By ANGELO VELOTTA
For the Star Beacon
ANDOVER TOWNSHIP —
The Rockets of Maplewood used Andover Township as their launching bad and blasted off to a 57-55 Northeastern Athletic Conference triumph Monday night.
With the game tied at 55, Maplewood’s Miranda Sloan weaved her way through the PV defense and hit Brooke Dawson, who cashed in for the gamewinning score.
With a chance to tie or win, the Lakers could not pull it off. Maplewood rebounded and ran the clock down down to 1.4 seconds to go before PV could get to a Rocket for a foul, deciding the outcome in the thriller.
Dawson’s huge 24-point, 11-rebound effort led the Rockets.
“It was extra important, and Allie (Bell) fills in,” Dawson said in her effort to help her team as the post player they have.
Bell was right there with Dawson, filling the Robin role to her Batman, scoring 19 points and grabbing 7 rebounds.
“Try to take it to the hoop,” Bell said of her performance. “And (I wanted to) be a leader as a senior.”
Helping them get to the ball, and hugely on defense was Sloan, with 6 points, a including a huge 3-point, 7 steals and 6 assists.
“I drove and passed, got out of the trap,” Sloan said.
For the Lakers (3-2, 1-2), it was a tough, hard-fought verdict that did not go their way, thanks mostly to a tough start.
“Play with a little more heart,” Pymatuning Valley coach Jeff Compan said. “(We were) missing shots we should make.”
The game started off slowly for both teams who were struggling to get the ball in the hoop, and a handle on the ball.
“I knew we missed our first four open shots — we usually start off with poor shooting and then take good shots,” Maplewood coach Mark Yoder said.
Yoder expected a typical Maplewood-PV NAC clash and that’s exactly what transpired.
“That’s what it’s like between these two teams — runs — importantly, (and not) letting up after run,” he said of the back-and-forth contest.
Maplewood committed 29 turnovers and PV was not far behind, with 23.
“We thought even though we started off shooting slow, things would be OK,” Compan said. “We could never get a stop.”
Kelsea Brown led the way for Pymatuning Valley with 17 points and 8 rebounds, Megan Stech helped with 11 points and a team-high 9 rebounds. Heather Bryant added 9 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists,and Michealia Skleres had 8 points and 4 steals.
Vickie Karlovic added 6 points and 6 rebounds for Maplewood.
Velotta is a freelance writer from Concord Township.