Pleasant Valley works hard on its defense.
That makes playing against the Bears hard work for the opposition.
Pleasant Valley turned in another smothering defensive performance on Thursday night and rolled to a 68-30 Mountain Valley Conference victory over Lehighton.
The Bears, who entered the contest allowing less than 35 points a game, combined a fullcourt zone press with a halfcourt matchup zone to shutdown the Indians.
When Pleasant Valley wasn't stripping the ball in the backcourt, it was stepping into the passing lanes in the frontcourt.
The result was 31 Indian turnovers.
"We take a lot of pride in our defense," said Pleasant Valley coach Nadia Gauronsky. "We spend more time in practice working on our press, and our defense in general, than we spend on anything else.
"I think another thing that has helped us defensively is the fact that our girls have a high basketball IQ. We've talked to them about watching games, observing what is happening on the court, and learning from it. I think they have done a really nice job of doing that."
Pleasant Valley got a three-pointer from Kasey Meckes to open the game and built an 11-0 lead less than three minutes into the first quarter. Kelecia Harris had a pair of field goals during the burst, both coming off offensive rebounds.
"I was happy with the fire we showed, especially early in the game," said Gauronsky. "We wanted to come out aggressive and take charge and that's exactly what we did."
Pleasant Valley forced 11 Indian turnovers in the first quarter and 19 in the opening half as it built a commanding 34-13 halftime lead.
"If you can't take care of the ball and you can't rebound, you're not going to win too many games," said Lehighton coach Tony Thomas. "They've been our two biggest problems this season and they were once again tonight.
"Give Pleasant Valley credit. They are a good team and they are well coached. They just outmanned us tonight."
In addition to the easy transition baskets the Bears got off steals, they also had 19 offensive rebounds in the game, which produced numerous second chance points.
"When you're hustling and working hard, good things happen," said Gauronsky. "We converted defensive stops and steals into offensive points and even when we missed our shots, we had girls battling inside to get us second and third shots."
Pleasant Valley continued to extend its lead in the second half. After Harris scored the Bears' first five points of the third quarter, the reserves took charge.
Fourteen different players hit the scoring column for Pleasant Valley in the game with substitutes accounting for 27 points.
"I thought our younger kids did a great job," said Gauronsky. "They played hard and they played well when they got their chance.
"It's a good sign for the program. I saw a lot of really nice things from our reserves."
Harris finished with 15 points and eight rebounds to lead Pleasant Valley (14-4, 8-1). Meckes added 14 points, all of them coming in the first half.
For Lehighton (3-15, 2-7), Katie Green led the way with 14 points. Jordyn Homyak added 11.
Meckes 6-0-2-14, Cisluycis 3-0-0-16, Dekmar 1-0-0-3, Chietto 0-1-2-1, Sisco 0-1-2-1, Harris 7-1-1-15, Sharkley 0-0-0-0, McGill 1-0-0-2, Meckes 1-00-2, Hardy 2-2-2-6, Dorney 1-0-0-2, Craig 3-0-0-6, Kregeloh 2-0-0-4, Salmon 2-0-0-4, Weismeth 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 30-5-10-68
Homyak 5-0-0-11, Green 5-4-5-14, Shelly 0-0-0-0, Yurasits 0-0-0-0, Evans 0-1-2-1, German 0-0-0-0, Klotz 0-0-0-0, Pell 0-0-0-0, Teno 1-2-2-4, Cordova 0-0-0-0, Rehrig 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 11-7-9-30
Pleasant Vy. 15 19 15 19 - 68
Lehighton 6 7 9 8 - 30
Three-pointers: PV – Meckes 2, Dekmar 1. L – Homyak 1.