New-look Bears turn back Indians
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Pleasant Valley's Dzana Krcic (20) dribbles the ball down court as Lehighton's Tiffany Thompson moves in to defend.
Pleasant Valley coach Nadia Gauronsky isn't one to make excuses - and she isn't going to let her team make them either.
A pair of season-ending injuries in the Bears' last game forced Gauronsky to make some significant line-up changes on Tuesday against Lehighton.
The new-look Bears started slowly, but eventually got things rolling and breezed to a 44-20 Mountain Valley Conference victory.
"We had several new faces in our line-up tonight," said Gaurounsky. "But we aren't lowering our expectations. I'm confident the players who are stepping into new roles will be up to the challenge.
"When you lose a couple of key players like we did, everybody has to pick up their level of play. I think our girls did that tonight and I expect them to continue to do that the rest of the season."
In the Bears' previous game against East Stroudsburg South, Julia Craig suffered an ankle injury and Arden Cisluycis suffered a finger injury that ended their seasons.
But Gauronsky wasn't lamenting the bad breaks her team received. Instead, she was preaching a "next man in" philosophy
Pleasant Valley, which didn't even get a chance to plug in its new faces during practice because of Monday's storm, made wholesale changes as Jordan Meckes, Dzana Krcic and Kiki Russell all were new to the starting lineup.
"We had to move a number of people around and I thought that might have contributed to a bit of a slow start tonight," said Gauronsky. "We missed a lot of layups and it looked like we were struggling a little bit trying to feel things out.
"But we eventually settled down and took control of the game. I thought all of the girls who stepped into the starting lineup tonight made nice contributions."
The Bears (13-4, 7-2) did get off to a slow start as they were tied 4-4 with Lehighton with just over three minutes left in the opening quarter. But Pleasant Valley closed the quarter with a 12-0 run and never looked back.
"Our goal is to keep improving," said Lehighton coach Chris Kasian. "I think that is especially important as we are playing these teams a second time.
"I thought we definitely did that tonight. We hung tough throughout much of the first quarter and we could have been in even better shape than we were.
"I thought we got some good shots on offense that we just couldn't knock down. Overall, it was a much better performance against them then the first time we played (a 54-19 Pleasant Valley win)."
Gauronsky used her bench extensively over the final three quarters as 10 of the 11 Bears who saw action hit the scoring column.
"It was nice to get our younger girls an opportunity to see a lot of playing time," said Gaursonsky. "They worked hard and I saw some nice things from them."
Two of the new players to the starting lineup led Pleasant Valley in scoring as Meckes had nine points and Russell, who is only a freshman, added eight points.
For Lehighton (3-15, 2-8), Tiffany Thompson had 10 points.
Meckes 4-1-1-9, Dekmar 3-0-0-6, Shaneberger 1-0-0-2, Jimenez 1-0-0-2, Krcic 1-0-0-2, Fields 1-0-0-2, Sharp 1-0-0-2, Miller 3-0-0-6, Russell 4-0-0-8, Dorney 2-1-2-5, Lozier 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 21-2-3-44.
Rossino 0-1-2-1, Shelly 1-0-0-2, Barclay 1-0-0-3, Fital 1-0-0-2, Yurasits 0-0-0-0, Blasiak 0-2-2-2, Durishin 0-0-0-0, Smith 0-0-0-0, Thompson 5-0-1-10, Rehrig 0-0-2-0, Cordova 0-0-2-0. TOTALS: 8-3-7-20.
Pleasant Vy. 16 7 17 4 - 44
Lehighton 4 2 4 10 - 20
Three-pointers: PV - none. L - Barclay 1.