Avonworth girls beat Riverside, ready for playoffs

Avonworth’s Robinson sisters, Hayden and Harris, teamed up for a total of 22 points in the Lady ’Lopes' win over Riverside Monday. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

The Avonworth girls’ basketball team locked up a spot in the upcoming WPIAL playoffs when they hosted Riverside this past Monday.

After an unsteady start to the contest, the Lady ‘Lopes found their game and rolled to a win over the Lady Panthers 55-23.

"Fouls hurt us early, but after that we were okay," said Avonworth coach Mark D'Alessandris.

The 'Lopes jumped in front at the start of the first quarter with a free throw by Hayden Robinson and a three-pointer by Anastasia Heinold off the right side, but Riverside converted a pair from the line and hit on a three-pointer to move in front 5-4. Both teams struggled from the field in the opening quarter, but a couple of baskets from down low by Kat Goetz had Avonworth leading when the quarter ended 8-7.

Hayden and Harris Robinson accounted for all of the points in an 8-0 run that came off three turn-overs by the Panthers early in the second quarter and moved the Lady ‘Lopes ahead 16-7. Riverside was then able to capitalize from the free throw line on 6-6 coming in a 6-2 run to trail 18-13 with 4:55 left in the second quarter.

Lexi Mankey stepped up her game as she accounted for all of the points that came in a 7-0 run that followed. That run began with a three-pointer off the right side, followed by a steal by Mankey that she converted for a lay-up. Mankey then scored in transition to put the 'Lopes up 25-13. Hayden Robinson added a score from underneath and Alexia Heinold knocked down a three-pointer as Avonworth held a 22-9 advantage in the quarter to lead 30-16 at the half.

Anastasia Heinold's three-ball from the top of the circle sent the Lady ‘Lopes on an 11-0 run in the third quarter that ended with Heinold's transition basket following a Panthers turn-over to increase the lead at 43-17. A put-back basket by Lauren Pflueger finished the scoring for Avonworth as they led 45-21 at the end of the period.

Alexa Davis, Maggie Goetz and Olivia Perry got on the scoresheet in the fourth quarter where the Lady ‘Lopes held a 10-2 point advantage to complete their 55-23 victory.

Hayden Robinson led the Avonworth offense with 13 points, followed by Harris Robinson with nine points and Anastasia Heinold and Kat Goetz each with eight points.

Before the win this past Monday, the 'Lopes had a chance to tie for the section lead when they traveled to front-runner Neshannock last Saturday. However, that didn't happen as Avonworth fell 56-35.

The 'Lopes had a lead early on in that game, but the Lancers hit on three threes in a row to lead 18-14 at the end of the first quarter. Avonworth struggled offensively the rest of the way, with 21 points coming in the remaining three quarters.

"We had some meltdowns here and there and we're hoping we can move up in the brackets [WPIAL] the rest of the way," said D'Alessandris.

Kat Goetz finished with 17 points followed by Hayden Robinson with seven points.

The Lady ‘Lopes (10-3, 13-6) finished with section play at Freedom last night and will await playoff pairings that will be announced on Tuesday.