Lady ’Lopes come close to WPIAL playoff spot

The Lady ’Lopes, including Nicole Costa, pictured above, held their own defensively in a preliminary playoff game against Beth-Center last Friday night. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

It was undoubtedly one of their better performances this season when the Avonworth Lady ‘Lopes met the Beth-Center Bulldogs in the preliminary round of the WPIAL playoffs last Friday.

That was until Beth-Center took advantage from the free throw line in the fourth quarter on their way to defeating the 'Lopes 59-45.

"We finally did what we've been telling them all year," said coach Toni Roscoe of her team afterwards.

The contest featured a break-out game for Anna Joyce, who connected on six three-pointers to lead the team with 18 points, but unfortunately that would not be enough.

"We lost on foul shots," said Roscoe.

Beth-Center was 19 of 26 from the line on the night, connecting on 10 of 13 in the fourth quarter.

Katie Gould scored five points in the first quarter, but the Antelope offense got a boost from Joyce, who knocked down three shots from long range to help Avonworth take a 14-11 lead by the end of the period.

A three-ball by the Bulldogs to start the second quarter sent Beth-Center on an 11-2 run to take the lead at 22-16. Nicole Costa knocked down a jumper to stop the run, but Beth-Center responded with a basket in the lane, then added three free throws to lead 27-18 with 2:30 left in the quarter.

Costa got into the act from long range with a three-ball, and Joyce took the spotlight with two more baskets from beyond the arc as Avonworth finished with a 9-2 run down the stretch to trail 29-27 at the half.

A pair of free throws by Gould tied the score at 29-29 a minute and a half into the third quarter, but the Bulldogs scored on their next two possessions to reclaim the lead at 34-29.

Joyce connected on her sixth three-pointer and Morgan Rader went coast to coast for a basket that tied the teams at 34-34 with 3:20 remaining in the period. Gould's base line jumper tied the teams again following a Beth-Center basket, but the Bulldogs answered back with a three-ball to take a 39-36 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Beth-Center was able to capitalize on Avonworth's foul trouble in the fourth quarter to extend their lead. In addition, untimely turn-overs were costly in that they limited opportunities for the Antelopes’ offense to keep pace with the Bulldogs.
Beth-Center went to the line mostly in the bonus situation in the final quarter, where they outscored the 'Lopes 20-9 to put the final score at 59-45.

Joyce's game-high 18 points were followed by Gould with 11, Costa with eight, Rader with six and Lily Tedesco with two points.

After the game Roscoe said of her first season as a head coach,"I loved it and I couldn't have picked a better place to start."

With all of the experience gleaned from this season by a very young Lady ‘Lopes team, expect bigger things from this group next year.

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