When it comes to the game of basketball, it is usually great defense that leads to an increased effort and easy baskets on offense.
However, that idea seemed to be reversed Tuesday night in Brodheadsville.
Pleasant Valley got some shots to fall early in its Mountain Valley Conference game with East Stroudsburg South and used its offensive outburst to fuel its play on the defensive end. The Bears took a 30-12 lead into the break, and while the Cavs did make the score respectable in the fourth, the locals eventually pulled away once again to win 60-42.
"Devon (Howard) came out and made a couple of big threes and I think that really got us going," said Pleasant Valley head coach Ken Piontkowski. "Marquis (Brown) made some plays in the post and you could just see it energize the rest of the guys.
"Our defensive pressure picked up, especially in our full-court press, and I thought we were able to sustain it for the entire first half. I thought our play in the first half really set the tone for the night."
Pleasant Valley opened the game on an 8-2 run by the time South called its first timeout. Within the next minute the Bears would open their lead to 12-2 thanks to their press. Howard nailed three triples in the first quarter to get the Pleasant Valley crowd into the game. Brown also added an and-one and a lay-up to help the locals to an 18-point opening quarter.
The Bears kept the energy flowing in the second quarter. Dan Hrbek hit a big three-pointer, while Brown and Howard added four and two points respectively.
Still, it was Pleasant Valley's defense that kept South at bay as the Cavs managed just five points in the frame. Leading scorer Oneal Hulder, who went for 21 points in South's 14-point win over the Bears the first time around, didn't score his first points of the game until the 2:44 mark of the second quarter and finished with a six points.
South started to put its offense together in the third quarter and closed the gap to 12 (34-22) midway through the frame. Thankfully for Pleasant Valley, it was able to put an 11-6 run together toward the end of the quarter to open things back up.
The Bears looked to be cruising in the fourth when Piontkowski went to the bench up 18 with about three-and-a-half minutes to go. As would be a coach's nightmare, the Cavs started to mount a comeback off of some sloppy turnovers and cut the deficit to 11 within a minute. The spurt forced Piontkowski to put his starters back in and hold down the fort until time ran out.
Howard finished with a game-high 18 points.. Brown recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds..
The win moves the Bears to 10-8 (5-3) on the year. They need to win just one of their last four games to qualify for District 11 play.
"Personally, I think Stroudsburg and Pocono Mountain West are going to be in, so that leaves us, South and Lehighton fighting for the last two spots," Piontkowski said.
EAST STROUDSBURG SOUTH
Hulder 3-0-4-6, Nieves 1-4-7-6, Amoakahene 2-2-2-6, Allah 1-0-0-2, Kelly 0-3-6-3, Toleno 0-0-0-0, Wickham 0-0-1-0, Quick 0-0-0-0, Stewart 0-1-2-1, Delesline 2-0-0-4, Caldera 2-0-1-4, Roberson 3-1-2-8, Bird 1-0-0-2, Dervy 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 15-11-25-42.
Brown 5-4-4-14, Howard 6-3-5-18, Sharpe 3-0-0-6, Hrbek 1-1-2-4, Jones 2-3-4-7, Hosier 0-1-3-1, Neubert 0-0-0-0, Pazienza 0-0-0-0, Skutnik 0-0-0-0, Robinson 2-0-0-6, Deegan 0-2-2-2, Leap 0-0-0-0, Helfrich 1-0-0-2, Mikulski 0-0-0-0, Aulder 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-14-20-60.
ES South 7 5 16 14 - 42
Pleasant Vy 18 12 15 15 - 60
Three-pointers: ES - Roberson; PV - Howard 3, Robinson 2, Hrbek 1.