Lady ’Lopes hit “bump in the road”

Avonworth’s Maggie Goetz maneuvers past the Lancers during Monday’s loss to Neshannock, which left the Lady ‘Lopes tied for the section lead. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

The Avonworth girls’ basketball team was in position to solidify their spot at the top of Section 1 (3A) when they hosted Neshannock this past Monday. Unfortunately for the Lady ‘Lopes, things didn't play out as they had hoped, with the Lancers rolling to a 61-42 victory.

"It was two good teams and we had to answer the bell," said 'Lopes’ coach Mark D'Alessandris. "They [Neshannock] showed up, brought their A-game, and we didn't have our best game."

Hayden Robinson scored eight points in the first quarter but the Lancers matched that with eight points in the paint and connected on 7-8 from the free throw line on their way to an 18-10 lead early on. Harris Robinson scored on a back door play assisted by Anastasia Heinold to begin the second quarter, but Neshannock did a great job on offense by getting the ball in and around Avonworth's 2-3 zone defense. The Lancers followed with a 12-2 run to take a 30-14 lead with 2:10 left in the quarter.

Heinold knocked down a three-ball to stop the bleeding for the 'Lopes, but the Lancers continued to succeed down low on offense with a 6-2 run down the stretch to lead 36-19 at the half.

"They got us on the boards tonight," said D'Alessandris.

Avonworth was trailing 40-21 early in the third quarter when Hayden Robinson and Lexi Mankey fueled an 11-3 run to cut into the Neshannock lead. Kat Goetz scored her first points in the lane for the Lady ‘Lopes, but that was the only basket that came in an 8-2 run by the Lancers through the remainder of the quarter, upping their lead to 51-34.

That was as close as Avonworth would get to the lead as they were out-pointed 10-8 in the final frame to put the final score at 61-42.

The Lady ‘Lopes are 4-1 in section play and now tied with Neshannock and Beaver at the top of the section, but D'Alessandris does not seem overly concerned about the loss.

"It's a little bump in the road but we're okay," said D'Alessandris.

Hayden Robinson finished with 18 points followed by Heinold with seven points and Goetz and Mankey each with six points.

Before the loss, Avonworth was alone atop the section after an exciting win at Beaver last Thursday 63-61. The 'Lopes were ahead 53-42 midway through the fourth quarter when the Bobcats connected on five three-balls that came in a 19-8 run to tie the teams at 61-61 with :03 left on the clock.

Harris Robinson was fouled coming across midcourt with :00.2 left and calmly sank two free throws to secure the victory.

"This was a good test for us in a hostile environment," said D'Alessandris.

Hayden Robinson finished with 22 points and Goetz recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Avonworth (4-1, 6-4) continued with section play at Riverside (0-5, 5-7 )Thursday.