Helping hands

HOWLAND – It’s so easy to look at what Alli Pavlik has done this season and think that the undefeated Lakeview Bulldogs are a one-person team.

That tends to happen when you see boxscores in which scoring totals of 56 and 48 points are next to Pavlik’s name. Those are numbers the area hasn’t seen since Bruce Timko and Nick Cochran were doing their things in the 1980s for the John F. Kennedy and Girard boys’ teams.

Perception, in the case of the Bulldogs, isn’t always reality. Pavlik is undeniably the most important piece of the puzzle for coach Adam Lewis, but Lakeview showed in a 69-46 win over the Howland Tigers Monday that it can balance things out very well.

Pavlik led the way with 24 points, but each of the other seven Bulldogs who played scored, including 13 by sophomore Addison Becker and nine by Calli Schmitt. Marissa Naples pulled down 11 rebounds, and Becker grabbed nine missed shots.

“It’s a great compliment,” Pavlik said of the one-person team label. “Honestly, I like hearing that, but it would be different if I got the ball the whole time and I took it in every single time. They steal the ball and I’m just down there making layups. We’re a team. There’s no ‘I’ in team, and I’m definitely not the I.”

Becker’s play brought a smile to the face of Lewis, who now can’t avoid talk about a perfect season with the Bulldogs sitting at 16-0.

“She’s a workhorse,” Lewis said. “She works hard all the time – in practice and in the games. She just does what she’s told. She works above and beyond.”

Becker had some inspiration thanks to the heroics of her sister Cameron, who made two free throws at the end of regulation time of the junior varsity games to tie the score. The Bulldogs won, 30-28, in overtime as Cameron scored a game-high 14 points.

As Cameron stood at the foul line for her game-tying free throws, Addison was too nervous to watch. She huddled with the rest of her varsity teammates with her back facing the court.

Addison then followed her sister’s cue and made 9-of-10 foul shots.

“I was really nervous for my sister, but I knew she could pull through and make those shots,” Addison said. “Me and my sister are really close, and I think it helped to see her pull through and help her team out. That’s what I tried to do tonight.”

The team concept that Lewis stresses shows up every game in the form of steals and transition baskets. The Tigers (9-8) had 24 turnovers, many of which were steals by the Bulldogs’ aggressive defense.

“Bigger, stronger, faster,” Tigers coach John Diehl said. “I think they wore us down in the first half, especially our post players. You can only pound on someone bigger than you for so long.”

The Tigers kept the score close in the first half, trailing 12-10 after the first quarter and 29-24 at halftime. The Bulldogs began to pull away in the third quarter, stretching the lead to 45-34, and they put up 24 points in the final period.

Howland played a man defense that put Lexi Ross on Pavlik.

“They overplayed Alli,” Lewis said. “They really tried to deny her the ball. I wouldn’t want to have to do that. That’s a tough job.”

Gabby Cvengros scored 12 points for the Tigers. Sara Price added 11.

Lakeview’s march towards what it hopes will be an undefeated season continues Thursday at home against Liberty.

“We’re talking about 22-0,” Pavlik said. “This week we have Howland, Liberty and Pymatuning Valley, and Pymatuning Valley is undefeated. This is the week to determine if we’re a good team or a great team.”