JACKSON TWP — Closing the deal in key section games has been a stumbling block for the Seneca Valley girls basketball team the last few years, but the Raiders may finally be turning the corner.
Less than a week after defeating Butler, Seneca carried a four-point lead into the fourth quarter Monday against Pine-Richland. In the final eight minutes, the Raiders made nine-of-12 free throws, were the beneficiaries of eight turnovers by the Rams and came away from William Paul Gymnasium with a 47-38 win.
Seneca Valley (6-9, 4-4) now holds sole possession of third place in Section 3-AAAA.
“This was our fourth game in seven days and I was really worried about our legs,” said SV coach Rob Lombardo. “So in practice, we've been focused more on the basics like free throw shooting instead of getting physical.”
Free throws played a huge role down the stretch Monday.
With 1:54 left in the game, Raiders' junior guard Meghan Hess completed a conventional three-point play, increasing her team's edge to 41-36. Then in the final minute, Abbie Trzeciak drained four free throws to help ice the game.
“Our goal every night is to make 70 percent of our free throws,” said Lombardo, who watched his players sink 71.4 percent (15-of-21) against the Rams. “We tell the girls that if they can do that, we are going to win a lot of close games.
The Rams (10-6, 3-5) committed just six turnovers in the first half, but had 15 miscues in the third and fourth quarters combined.
SV, which defeated the Rams on the latter's floor 50-46 in mid-December, took advantage of its height once again.
Two front-court players, Melissa Carter (14 points) and Trzeciak (12), combined to score 26 points. Carter had a game-high 15 rebounds.