Quaker Valley's 6-foot forwards providing key mismatches in the paint
The Quaker Valley girls basketball team is going to new heights during the 2013-14 season — especially when it comes to its post players.
The Quakers have a trio of players pushing the 6-foot mark in senior forwards Mary Torrence and Mary Grace Beason and freshman Alana Davidson, and all are providing solid play in the paint.
“I really like that they are all very different players and they are pretty good players as well,” Quaker Valley coach Jill Brumbaugh said. “They play well together and are good teammates.”
Not only has having players that create a mismatch against many opponents helped the Quakers find success, but it has allowed them to have a constant presence around the basket.
“Having the height we do really gives us an advantage,” Torrence said. “Especially since there is more than one player who is tall. We can take a break and not worry because another can go in. It works because then the guards don't have to work underneath.”
Working with the first-year Quakers coaching staff, the post players have continued to improve while mastering the system instilled by Brumbaugh.
“We have worked a lot on boxing out and getting rebounds,” Davidson said. “We have also been working on finishing at the rim during practice.”
The team as a whole has focused on its defense with the hope it would lead to more opportunities on offense. The plan was a success during last week's 64-42 win over Allderdice.
After building a 15-9 lead in the first quarter, the Quakers outscored the Dragons, 23-13, in the second. In the third quarter, Quaker Valley extended its lead to 50-34 thanks in part to nine points from Davidson.
“We have been working on our defense,” Brumbaugh said. “That's what it came down to. Our defense generates our offense.”
The Quakers were led by guards Karen Pugh with 25 points and Kayla Foster with 16. Knowing the team has the guards to hit the outside shot takes pressure off of the post players.
“We know if we can't get to the basket we can kick it out to them and they'll make a 3-pointer,” Beason said. “It is a good feeling having them on the team. We know they are consistent with their shooting.”
And as the guards have improved, so have the post players.
“We have been working on the guards throwing in to the post,” Brumbaugh said. “Since our guards are getting better, they are starting to see inside.”
The Quakers enter the final run through Section 5-AAA in fifth place with a 1-3 record — once spot out of the top four that move onto the WPIAL postseason. The team trails Moon, Trinity and South Fayette by two games in the battle for a playoff berth.
While QV wants to take things one game at a time, the players know upcoming games against Keystone Oaks, Montour and South Fayette — a rematch of a 44-43 loss on Jan. 2 — are must-wins to qualify for the postseason.
“We're ready,” Torrence said. “We have been really picking it up in practice and know what to expect from the section. We're prepared to win some games.”
The Quakers return to the court Thursday against Montour for a 7:30 p.m. start.