Signature Win: A-C Valley Girls Roll Past Nemesis North Clarion, 56-38

| January 19, 2019


FOXBURG, Pa. (D9Sports) – A signature win.

(Photo: Kylee Eaton of A-C Valley was named the Hager Paving Player of the Game after scoring 15 points and grabbing 15 rebounds)

Relisten to the game:

That is how the A-C Valley girls’ basketball team is viewing its 56-38 win over visiting North Clarion Friday night – the Lady Falcons first win over the She-Wolves in nearly two years (Jan. 20, 2017, was the last) and North Clarion’s first loss to a KSAC team since that loss in Foxburg in 2017.

“Yes, definitely, we got that signature win,” said A-C Valley senior forward Kylee Eaton, who watched her team lose three times to North Clarion last year including in both the District 9 Class 1A and KSAC title games while losing five straight to the She-Wolves (three in postseason play). “But they are such a great team. It feels so good to finally be in a competition with a really good team.”

Three of the last six meetings between these two KSAC powerhouses dating back to the 2017 season had been decided by five points of less and all six meetings were in single digits during that stretch.

Friday night looked like it was going to be more of the same, as the squads both came out hot on offense and were tied 15-15 at the end of the first quarter.

But it was all A-C Valley from that point forward.

The Lady Falcons outscored North Clarion 15-3 in the second quarter – part of a bigger 19-3 run – to take a 30-18 halftime lead and never saw that lead dip under nine points in the second half and never under 11 in the fourth quarter.

“I was disappointed that we set out with a plan,” North Clarion head coach Terry Dreihaup said. “We executed it for eight minutes and then for the next 24 we did not. We decided to do our own game plan instead of the game plan that was designed for the game. That is what I was disappointed with.”

Give A-C Valley credit for getting the She-Wolves out of their game plan.

In the first quarter, North Clarion was using a flex cut to the hoop to score almost at will while taking a 15-11 lead with 1:22 to play in the opening quarter. Of the She-Wolves six baskets in the quarter, four came off assists.

But A-C Valley took away the cutting lanes in the second quarter, and North Clarion’s ball sharing suffered. The She-Wolves had just one second-quarter basket and just three assists on their final nine hoops in the game.

“We just played two-pass,” Eaton said. “It was like a saggy man. We just needed to make sure we were always on help side and make sure we stopped the cut.”

Being on the help side was the key to the Lady Falcons defense, according to Sherman, who saw his team turn over North Clarion 16 times in the game, including 13 in the critical middle two quarters.

“I thought (in the first quarter) we were hugging our girl,” Sherman said. “I said, quit hugging your girl. You can’t play defense standing next to your girl in man-to-man. You have to be off of her on help side. If you are standing there, guarding her standing right beside you are going to get screened. And we were. I think that was a lot of it. We weren’t playing our defense the way we were supposed to play it by being in help side and switching those screens and stuff. Once we settled down and talked about it in a timeout, we were alright, and in the offensive end we kid of too off down there too.”

A-C Valley’s offense was a well-balanced one with three players reaching double digits and five scoring at least seven points.

During the key second-quarter run, the Lady Falcons got four points each from Olivia Boocks, who finished with 12 points six steals and three rebounds, Eaton, who finished with a game-high 15 points and 15 rebounds, and Andre Meals, who finished with nine points and five rebounds.

That offense was fueled by defense, though, according to Eaton.

“(Our defense) gave us a lot of momentum to get the shots (on offense) that we needed,” Eaton, who was named the Hager Paving Player of the Game, said. “It was really important for us to play really good defense. That is the kind of team we are. We play good defense and the shots (on the other end) just fell.”

Watch all of Eaton’s thoughts on the game.

Cami McNany then took over in the third quarter for A-C Valley scoring eight of her 13 points in the third. McNany, who added four assists, three steals and two rebounds, attacked the middle of the North Clarion zone in the third quarter driving the lane for basket after basket.

“The whole purpose of the zone was to stop the penetration in the middle,” Dreihaup said. “We just didn’t execute the game plan.”

Up 42-28 after three quarters, A-C Valley then went 8 of 9 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to keep any thought of a North Clarion comeback at bay.

Abby Gatesman had a double-double for the She-Wolves with 10 points and 11 rebounds while dishing out four assists. Mackenzie Bauer added 10 tallies, Haley Sherman chipped in eight points and seven rebounds and Gabby Carll scored seven points.

The 18-point loss was the worst loss for North Clarion since a 54-32 loss to Kennedy Catholic in the PIAA Class 1A first round in 2016 and the She-Wolves worst regular-season loss since losing 54-19 to Clarion, Feb. 7, 2015. The 18-point margin of victory was the most for A-C Valley over North Clarion in 14 years (57-23, Feb. 10, 2005).

A-C Valley is now 10-3 on the season with North Clarion dropping to 9-3. The game could be a preview of the KSAC Title game, as both teams are in first place in their respective divisions at the halfway point with the Lady Falcons holding a 1-game lead over Keystone and North Clarion a 1-game lead over Clarion.

Both teams return to action next week with North Clarion hosting Redbank Valley Tuesday, Jan. 22, and A-C Valley traveling to Clarion-Limestone the same night.

A-C VALLEY 56, NORTH CLARION 38

Score by Quarters

North Clarion 15 3 10 10 – 38
A-C Valley 15 15 12 14 – 56

NORTH CLARION – 38

Mackenzie Bauer 4 1-2 10, Cierah Manross 0 0-0 0, Gabby Schmader 1 0-0 3, Gabby Carll 2 1-2 7, Abby Gatesman 5 0-1 10, Haley Sherman 3 2-2 8. Totals 15 4-7 38.

A-C VALLEY – 56

Cami McNany 6 0-0 13, Olivia Boocks 4 4-4 12, Kylee Eaton 6 3-4 15, Rachel Cullen 2 2-2 7, Andrea Meals 4 1-3 9, Emily Wetzel 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 10-13 56.

Three-pointers: North Clarion 4 (Carll 2, Bauer, Schmader). A-C Valley 2 (McNany, Cullen).


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