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BVA girls top short-handed Ringgold

| Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Paul Saunders | For The Valley Independent
Ringgold's Bailey Cooper tries to drive past BV Area's Phaedra Dewitt during a game last season.

Heading into Belle Vernon Area's 41-31 win over Ringgold in a Section 4 AAA opener Thursday night, each team's coach could have made excuses.

BVA (4-0, 1-0) played in a track meet a night before, while Ringgold (0-3, 0-1) was missing four injured players as well as head coach Nick Mandich.

However, neither BVA head coach Lisa Fairman nor Ringgold's acting coach Lonie Ward would have anything to do with excuses after the sluggish effort.

“We won this game, but I give Ringgold credit,” Fairman said. “They came in shorthanded and gave it their all.

“Our girls played hard, though, and had to work for this one.”

“I like the fact that we held them to 41 points,” said Ward, who was coaching because Mandich is ill. “We missed a lot of inside shots but we are going to take some positives out of this.

“We have forwards who are getting acclimated to having to play guard and it is helping them become better all-around players.”

The fact that Ringgold had three of its top guards out was evident immediately as the Lady Rams had three turnovers before taking a shot. BVA turned Ringgold over 26 times on the night.

Jessica Slagus continued her monster start to the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds. She scored five of BVA's eight first quarter points.

The contest was tied at 8-8 heading into the second quarter when BVA outscored Ringgold 10-3 to take an 18-11 lead.

The Lady Leps extended their lead to as many as 16 points, 33-17, early in the fourth quarter, before Ringgold went on a 7-2 run to end the game.

Looking best for Ringgold was freshman Bailey Cooper and senior Josie Schmidt who each scored 10 points.

Schmidt led Ringgold with eight rebounds while BVA junior Phaedra DeWitt led all players with four assists.

Fairman looked ahead for BVA.

“It is always important to get off on the right foot in section play,” she said. “We will work hard to continue to improve, but we will take the win.”

Both teams have exhibition contests before returning to section play as Ringgold hosts Laurel Highlands at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, while BVA is at Greensburg Salem Monday.

Bill Hughes is a freelance writer

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