Lady ’Lopes head for second round

By JIM RUMBLE

Approximately a week and a half had passed between the final regular season game and the first round of the WPIAL playoffs for the Avonworth girls’ basketball team, but the team's preparation during that period helped the Lady ‘Lopes run past the Beth-Center Bulldogs in a game played at Gateway High School this past Wednesday, 55-34.

"We had some good days of practice and a combined scrimmage with [6A] Peters Township and [4A] Central Valley gave the girls a lot of confidence from that," said 'Lopes coach Mark D'Alessandris.

Against Beth-Center, Avonworth came out with a lot of energy, particularly on defense where their full court press was a major factor in building a huge early lead.

A basket by Alexa Davis off the right side and a three-pointer by Harris Robinson opened the scoring for the Lady ‘Lopes from the perimeter, but turn-overs created by Avonworth's aggressive defense helped in building a 14-0 lead near the midpoint of the first quarter.

The 'Lopes got seven points each by Hayden Robinson and Harris Robinson in the opening quarter while the defense forced nine turn-overs in that span to put Avonworth up 22-8.

Lexi Mankey's three-pointer ignited a 6-0 run by Avonworth to begin the second quarter, but Beth-Center was able to counter as they claimed an 8-4 point advantage through the remainder of the quarter that had the 'Lopes leading 32-16 at the half.

The teams played evenly through the third quarter but a 7-0 run that included five points by Harris Robinson and a basket by Alexia Heinold came in the final 34 seconds of the period and moved the Antelopes to a 45-23 lead.

Baskets by Kat Goetz and Davis gave Avonworth their largest lead at 49-23 to start the fourth quarter as the Lady ‘Lopes went on to secure a 55-34 victory.

"I liked our energy," said D'Alessandris. "We need to tweek some things for the next game and we'll be ready to go."

Harris Robinson led the Avonworth offense with 19 points, followed by Hayden Robinson with nine points, Davis with eight points, Mankey with seven points and Goetz with six points.