After slow start, Deer Lakes girls roll past Riverview

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Friday, December 7, 2018 | 11:45 PM


Deer Lakes and Riverview started out with some opening night jitters in the first quarter.

But things began to click in the second quarter for the Deer Lakes girls, and the Lancers rolled to a 48-30 victory in the nightcap of the school’s tip-off tournament.

Cameron Simerda led a balanced scoring attack with 11 points, and the Lancers held the Raiders to just 12 points in the second half.

Deer Lakes (1-0) will face Quaker Valley in the tournament final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and Riverview (0-1) plays Avonworth in the consolation game at 6.

The Quakers defeated the Antelopes, 47-34, in the tournament opener.

“I think the big key in the second quarter was changing the defense up a bit,” Lancers coach Dave Petruska said. “Throwing our press at them, I wanted to start at the beginning, but I knew they have very good guard play. They’re prepared for press-breakers, and they’re a well-coached team.”

After leading 10-8 at the end of one quarter, Deer Lakes opened up a gap during the decisive second quarter. Julia Hollibaugh came off the bench to hit a 3-pointer, and the Lancers had their first double-digit lead of the night, 22-12.

Deer Lakes maintained a 26-18 advantage at the intermission.

“All in all, I loved the energy we had from tip to finish,” Petruska said. “Even when we were not making the best decisions and turning the ball over, it wasn’t like we didn’t let confidence overcome us and let it become cockiness, but we also didn’t get down and find ourselves fighting to continue with our energy.”

Meanwhile, veteran Riverview coach Keith Stitt was disappointed in his team’s start.

”We had a tough week, and I told our assistant I was concerned with their mental state,” Stitt said. “On in bounds plays that we’ve been running since seventh grade, one girl would take it out and the other four girls were all running in different directions. That’s a glaring indicator of a team that’s not mentally prepared.”

The Raiders committed 10 turnovers in the first quarter.

Two bright spots for Riverview were center Alivia Schultheis with 14 points and Francesca Lio who had 10, accounting for 75 percent of the Raiders’ scoring.

“She’s getting better; she’s making progress,” Stitt said of Schultheis. “We made a couple of misplays tonight, and it snowballs.”

Simerda had 11 and teammates Hollibaugh, Anna Solomon and Abby Buechel checked in with nine points.

When Riverview would close the gap at times, Deer Lakes responded quickly.

“In years past, we would give up a couple of baskets and it had an impact on us, mentally,” Petruska said. “We would make more mistakes and dig ourselves a hole. Tonight, we’d give up a couple baskets, then responded.”

The Raiders played without starter Alyssa Cappa, who has been ill. Cappa said she hopes to return to the lineup sometime next week.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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