Lady Bears take over first in MVC
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Pleasant Valley's Kelly Harris gets ready to go up for a shot between the defense of Pocono Mountain West's Katie Schickling (left) and Stephanie Davis (right).
Pleasant Valley's Kasey Meckes had a hard time concentrating in class on Friday.
With a showdown for first place in the Mountain Valley Conference looming, you couldn't blame the senior point guard and her teammates for being a little distracted.
When it came to game time, though, the Bears were anything but preoccupied.
Meckes did an outstanding job handling the ball, Kelly Harris dominated in the paint and PV's defense frustrated Pocono Mountain West all night long to post a convincing 35-22 victory on Senior Night.
The win allowed Pleasant Valley (14-4) to improve to 9-1 in the MVC, moving a game ahead of the Panthers (11-9; 8-2).
"We wanted this a lot," said Meckes, who scored nine points. "Honestly, it was so hard to focus in school because I just wanted to come and play.
"We weren't as much nervous as we were anxious. We were anxious because we knew we wanted to come out and get a comfortable lead against them. We were forcing things (early) but coach settled us down and we just worked it out."
The Bears eventually got the comfortable lead they were hoping for, but it didn't come until the second quarter.
After turning the ball over nine times in the opening frame, PV did a much better job of being patient the next eight minutes.
Harris converted three times inside, Meckes hit on a driving shot and Amber Chieffo hit from three-point range to turn a narrow 7-6 lead into an 18-6 bulge.
"We focused on our defense," said Bears' head coach Nadia Gauronsky, whose team avenged an earlier loss to PM West back on Jan. 13. "We talked about different things we could do knowing that they're a little bit of a younger team. We thought if we could get a lead we could be a little bit more aggressive and take some chances of getting into passing lanes.
"Offensively, our guards were able to handle their guard's pressure. We were able to get the ball inside to Kelly and she did a good job (finishing) tonight."
As a team the Bears, who maintained a double-digit lead the entire second half, also did a nice job finishing.
Gauronsky's club played keep-away most of the fourth quarter, not allowing West too many touches on offense.
"We work on that at practice," said Gauronsky. "We work on holding the ball and looking for different opportunities. We work on who's guarding who, where the double team is coming, and recognizing who is going to be open ... We have a great ballhandler in Meckes and she handles the pressure and maintains composure for our team."
"It was hard (holding the ball) because it was a long time to keep the ball away from them," said Harris, who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. "But we did a good job of that."
In the JV game, PV won a 60-42 decision behind 14 points from Julia Craig and 13 from Arden Cisluycis.
POCONO MOUNTAIN WEST
Walters 0-3-4-3, Schickling 1-0-0-3, Benitez 2-0-0-5, Davis 1-2-3-5, Jones 0-0-0-0, Yocum 0-0-0-0, Blake 1-0-0-2, Roberts 1-2-2-4, Flaherty 0-0-0-0, Wilson 0-0-2-0. TOTALS: 6-7-11-22.
Meckes 3-2-2-9, Chieffo 1-2-2-5, Sisco 0-0-0-0, Harris 6-3-4-15, McGill 0-0-0-0, Hardy 3-0-0-6, Kregeloh 0-0-0-0, Salmon 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 13-7-8-35.
PM West 4 7 5 6 - 22
Pleasant Vy. 7 17 7 4 - 35
Three-pointers: PM West - Schickling 1, Benitez 1, Davis 1; Pleasant Vy. - Meckes 1, Chieffo 1.