Lady ’Lopes beat tough Flames team

By JIM RUMBLE

The Avonworth girls’ basketball team closed out section play at North-gate last Thursday.

After leading by 16 points late in the third quarter, the Lady ‘Lopes managed to hold off a late comeback by a determined Flames team to pull out a 48-44 victory.

'Lopes coach Toni Roscoe felt that turn-overs were a major problem and that perhaps the teams' play was less spirited knowing that they have already secured a spot for the WPIAL playoffs.

The Lady ‘Lopes have not lost to the Flames since December 1992.

The game was as physical a game as Avonworth has played all year, with both teams refusing to back down.

Nicole Costa scored four points to lead a balanced offensive effort early on that gave the Antelopes a 10-0 lead. Northgate's Lauren Kennelly put the Flames on the board near the two minute mark and Niko Scott followed with a basket in the lane to cut Avonworth's lead to 10-4.

Erin Welsh banked in a 15-footer and Morgan Rader added a free throw that would offset a pair from the line by Denzie White for the Flames, giving Avonworth a 13-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Baskets by Scott and Taylor Cousins came in a 5-0 Flames run, enabling Northgate to move within four points of the lead, but Avonworth did a good job of getting the basketball up the floor, getting transition baskets by Lily Tedesco and Sarah Ward.

The 'Lopes added 4-7 from the line while outscoring the Flames 8-1 down the stretch to lead 23-12 at the half.

Avonworth spent a good bit of the third quarter adding to their lead, with Tedesco scoring six points that included a pair of free throws that gave the 'Lopes their largest lead at 32-16 with 2:19 remaining in the period.

The Flames were able to respond, with Scott scoring on a put-back and then scoring in the lane on an in-bounds play to lead an 8-1 run that cut the 'Lopes’ lead to 33-24 to end the third quarter.

Tedesco took command of the Antelope offense in the fourth quarter, scoring nine points, including the first five points that helped Avonworth take a 14-point lead at 40-24.

Northgate would not give in. Cousins found her touch from the outside with two baskets from downtown, fueling a 10-2 run by the Flames.

Scott added two transition baskets in that span that cut the Antelopes’ lead to 42-34.

Tedesco banged home a jumper from the right corner and Katie Gould added a free throw to increase Avonworth's lead, but Cousins came through again with two baskets from the perimeter, pulling Northgate closer to the lead.

Kennelly's basket for the Flames off of a 'Lopes’ turn-over cut the lead to 45-42 with :54 remaining in the game.

Welsh followed with a pair of free throws for Avonworth, but Northgate's White matched that with a pair from the line to make it a one-possession game with the 'Lopes in front 47-44. Costa added one from the line with 10 seconds left that secured the 48-44 win for Avonworth.

Tedesco led the Lady ‘Lopes with 21 points, followed by Costa and Gould with eight points each, Welsh with four, Rader with three and Ward and Beth Kujawinski each with two points.

The Flames were led by Scott with 15 points, Cousins with 13, Kennelly with seven, White with six and Tiana Morgan with three points.

Avonworth followed with two non-section losses and must regroup quickly as they face Beth-Center in a WPIAL preliminary round game to be played at Peters Township High School tonight at 6:30 p.m.

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