Lady ’Lopes win first round

Movin’ forward: The Avonworth girls’ basketball team will move on to the WPIAL playoff quarterfinals on Saturday after defeating Beaver Falls in a first round game on Wednesday. Pictured below, Hunter Robinson (No. 4) led all Avonworth scorers with 13 points. The girls now take on an undefeated East Allegheny team. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

The Avonworth girls’ basketball team has advanced to the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs after defeating Beaver Falls in a first round game played at North Catholic this past Wednesday.

After weathering what seemed like a jittery start, the Lady ‘Lopes settled down and rolled past the Tigers 54-32.

“The layoff hurt us,” said Avonworth coach Mark D’Alessandris, who noted that his team went a week and a half without meaningful game action.

“The girls have been working hard at practice. We came in with a good game plan, the girls bought into what we were telling them and they earned it,” said D’Alessandris of the win.

Nicole Costa put Avonworth on the board first with a short jumper to start the first quarter, but Beaver Falls took advantage of missed opportunities by the Antelopes offensively and followed with a 9-0 run to jump ahead 9-2.

Avonworth was 5-22 shooting the ball from the floor in the opening quarter, but they managed to follow with a run of their own to reclaim the lead. Katie Gould hit on a 15-footer and Hunter Robinson scored after stealing the ball on the ensuing possession for the Tigers. Anna Joyce drained a three-ball from the left corner and Hayden Robinson scored on a put-back to put the ‘Lopes in front 11-9 at the end of the first quarter.

Baskets by Gould and the Robinson sisters came in a 6-0 run in the second quarter that had Avonworth in front 18-11, but Beaver Falls scored on two consecutive baskets in the paint to cut the lead to three. Lexi Mankey scored to give the Lady ‘Lopes a 20-15 lead at the half.

Avonworth got off to a great start in the third quarter with a 9-0 run to extend their lead. Gould had three points, the Robinson sisters each had a basket and Lily Tedesco scored off of an inbounds play under the basket as the Antelopes moved ahead 29-15 with 4:30 left in the third quarter.

A base line jumper by Costa had the Lady ‘Lopes in front by 16 at 33-17 near the end of the period, but the Tigers added two basket to put the score at 33-21 heading into the fourth quarter.

Avonworth continued to build on their lead in the fourth quarter, where they outscored Beaver Falls 21-11 to secure their 54-32 win.

Hunter Robinson led Avonworth with 13 points, followed by Hayden Robinson with 12 points and 16 rebounds. Gould finished with 7 points and 9 rebounds and Costa finished with 7 points.

Avonworth (15-8) will face East Allegheny (22-0) in a quarterfinal game played at Penn Hills Saturday at 1 p.m.