Sunday, July 27, 2014

Comets get defensive in victory

March 16. 2013 11:03PM
TOM FOX, For The Times Leader

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PLYMOUTH – The defense was drawn up quickly.

One second prior to the Pocono Mountain contest, Crestwood head coach Isiah Walker admits.

Two games in, the quick scheme is paying its dividends.

The Comets forced 11 turnovers in the first quarter alone, jumped out to a 12-0 lead and never looked back en route to a 57-48 win over Wyoming Valley West in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division I girls basketball game.

Rebecca Rutkowski had the hot hand for Crestwood (7-2 Div. I, 11-6 overall), finishing four blocks shy of a triple-double. She tallied a game-high 30 points, pulled down 12 boards and blocked six shots.

We practiced the zone, and I knew that I would be able to find some gaps, she said. Valley West is always a big game for me. I love to come here. This game always means so much to me.

It's an in-your-face approach on defense. Traps and double teams at any spot on the court. Hands extended deep into passing lanes. If a turnover happens, push the ball in transition.

Maury (Cronauer) is our smallest player and she is in the middle of our 1-3-1, Walker said. Any coach that sees that is going to try and attack us there. We know that, and so does she. Because of her speed, she forces defenses to change up some. They only have a second to react before she makes a difference with the steals.

The Comets executed to perfection in the opening quarter. Turnovers at half-court led to several breakaway buckets by guard Gabby Lutz, while the Spartans had more turnovers than shots attempted.

It wasn't until Megan Kane's old-fashioned three-point play that Valley West had its opening points. Unfortunately, it was with two minutes left in the first quarter, and the scoreboard already showing a 12-point deficit.

Valley West (5-4, 10-7) finished with 25 turnovers.

I thought we communicated pretty well on defense, and I thought we did a nice job of keeping our hands out to create that pressure, Rutkowski said.

Rutkowski had herself a night.

She combined all of her skills. In addition to converting several layups, she showed the ability to take defenders off the dribble and utilized a nice turn-around jumper in the paint.

Taking advantage of a soft spot in the Valley West zone, normally around the foul line, she was able to pull up for several uncontested jumpers.

We are still working on her blocks a little because she is still getting in foul trouble, Walker said. She is really controlling the glass.

Crestwood led by 11 at halftime, and 14 after three quarters. The Spartans got as close as six, 51-45, late in the fourth before a layup by Carina Mazzoni and a jumper by Rutkowski pushed it back to double digits.

Kane and Olivia Hoffman each had 15 points for Valley West, while Hoffman pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds.

CRESTWOOD (57): Carina Mazzoni 4 0-0 11, Gaby Lutz 4 0-0 8, Rebecca Rutkowski 14 2-3 30, Taryn Wojnar 1 0-0 2, Maddy Ritsick 1 4-6 6. Totals 24 6-9 57.

WYOMING VALLEY WEST (48): Tara Judge 2 0-0 4, Cassie Smicherko 3 0-0 7, Emily Tyler 0 0-1 0, Cheyenne Reese 1 1-2 3, Megan Kane 6 3-3 15, Savannah Piazza 1 2-2 4, Olivia Hoffman 5 5-9 15. Totals 18 11-17 48.

Wyoming Valley West5121120—48

3-Point Field Goals— CR 3 (Mazzoni 3); WVW 1 (Smicherko)

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