AMBLER – Coming into Friday's state playoff game with Council Rock South, Pleasant Valley head coach Nadia Gauronsky wanted her team to slow down the tempo of the game in order to compete with the Hawks' fast-paced transition offense.
For whatever reason, her Lady Bears didn't seem to grasp the idea.
Council Rock South used its transitional offense to open up a huge first-quarter lead and never looked back, as the Golden Hawks defeated the Bears 51-21 in the first round of the PIAA AAAA state playoffs. Pleasant Valley had more turnovers than shots in the opening frame and failed to rebound from its slow start.
"I don't think we followed our game plan as well as we should have in the first quarter," said Gauronsky. "My game plan was that if they scored a bucket then that's fine because they don't miss too often. But if we go down the other end, and I don't care if the score is 2-0 the whole first quarter, we need to work the ball around the perimeter until something opens up.
"We didn't do that. I wanted us to slow it down as much as we could and that's not what happened. When (Council Rock) got the ball they just went with it because they have great athletes and we weren't able to keep up."
It was well documented beforehand that Council Rock was an up-tempo team. Gauronsky knew that and preached a slower approach to her team all week, but it didn't show in the game's opening minutes. The Hawks took advantage of early turnovers and missed shots from the Bears and jumped out to a 6-0 lead with only 1:21 having elapsed from the clock.
Council Rock continuously capitalized on Pleasant Valley's mistakes throughout the first quarter and opened up a 21-5 lead after the first eight minutes. The Hawks shot 9-for-15 for the quarter and didn't commit their first turnover until there were just four seconds left in the period. On the other hand, the Bears shot a dismal 2-for-7 and committed eight turnovers.
Things finally began to slow down for Pleasant Valley and it seemed to stifle the Hawks somewhat in the second quarter. The Bears held Council Rock to just six points on 2-of-7 shooting in the second quarter. However, Pleasant Valley couldn't make up any ground as it made just 1-of-9 shots on its way to three points.
"The girls took the game plan and kind of went a different direction," Gauronsky said. "It obviously didn't really work out the way we wanted it to.
"I don't want to blame it all on the girls though. We had a good season and we really worked hard all year. I just think we were a little over matched and over sized and over skilled. We just didn't have it today."
Council Rock got back to its game in the third quarter, as the Hawks scored 19 points on another 9-for-15 performance. Pleasant Valley put together its best quarter of the night, but that isn't saying much when one considers the final score. The Bears tallied 10 points in the quarter, but did so on 3-of-15 shooting.
Neither team scored much in the final eight minutes as most of the time was spent with each team's reserves on the court.
Despite the lopsided loss, Pleasant Valley 2011-12 season had plenty of highlights. The Bears finish with an 18-10 record and won their second consecutive Mountain Valley Conference title in a year when they were considered to be 'too young' by most people. It was also the program's first state appearance in nearly 10 years.
"I told the girls that I am very proud of them," said Gauronsky, who finishes up her third year as the head coach. "Everyone talks about the four starters we lost, but we also had two seniors who didn't come out for the team. They could have played and helped, but they didn't. So we had to replace six out of eight and I think we did a nice job."
Chieffo 2-0-0-5, Harris 4-1-2-9, Cisluycis 0-2-4-2, Dorney 1-2-4-4, Meckes 0-0-0-0, Craig 0-1-4-1, Miller 0-0-0-0, Stanovick 0-0-0-0, Krcic 0-0-0-0, Aldinger 0-0-0-0, Shanley 0-0-0-0, Frigiola 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 7-6-14-21.
COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH
Brown 4-0-0-9, Taub 2-1-2-5, Alexis Hofstaedter 3-0-0-7, Jacob 3-0-2-6, Wheatley 10-2-2-22, Dillon 0-0-0-0, Hunt 0-2-2-2, Braccia 0-0-0-0, DeAngelis 0-0-0-0, Thomas 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-5-8-51.
Pleasant Vy 5 3 10 3 - 21
Council Rock 21 6 19 5 - 51
Three-Pointers: PV – Chieffo 1; CRS – Brown 1, Hofstaedter 1.