Lady ’Lopes win close one against Beaver

Avonworth’s Lauren Pflueger prepares to shoot during Monday’s close contest against Beaver. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

In an all important section match-up, the Avonworth girls’ basketball team extended their most recent win streak to three games when they hosted Beaver this past Monday. Having to overcome foul trouble and a heap of turnovers, the Lady ‘Lopes persevered in a 48-43 win to take sole possession of second place in the 3A Section 1 standings.

"We had foul trouble and had to make some substitutions," said Avonworth coach Mark D'Alessandris. "The girls played hard; we did some good things and I think this is a good stepping stone."

Hayden and Harris Robinson combined for all of the points for the 'Lopes in the first quarter, where Avonworth maintained the early lead. The Bobcats struggled from the field in the opening frame on 2-12 shooting, but both baskets were from behind the arc and that allowed them to remain close at 12-7 when the quarter ended.

Anastasia Heinold opened the scoring to begin the second quarter with a three-ball from the right corner, and Hayden Robinson completed the 6-0 run with a free throw and a coast-to-coast transition basket that put the Lady ‘Lopes at their largest lead at 18-7. Lauren Pflueger and Lexi Mankey each scored three points in the period, but foul trouble along with seven turnovers began to take their toll.

The 'Lopes were leading 23-15 after Mankey converted a three-point play, but the Bobcats closed with a 9-1 run that put the score at 24-24 going into halftime.

The teams battled back and forth as there were five lead changes in the third quarter. Beaver moved to a five-point lead at the start ,but a tear drop shot by Heinold off the base line and a basket each by the Robinson sisters following turnovers put Avonworth in front 30-29. The teams traded baskets, with Alexa Davis knocking down a shot from the left corner to put the 'Lopes back in front.

The Bobcats answered with a pair of free throws and a drive to the hoop for a basket to move ahead 35-32 with just under two minutes remaining in the quarter.

The Lady Lopes followed with a 5-0 run down the stretch that included a free throw by Kat Goetz, a put-back basket by Heinold and a basket by Pflueger that came off of an inbounds play underneath to give Avonworth a 37-35 lead.

Beaver took advantage of four Avonworth turnovers that occurred in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to recapture the lead at 40-37. Harris Robinson then scored in transition as a result of a Bobcat turnover and made the first of two shots from the stripe to pull even at 40-40 with 3:20 remaining.

The Lady ‘Lopes were able to capitalize on an assortment of mis-cues by Beaver to take control of the game down the stretch. Heinold scored off of her own steal near midcourt, and Hayden Robinson went coast-to-coast for a basket to put Avonworth in front 44-40. Goetz scored in the lane and Harris Robinson knocked down a pair of free throws to up the lead at 48-40 with :29 left. The Bobcats hit on a shot from long range to put the final score at 48-43.

Hayden Robinson finished with 15 points, followed by Harris Robinson with 11 points and Heinold with nine points.

Avonworth (9-2, 12-5) traveled to section leader Neshannock (10-1, 16-2) for a pivotal match-up last night.