SCHUYLKILL LEAGUE GIRLS
Marian (18-4; 12-1 league) vs.
Tri-Valley (23-0; 13-0 league)
TIPOFF: Friday, Feb 17th at 6:00 p.m. At Martz Hall in Pottsville.
COACHES: Marian - Paul Brutto; Tri-Valley - Bob Felty
LEADING SCORERS: Marian - Kaysi McLaughlin (12.57 ppg, 43 three-pointers), Kelly Shober (10.60 ppg), Danielle Tristani (9.35 ppg); Tri-Valley - Tara Nahodil (17.0), Juli Weber (12.6), Taylor Troutman (7.7 ppg)
GAME NOTES: This will be the second meeting between these teams this season. Marian was dismantled by the 'Dawgs when they met back on January 20, falling, 54-21. In that game, Marian trailed just 10-7 after one period but was outscored 29-2 over the second and third quarters. Marian committed 30 turnovers in the game. The 21 points the Fillies scored in that game were by far its lowest output of the season. Their next lowest scoring game was 37 points in a victory over Shenandoah. The 54 points scored by Tri-Valley was the second most points allowed by the Fillies this season. Only Mt. Carmel (62) scored more ... Tri-Valley is tough to match up with inside. Not only is the 6-4 Nahodil a dominant player in the paint, but Troutman is also a force at the forward spot. In addition, Weber is one of the best guards in the league ... Just two nights after guarding the Schuylkill League's leading scorer Celeste Robinson, McLaughlin will be challenged once again defensively as the responsibility of watching Weber will likely fall on her ... The Fillies' defense, coming off a game where it held Jim Thorpe more than 16 points below its season average, will be severly tested once again. Tri-Valley is the top-scoring team in the Schuylkill League, averaging over 57 points a game. Marian is the second best defensive team in the league, allowing just over 32 points a contest ... It's hard to believe that Marian's "big three" of McLaughlin, Shober, and Tristani can score just 15 points combined like they did against Thorpe and the Fillies can still win. Against Tri-Valley, Marian will likely need more firepower from the trio of seniors, who have combined to average over 32 points a game during the season ... Marian is going for its 11th overall Schuylkill League title. The Fillies' last Schuylkill title came in 2008, capping a run of four championships in a five year span ... This marks the fourth straight year the 'Dawgs have been in the Schuylkill League playoffs. Tri-Valley, which lost to Tamaqua 47-36 in the league final last season, has never won a Schuylkill League championship ... Marian has won seven straight games since its loss to Tri-Valley.
QUOTEABLE: "We would like to keep the game low-scoring. I don't think we're going to score with them if the game gets in the 50s so we have to try and keep them in the 30s like we did with Jim Thorpe.
"This is a very different matchup [than Jim Thorpe] as far as defenses go. Thorpe's pressure defense is tough, but they don't play a lot of man-to-man. Now we'll be playing against one of the best man-to-man defensive teams in the state. We just have to play good, solid defense and hope a couple things fall our way." Marian coach Paul Brutto
Pleasant Valley (15-8; 9-3 league) vs.
PM West (13-9; 9-3 league)
TIPOFF: Friday, Feb 17th at 6:00 p.m. at Stroudsburg High School.
