SOUTH DAYTON - Frewsburg used a 21-0 run to end the first half, putting all the distance they needed between themselves and the Pine Valley Lady Panthers, as the Bears won the 2012 Pine Valley Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday.
"That's what we want to be," Pine Valley head coach Tim Nobles said of Frewsburg after the Bears' 69-29 win. "We're at a medium level now. We've got the talent to possibly go to the next level, but we've got to play teams like this and we've got to step forward and show what we can do."
A key to the Bears' game-breaking run was the fact that coach Jeff Collver called off the full-court press and had his girls run their half-court, 3-2 zone set, which gave the Lady Panthers fits the rest of the first half as they only scored two points.
Annie Berg of Frewsburg drives to the basket during the Bears’ win over Pine Valley in the championship game of the Pine Valley Tournament on Saturday.
Photo by Steve Cass
"We just sat back in the half-court defense and we run it great," Collver said. "It's a 3-2 (zone), we communicate, we talk, we hustle, we push out when we need to, we sag in ... It's all the kids and how they communicate and work with each other."
Tournament most valuable player Shawna Raymond scored 11 of her game-high 21 points during the 21-0 run, helping her team to a stunning 42-10 lead at halftime.
"She had 25 the other night against Ellicottville and didn't play very well," Collver said. "She just steps right up and loves to play. She's on the court constantly."
Raymond, a senior, added seven rebounds, four steals and three assists to her line while Reyanne Strong chipped in 15 points, five steals and six assists.
"She's a great player,'' Nobles said of Raymond. "She can shoot, she can handle the ball, she has a hesitation move that fakes everybody out and takes it right to the hoop. But the thing that makes her so much better is her teammates can do the same thing. It's not a one-person team."
The Bears built a 16-8 lead after the first eight minutes, utilizing their speed to jump out to the early advantage.
"Frewsburg forced us, as any good pressure defense will do, forced us out of our game," Nobles said. "They forced us to do things a little faster or just made us do things that we wouldn't normally do."
In the third quarter, Raymond added another five points and Strong four as Frewsburg outscored Pine Valley, 17-7.
"Our defense and offense are both built on speed," Collver said. "And I talked with coach (Tim) Nobles about blueprints of programs that you like to emulate and Pine Valley has always been one that we liked and tried to model what we do after. And it paid off."
Pine Valley was able to outscore Frewsburg in the fourth quarter, 12-11, but the game had already been decided.
Despite the lopsided loss, Nobles and his young Lady Panthers know that the game against the Bears was something that was needed if they are to get better as a team this year and in the future.
"We're playing teams like Frewsburg and scrimmaging Randolph and playing Salamanca to make us better," Nobles said. "And that's the only way we're going to get better is by playing tougher competition."
The Lady Panthers, who showed off their own team speed and didn't quit playing until the final buzzer, were led by Aaren Waterman and Kayla Mansfield, who each had six points. Waterman added five rebounds, as did Laural Killock.
"The Pine Valley girls made us work until that buzzer went off," Collver said. "We never got a break. They weren't waiting for us to do anything, so hats off to them and how hard they worked."
In the consolation game, Ellicottville got another strong performance from senior standout Janae Hamilton, who poured in a game-high 30 points, as the Lady Eagles defeated Fredonia, 61-42.
"She had 30 the last game and we knew that," Fredonia head coach Carol Zirkle added. "I'm a little disappointed in how we played team defense against her. I thought that we didn't follow the game plan consistently."
The performance by Hamilton, who added eight rebounds, was not unexpected by either coach, and Ellicottville coach Tim Bergan noted that it could have even been better.
"In a couple of weeks she won't be missing some of the shots she did (Saturday)," Bergan said. "It could have been 40 or 45 points. She's a natural scorer, she works hard on the boards and I expect these things from her this year."
The Lady Eagles, behind five points from Hamilton and four from fellow senior Madison Szpaicher, built a 13-6 lead after the first quarter, before exploding for 21 points in the second quarter and a 34-17 half-time lead.
"Janae (Hamilton) and Maddie (Szpaicher) have started for me on the varsity since they were in ninth grade," Bergan said. "And Janae will be playing at the next level and Maddie will be playing volleyball at the next level. They're two college-bound athletes and you can see that on the floor."
The young Lady Hillbillies had their best quarter in the third, scoring 17 points, but the Lady Eagles put up 19 to take a 53-34 lead into the fourth quarter.
"I thought we played much improved over the other night," Bergan said. "Our biggest problem right now is we're chasing that state championship in volleyball and we're two weeks behind practice from everybody else. But we have a state title in our gym, and that's a great thing."
Zirkle knows that her team, which has no seniors on the roster, will experience some growing pains this season, but she is pleased with the progress she has seen thus far.
"They worked hard," Zirkle said of her team. "I thought both games we worked very hard and I could see lots of steps of little improvements. Lots of things that right now, we're doing a lot better than we did last year."
NOTES: Maddie Crandall led the Lady Hillbillies with 12 points while adding five rebounds and four steals ... Olivia Pucciarelli added eight points off the bench for Fredonia ... Bre Dahn had a team-high seven rebounds for the Lady Hillbillies ... Annie Berg had a game-high 10 rebounds for Frewsburg ... Making the all-tournament team were Crandall (Fredonia), Hamilton (Ellicottville), Killock (Pine Valley), Berg (Frewsburg), Strong (Frewsburg).