Quaker Valley girls earn split at Riverside Tournament
They're getting better.
That applies to the play of the Quaker Valley girls basketball team on the court as well as the general health of the team, according to first-year head coach Jill Brumbaugh.
The Quakers (3-5) split a pair of games in a holiday tournament at Riverside High School last weekend despite several key players missing practice and game action with the flu.
“We've been calling it the Quaker Valley bug,” said Brumbaugh, who was battling illness herself over the weekend. “We need to get rid of it.”
After dropping a 69-42 decision to Hollidaysburg last Friday in the first game of the Riverside tournament, Quaker Valley bounced back to register a 44-34 win over the host Panthers on Saturday.
“Hollidaysburg is a very good team,” Brumbaugh said. “We got down early, but we were able to come back by getting the ball inside.
“That was promising.”
Freshman Alana Davidson paced Quaker Valley with 17 points against Hollidaysburg.
Against Riverside, improved defensive play was the catalyst for the Quakers' 10-point victory.
“Riverside was a nice win for us,” Brumbaugh said. “We really picked up the defense.”
As the season progresses, Brumbaugh would like to see her team increase its scoring output while continuing to lock down the opposition on the defensive end of the floor.
“We need to get our scoring up a little bit,” Brumbaugh said. “If we can get our scoring into the 50s and keep teams in the 30s, we'll start winning more games.”
Quaker Valley was able to do just that in its lone section victory of the season so far, a 57-38 win at Montour on Dec. 12. The Quakers entered this week with a 1-2 record in Section 5-AAA, which was good for fifth place.
Back-to-back losses to Trinity and South Park followed the Montour win, but Quaker Valley was far from full strength in those games thanks to the flu that began making its rounds through the team.
“It's hard to develop consistency when you can't practice together,” Brumbaugh said. “We've played well together when everyone's been healthy.”
The “backbone” of the team, according to Brumbaugh, has been the consistent play of junior guards Karen Pugh and Kayla Foster. The duo combined for 25 of the team's 44 points in the Riverside game.
Sophomore Moriah Wigley has also been logging key minutes in the Quaker Valley backcourt and has proven herself as a valuable asset — particularly on defense.
“She is a defensive machine,” Brumbaugh said of Wigley. “She is a shutdown player on defense for us.”
Senior forwards Mary Torrence and M.G. Beason are rounding back into form after being sidelined with the “bug” recently.
Torrence was out for nearly a week but came back to grab some key rebounds against Riverside.
“When you can't run or do anything for five days, it weakens you,” Brumbaugh said. “She's a tough kid.”
Beason didn't dress for the Hollidaysburg game last Friday.
The Quakers get back to Section 5-AAA competition on Thursday, at home against South Fayette.
“There's a lot we still have to work on, but we're moving in the right direction,” Brumbaugh said. “We just need to stay healthy and keep moving forward.”
Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.