By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon
ANDOVER TOWNSHIP —
Already battling through a difficult Premier Athletic Conference schedule, the Lakeside Dragons didn’t find the non-conference terain any easier when they traveled to Pymatuning Valley as the Lakers dropped the Dragons, 62-20.
PV ran off a 19-0 run over the first 6:16 in the game to knock out Lakeside early.
A Heather Brant (10 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) conventional three-point play with 2:07 left in the first period provided that 19-0 margin. The run ended a few ticks later when Brianna Kingston found Sarah Morehouse on the right wing for a 12-foot jumper for the first Dragon points of the night.
The Lakers responded with a 7-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Abby Hamilton from the left corner, following a pass from Geena Gabriel.
“I was happy with our execution tonight,” PV coach Jeff Compan said. “We haven’t executed our offense very well the last couple games, but tonight we did a good job of getting the ball to the right spots. The key to that is to stay focused and, for the most part tonight, we were much better than we have been lately.”
Though overmatched athletically, the Dragons tightened things up a bit in the second period. Handling constant full-court pressure, was a bit of a problem for Lakeside. The Dragons turned the ball over 39 times in the game — 15 were the result of PV steals.
The result was that Lakeside got off only 39 shots in the game. Only nine of those attempts went in.
“This was not one of our better games, maybe the worst one we’ve played all season,” Lakeside coach Dave Malone said. “We’ve played three or four decent games in a row lately and our guards have done a nice job of improving over the course of the season, but tonight we took a couple steps back. We got stuck too many times in the corner against their pressure.
“I’m just hoping that as the minutes pile up for our younger girls, it may pay off for them. We need more offseason work.”
The Lakers trap and press with the intention of taking up the tempo. After that first period, though, solid defense by the Dragons did manage to slow the PV running game down a bit, limiting the Lakers to just 36 points over the last three quarters, but the damage had been done.
Kelsea Brown had 18 points to lead the Lakers (18-2, 10-2 in Northeastern Athletic Conference) and Heather Brant tallied 10 while leading the Lakers in rebounds (7) and assists (6). Nine of 12 Lakers who played recorded points.
Stephanie Fusco scored five of her team-high seven points for Lakeside in the second quarter and Shelby Smith added six points and had a strong 15-rebound, five-block effort as well.
Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.