to convert on the other end its hard to stay in it.
"Give PV credit. They hit all the shots in the second half that they missed in the first half."
Homyak 4-3-4-13, Green 2-3-4-7, Shelly 1-0-0-2, Magyar 0-2-2-2, Yurasits 2-0-0-4, Evans 0-0-0-0, German 0-0-0-0, Klotz 0-0-2-0, Pele 0-0-0-0, Teno 1-0-0-2, Cordova 1-0-0-2, Rehrig 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 11-8-12-32.
Meckes6-0-0-14, Cisluycis 1-0-0-2, Dekmar 1-0-0-2, Chieffo 1-1-2-4, Sisco 4-2-4-10, Harris 3-1-2-7, Shanley 0-0-0-0, McGill 0-0-0-0, Meckes 0-0-0-0, Hardy 4-2-2-10, Craig 1-0-0-2, Kregeloh 1-0-0-2, Salmon 3-0-0-6. TOTALS: 27-6-10-57
Lehighton 4 13 7 8 - 32
Pleasant Valley 8 12 21 18 - 57
Three-pointers: L – Homyak 2 ; PV – Meckes 2, Chieffo 1.