Valley View pulls away from Lackawanna Trail in girls hoops clash

By Robert Tomkavage -

CLINTON TWP. — Valley View shook off a sluggish start to defeat Lackawanna Trail, 58-34, in a Lackawanna League girls basketball Div. 1-4 crossover game Dec. 18.

Lackawanna Trail (0-4) forced the Lady Cougars into nine first-quarter turnovers, but Valley View held a 14-8 lead.

“We came out and we were a little lackluster, a little stagnant,” Valley View head coach Rob Martin said. “(Trail) came out and played hard and they were physical. We didn’t match it in the first quarter. They took it right at us, so we really needed to step up our game.”

Valley View senior guard Jenn Nguyen scored six of her 11 points in the first quarter.

“Jenn makes us go,” Martin said. “That’s no secret; she’s a four-year starter and she’s great at handling our offense. She takes the ball up the floor and gets us into our sets.”

Lackawanna Trail senior guard Lexie Kwiatkowski scored four of her 11 points in the first four minutes of the second quarter to cut the Lady Lions’ deficit to three points, but Valley View ended the half on a 10-2 run to regain control of the game. Sophomore guard Mia Rudalavage scored six of her 11 points in the second quarter on a pair of 3-pointers.

Despite the deficit, Lackawanna Trail head coach Lauren Sheakoski was proud of her team’s effort. The Lady Lions forced Valley View (5-0) into 15 first-half turnovers.

“There’s not much I can pick out that I thought my girls did wrong,” Sheakoski said. “Our shots didn’t fall and theirs did, and that can make or break a game. I think if my girls come out and play the way they did against a team that’s bigger than us and we’re physical, then we’ll be fine throughout the rest of the season.”

Lady Cougars junior guard Arianna Nardelli and Rudalavage hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half and Valley View’s lead grew to 17 points. Kwiatkowski scored five in the third quarter, but the Lady Lions trailed by 18 going to the fourth.

Lackawanna Trail senior forward Laurelann Penn scored seven of her team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter. Sheakoski was pleased with the way her team continued to battle despite falling behind by a wide margin in the second half.

“They are finally being aggressive,” Sheakoski said. “This is my third season and that’s what I’ve been asking for. I just want them to always be competitive and not give up. It doesn’t matter if we’re down 10, up 10 or down 30, if we give up every team is going to walk all over us. They didn’t give up at any point tonight, but (Valley View) hit a few 3’s and that kind of hurt us.”

By Robert Tomkavage

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.