Quaker Valley girls reflecting on successful season
While Quaker Valley girls basketball coach Jim Dudas called his team's 34-25 loss to Hampton in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs discouraging, he could not say the same about his its season.
“This is my third year at Quaker Valley and the girls accomplished a great deal,” Dudas said. “We won our first section title last year and then they bumped us from Class AA to Class AAA. We weren't projected to do much and we finished second in our section. And we had a one-point game late against the No. 5 seeded team, who had an undefeated section record.
“There are no complaints from me about this season.”
The Quakers stayed with Hampton during their first-round game, trailing only 6-4 after the first quarter. Quaker Valley hit a snag in the second quarter and was held scoreless, as Hampton built a nine-point lead.
“Holding them to only 13 points in the first half was great for us,” Dudas said. “The problem was they held us to four.”
The Quakers were able to rally in the third quarter as they increased the defensive pressure, limiting any easy Hampton baskets and recording four steals that led to points.
The increase in defensive energy led to Quaker Valley pulling with one with 46 seconds left in the third quarter.
“We wanted to go into the half without foul trouble,” Dudas said. “We were able to come out of the half and be more aggressive with our trapping. From a defensive perspective, the game plan went as designed.”
But the Talbots proved to be too much, outscoring Quaker Valley, 12-6, in the final quarter.
Senior Sierra Perlik led the Quakers with 13 points. Freshman Moriah Wigley added six.
Quaker Valley (13-10) entered the postseason as the second-place team from Section 5-AA. Dudas said the main difference between Class AAA and AA was the teams' depth from top to bottom.
“The main difference between AAA and AA is you tend to get a team or two where you get a little bit of a breather,” Dudas said. “But in AAA, every team in the section needs a lot of preparation. Montour was not good record-wise but competed hard every game and was just having a little down year. It was a grind in section play.”
The first season in Class AAA saw Quaker Valley used a group of younger athletes to find success. The Quakers used two sophomores in Kayla Foster and Cassidy Batina, who both were intricate parts of the team's success. Wigley gained a wealth of experience starting and Dudas even called her the team's most tenacious defensive player.
“I know it is cliche, but late in the season she was not playing like a freshman,” Dudas said. “She is a girl who isn't intimidated.”
Guard Heather Peduzzi — the team's only junior — gave QV key minutes and will return next season with three years of experience.
While the Quakers return plenty of talent for next season, Dudas will have a hard time replacing the leadership of seniors Perlik and Rachel Smith. The duo gave Quaker Valley a spark throughout the season and will leave a void moving forward.
“I don't even know how we are going to replace them,” Dudas said. “They are two of the greatest young ladies I have coached. And when you look at every statistical category, from rebounds to assist to scoring, they are the leaders. It is going to be really hard to replace them.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.