ANDOVER - Take the ball to the hole and see what happens. The Pymatuning Valley girls basketball did just that in a Northeastern Athletic Conference clash with South County rival Grand Valley on Monday. The result was 25 free-throw attempts and a 62-52 Lakers' victory.
"We were aggressive, tried to find driving lanes and tried to get to the basket," PV coach Jeff Compan said. "We have such quick guards and we try to use them to our advantage."
The Grand Valley defenders simply had trouble getting to the right spots at the times.
"We talked about getting to the pass quicker," GV coach Kim Triskett said. "That's been what we've stressed. Working and working to the ball in straight lines. If they move the basketball quickly, we have to get in position quickly.
"That said, you're not going to get there every time."
The Lakers (17-2, 10-2) made 80 percent (20) of those 25 charity tosses.
"Our three big scorers, Geena (Gabriel), Heather (Brant) and Kelsea (Brown) have made 60 to 70 percent for the season," Compan said. "In a close game with the ball in their hands, we don't get any empty trips (from the foul line).
"There's nothing worse than getting to the line and going 0-2. That's like giving points away. We try to get to the line more often than the other team and we try to make them."
The Mustangs (13-8, 4-8) were perfect from the line, but going 8 of 8 just wasn't going to cut it when compared to the Lakers' performance.
"There's nothing else to say," Triskett said. "That's where they beat us. We talked about it at the half. Their first four possession of the second half, we put them on the line. You can't put good teams on the line and that's what we did."
After losing by 20, 56-36, the first time the teams met just a few weeks ago, Grand Valley showed up for "Pink Out 2013" and pushed the Lakers right from the opening tip.
"Our kids played with heart right from the beginning," Triskett said. "First of all, this was quite an atmosphere. The first thing I said to them was to have fun out there and do the things you already know how to do. They played hard.
"There was no pressure. How often do you get to enjoy this (kind of atmosphere)? I told them to enjoy the arena and take it all in."
"We knew they'd come out fired up and they did," Compan said. "Kim had them ready to play. I called a couple of timeouts early to check our intensity level. Grand Valley was pesky. They wouldn't go away.
"They kept hitting 3s and jumpers. Give them credit. They were ready to go tonight."
Gabriel led the Lakers with 21 points and five assists, Brown recorded 19 points and nine rebounds and Brant added 11 points and four boards.
Jessica Vormelker tallied 22 points, Abby Paskey scored 12 and Chris Futty added 10 for the Mustangs.