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Neuqua Valley did not set the world on fire offensively Wednesday at York. But the Dukes’ size had a lot to do with that.
“They’re big,” Neuqua Valley forward Allison Hedrick said. “We knew they were big, so we knew we had to take the ball to the hole to get those fouls, which we didn’t do in the first half. But we talked about it at halftime and one of the reasons we got ahead was because we started taking it to the hole.”
Matched up against York’s 6-foot-3 senior Molly Schlecht, 5’11” junior Sami Harrell and 6-foot freshman Kelly Polte, the 5’10” Hedrick and 5’6” freshman guard Myia Starks each scored 10 points and 5’11” junior Najee Smith added 12 to lead No. 17 Neuqua Valley (5-0) to a 46-24 victory.
Neuqua Valley scored the first 11 points of the game and led 21-8 at halftime. A 10-3 run to open the second half, including a conventional three-point play by Starks, extended the lead to 31-11 with 2:11 remaining in the third quarter.
York (3-2) closed to within 35-22 on a three-pointer by Sarah Milkowski with 5:21 left in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats answered with a 6-0 run capped by a Hedrick basket off a feed from 6-2 sophomore Bryce Menendez (4 points, seven rebounds, four assists).
“It was game that I thought, early in the season you have to kind of tell what officials are doing and they let us play,” Neuqua Valley coach Mike Williams said. “The way they (York) came out, their plan of attack was to be physical with us. They caught us off guard.
“They’re a big team and they got after us physically, but I thought defensively we held in there,” he added. “We did the right things. Offensively, they shook us up, so we had to make some adjustments and the girls did a fine job making those adjustments.”
Polte led York with eight points and Jessica Bianchi had five.
“We knew they were quick,” York coach John Constable said. “I think it was our timidness, it was our unwillingness to attack in attacking situations. When they put pressure on us, I told the girls all week we have to put pressure on the rim.
“Instead, we tried making passes that were uncharacteristic of what we worked on, we didn’t execute our press break, and we didn’t execute our halfcourt offense because of our timidness,” he added. “We did not play nearly up to our capabilities. It’s frustrating, but we’ll go back to the drawing board and hopefully learn from this and get better.”