ANDOVER — The last thing a team with momentum wants is time off, but that’s exactly what Pymatuning Valley’s girls basketball team has recently had to endure.
The Lakers currently sport a 7-3 record, including an unblemished 5-0 mark in the Northeastern Athletic Conference, but thanks in part to the recent weather, they’ve only played one game in the last 17 days.
By the time they get their next game in, it will only be the Lakers second in a three-week span.
“We’ve kind of hit a lull here in the season with all the cancellations,” PV coach Jeff Compan said. “We have been able to get in a little bit of practice, but the girls are real excited to get the second half of this season rolling.”
The Lakers season resumes on Thursday against Lordstown, which has ridden a nine-game winning streak to the top of the NAC’s Stripes Division.
While some eagerness to get back onto the court is good, PV has to make sure to keep its emotions in check.
Teams or players who step on the court after a long layoff often come out with so much emotion that they try to do more than they’re capable of and eventually run themselves into a brick wall.
Thanks to his veteran leadership, specifically seniors Madison Hurst, Paige Sloan and Haley Holt, Compan doesn’t expect his team to become a victim of trying to do too much too quickly.
“Those three have kept us together,” Compan said. “My junior class has actually played since they were freshman, so we have a pretty veteran team and they’ve helped us get through some tough times. When you have a crisis moment in a game, they’ve seen most of those moments before and usually those moments aren’t too big for them.”
Compan attributed the Lakers success thus far to that leadership and their ability to score. PV is averaging over 50 points per game.
“I think offensively we’ve been a pretty strong team,” Compan said. “We’ve had a couple dud games which is typical, but offensively were pretty strong. … When you’re able to (score 50 points consistently), even on a bad defensive night you’re still in the ball game.”
Leading the charge on offense are Hurst, junior Ashley Hall and sophomore Kendall Baker.
In PV’s two most recent games, Hurst, Hall and Baker have accounted for 72 percent of their team’s points, including a 21-point performance from Hurst in a winning effort last Thursday.
“We have three girls who can really fill it up,” Compan said. “We continue to try to be as balanced as we can, but we’re always talking about if somebody’s hot, we want to feed that person, no matter who it is.”
To continue their success, Compan said the Lakers must get better defensively. They took a hit earlier in the season when Morgan Silvers, whom Compan called his team’s best defender, tore a ligament in her knee.
“She’s our heart and soul (on defense),” Compan said. “Replacing her has not been easy, but still we’re plugging and trying to maintain our defensive intensity without her.”
If they can find a way to fill Silvers’ void on defense, the Lakers will find themselves right where they want to be at the end of the season.
“Our number one goal always is to win the league, we haven’t accomplished anything yet, but we’re in a good position right now,” Compan said. “We’re happy where we’re at, (but) we’re not satisfied. We’ve lost three so there’s been some room for improvement, but we’re pleased with where we’re at and we want to get back into a rhythm of playing games.”