For the majority of the first half, the Pleasant Valley boys' basketball team seemed to play down to its competition.
Fortunately for the Bears, they got things going in the second half and rolled to victory.
Pleasant Valley used 33 second-half points to run away from East Stroudsburg North, 56-33 in Mountain Valley Conference play. The Bears also took advantage of their free opportunities, as they converted on 22-of 32 free throw attempts on the night.
"It seemed like we were just going through the motions in the first half," said Pleasant Valley head coach Ken Piontkowski. "We play hard for a possession or two, but then it fades away shortly. I let them know about it too.
"We got after it a little more defensively in the third quarter and I think that sparked us. Then we went on a run early in the fourth quarter and finally started to play the way that we are capable of playing."
Pleasant Valley took advantage of North's inability to finish in the first quarter. That, along with seven team fouls, allowed the Bears to stake an 11-4 lead. Dre Shivers ended the quarter on a good note, as he raced the length of the court in four seconds and floated one in at the buzzer.
Pleasant Valley's intensity and effort slipped in the second quarter. Whereas the Timberwolves couldn't finish around the bucket in the first quarter, the Bears seemed to pick up the disease in the second. North took advantage of the locals' sloppy play and managed to take its first lead of the night (16-15) at the 1:45 mark.
However, just as quickly as their play slipped, the Bears got it together for the last 1:45 and went on an 8-4 run to end the quarter.
"We act like Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at times," Piontkowski. "Tonight in the second quarter it seemed like we were stuck on 26 points forever. We couldn't finish and we were throwing the ball all over the gym.
"The next thing you know we get out in the passing lanes, grab some rebounds and put together a nice run. That has been the story of our season so far. It can be very frustrating to see us play so well for a quarter and then go in the tank the next."
The entire second half belonged to Pleasant Valley. The Bears' Selwyn Wright jumpstarted the team, as he scored 13 of his 14 points in the last two quarters. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves continued to have problems scoring and totaled just 18 points for the final 16 minutes.
Nick Stanovick led Pleasant Valley with 15 points, including 7-of-8 from the line. Devon Howard added nine.
The win pushed the Bears to 9-5 overall, but more importantly 6-1 in the MVC. The sixth conference win qualifies Pleasant Valley for the District 11 playoffs. It will mark the second consecutive year the Bears have qualified for the post-season after a hiatus.
Still, Piontkowski was more focused on getting his team to play better before they head into the playoffs.
"We need to become more consistent with our play," Piontkowski said. "We have been winning games, but they weren't complete games. Sometimes I don't know if we won the game or if it kind of just happened. I don't want there to be any doubt. And for that to be the case we need to play good, smart basketball for extended periods of time."
Fort 2-0-3-4, Bobb 0-0-0-0, Bitik 3-0-0-6, Ortiz 0-4-6-4, Joseph 1-0-0-2, Byrd 0-0-0-0, Knight 0-2-2-2, Mills 2-0-0-4, Quiles 2-3-4-7, Anamege 4-1-2-9, John 0-0-0-0, Mack 0-0-2-0. TOTALS: 14-10-19-38.
Shivers 1-3-4-5, Howard 3-3-4-9, Brown 3-1-2-7, Jones 0-0-0-0, Stanovick 4-7-8-15, Dekmar 1-0-0-2, Gerolimatos 0-0-0-0, Wright 4-6-10-14, Pazienza 0-0-0-0, Getz 0-1-2-1, Zwack 0-1-2-1, Neubert 0-0-0-0, Hosier 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 17-22-32-56.
ES North 4 16 6 12 - 38
Pleas. Vy. 11 12 11 22 - 56