COACHES: Pleasant Valley - Nadia Gauronsky; Pocono Mountain West - Stacey Perryman
LEADING SCORERS: Pleasant Valley - Kelecia Harris (13.43 ppg), Amber Chieffo (7.55), Arden Cisluycis (6.74), Keri Dekmar (5.48), Mackenzie Dorney (3.91); Pocono Mountain West - Ramonia Benitez (13.50 ppg), Jackie Benitez (8.82), Stephanie Davis (8.00), Tanisha Blake (4.77)
GAME NOTES: This year's Mountain Valley Conference championship is a sequel of last year's events as Pleasant Valley and Pocono Mountain West met up to entertain those in the crowd with what turned out to be an overtime thriller. Pleasant Valley went to capture a 52-47 victory to hand head coach Nadia Gauronsky a championship in only her second year with the program. Now graduated Kasey Meckes, the older sister of current player Jordan Meckes, paced the Bears with a 20-point performance, while returning starter Kelecia Harris followed right behind with 17 points ... In the two regular season meetings between the Bears and Panthers, the visiting team came out on top. On January 6th, Pocono Mountain West defeated Pleasant Valley, 53-44. The Panthers' Romano Benitez led all scorers with a game-high 21 points, while teammates Stephanie Davis and Jackie Benitez (Romano's younger sister) followed right behind with 12 and 11 respectively. Kelecia Harris finished with a Bears' high 16 point, while Keri Dekmar hit double figures with 11 ... Pleasant Valley evened the score with a 36-34 victory at West just two weeks ago. Dekmar's seven points led a balance PV attack. The Panthers' Romano Benitez had 18 points ... Pleasant Valley turned its season around after losing to PM West in their first meeting. That loss was the fourth straight and fifth in six games for the Bears and dropped them to 4-6 at that point in the season. But the Bears then reeled off eight straight victories and enter tonight's title game having won 11 of their last 13 games ... Perryman is in her sixth year as the Panthers' head coach. This will be the fourth straight appearance in the MVC title game for West, which won the title in 2009.
QUOTEABLE: "We're really excited. We're obviously very young. We start two sophomores (Dekmar and Dorney) and the first three subs off the bench are sophomores (Jordan Meckes, Courtney Miller and Julia Craig) as well. So, it's a new team. We just worked really, really hard to get back to where we were last year. So, the team is very excited.
"We have to be able to contain their athleticism in Romano Benitez and Stephanie Davis. I also believe that if we can keep them around 30 points we will be able to come out with the win because that means they didn't get into their transition game.
"We know they're very athletic and very good. We're just going to try and do our very best." Pleasant Valley coach Nadia Gauronsky
Pleasant Valley (11-12, 7-5 MVC)
PM West (18-4, 11-1 MVC)
TIPOFF: Friday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Stroudsburg High School
COACHES: Pleasant Valley - Ken Piontkowski; Pocono Mountain West - Brad Pensyl
LEADING SCORERS: Pleasant Valley - Selwyn Wright (12.2 ppg), Marquis Brown (10.3 ppg); Pocono Mountain West - Quindell Brice (16.4 ppg), Tyrel Dixon (11.8 ppg), Jon Amoroso (11.6 ppg)
GAME NOTES: Pleasant Valley is only one of four teams to have beaten Pocono Mountain West this year. The other three teams are Scranton, Blair Academy and Freedom. After falling to the Panthers 65-52 in Pocono Summit back on Jan. 6, the Bears exacted revenged nearly a month later with a 45-43 win in Brodheadsville. Pleasant Valley played a great defensive game at home. The Bears used a multitude of zones and did a great job of shutting West down. They held leading scorer Quindell Brice to just seven points and second-leading scorer Tyrel Dixon to zero. Meanwhile, Selwyn Wright tallied 17 for Pleasant Valley and has been on quite a scoring tear since. He scored 10 and 14 points in the Bears' last two regular season games before dropping 15 on Stroudsburg in the semifinal on Wednesday. Dre Shivers added 16 in the Bears' Feb. 3 victory, while Marquis Brown had only four. Brown twisted his ankle in the semifinal, but will give it a go Friday. The sophomore big man is averaging a double-double in his first full season as a varsity starter ... Pleasant Valley will be in search of its first MVC championship since 2003. West, on the other hand, is the defending champ and has won titles in 2005, 2007 and 2008 ... Since losing leading scorer Nick Stanovick to a foot injury against Lehighton, the Bears are 2-3 ... Pleasant Valley has been a hard team to figure out. Not only are the Bears the only team to beat PM West (11-1) in a league game this season, but they are also the only team to lose a league game to Lehighton (1-11).
QUOTEABLE: "Pocono Mountain West has been the best team in the area all season. Our biggest win of the season was our upset win over them a few weeks ago. It will be fun to play the rubber match in the championship game." - Pleasant Valley's Ken Piontkowski.