Bears rout Tribe
Lehighton and Pleasant Valley's Mountain Valley Conference girls' basketball game was a contest in the sense that it pitted two teams against each other in a competitive setting.
However, the 'contest' wasn't very competitive for long.
Pleasant Valley used its full-court press to force Lehighton into an astounding 20 turnovers in the first quarter and went on to cruise to a 54-19 victory. The Indians turned the ball over time after time and it led to a 27-2 deficit at the end of one. It was all but a formality after that.
"We need to work on some things and I think pressing is one of them," said Pleasant Valley head coach Nadia Gauronsky. "It was nice to see us come and do the right things. We forced some turnovers and created some chaos out there in the beginning of the game.
"I was happy that we came out and did that and pushed the game early. We hadn't done that either and have been slowly getting into things. So it was nice to see us get out on some breaks."
Pleasant Valley scored and quickly jumped into its 2-2-1 zone press. It worked immediately, as Lehighton couldn't find ways to get the ball inbounds and up the court without turning it over. Kasaundra Barclay's bucket midway through the frame was the only points the Indians would score in the first 12-and-a-half minutes.
"I think you have to give the credit to (Pleasant Valley)," said Lehighton head coach Chris Kasian. "We don't have a lot of experience against a press like that. To be honest with you we panicked under the pressure. Once (the Bears) got a couple of steals and a couple of baskets I really think that broke our confidence."
The game was never in doubt after that. Pleasant Valley dropped its press and worked the ball around a lot on offense. Starting point guard Keri Dekmar scored all 12 of her points in the first half, as she and the rest of the starters did not play in the second half. Backup point guard Kiki Russell also played very well in the first half. She scored all of her 11 points in the first 16 minutes as well.
Tiff Thompson was responsible for the only Lehighton bucket in the second quarter. She would score twice more in the third to finish with six points. Teammate Emily Shelly added six points too.
While there weren't many, Kasian did find some positives afterward.
"Last year the second time we played them we lost 49-7," said Kasian. "I thought then we panicked under the pressure the whole game. This year we scored 19 points and I think we did do some good things.
"There were some small things that individual players did that I think we can build on. When you are getting beat that bad it's not easy to keep playing. I give our kids credit. They kept playing. If there is any victory then that it is."
As for the Bears, the win is a nice bounce-back from last Friday's lop-sided loss to Pocono Mountain West.
"These are the nights that you have to work hard early and do the right things," said Gauronsky. "If you leave a team hang around then you don't know what can happen. So I am happy we came out right away and did what we had to do."
Rossino 0-0-0-0, Shelly 3-0-0-6, Barclay 1-0-0-2, Fital 1-0-0-2, Blasiak 0-0-0-0, Durishin 0-0-0-0, Smith 1-0-0-3, Thompson 3-0-0-6, Rehrig 0-0-0-0, Cordona 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 9-0-0-19.
Meckes 0-0-0-0, Cisluycis 1-0-0-2, Dekmar 6-0-0-12, Dorney 1-0-0-2, Russell 5-1-4-11, Miller 0-0-0-0, Craig 2-1-2-5, Krcic 5-0-0-10, Fields 0-0-0-0, Sharpe 0-0-0-0, Shaneberger 0-0-0-0, Jimenez 2-2-4-6, Lozier 3-0-0-6. TOTALS: 25-4-10-54.
Lehighton 2 2 9 6 - 19
Pleasant Vy 27 8 9 10 - 54
Three-pointers: Lehighton - Smith 1.