By Greg gulas
The Struthers High School girls’ basketball team is a very unselfish group.
There are times though that coach John Grandy wishes they were just downright selfish.
Ashley Hefferon scored 21 points and Ashleigh Ryan led three other players in double figures with 17 as the Wildcats defeated Lakeview, 70-52 in an All-American Conference, intra-league contest Monday at the Struthers Field House.
McKenna Shives and Brittaney Zupko added 11 and 10 points respectively, marking the third straight game that at least three Wildcats players have notched double-digit scoring outputs.
“I told our girls prior to the game to focus on our defense, however, right from the start it became pretty clear that this was going to be more of an offensive show,” Grandy said. “We have very unselfish girls; a group that is always willing to make the extra pass and it sometimes upsets me because they pass the ball entirely too much. Overall, I’m blessed to have such a good group of players because they all work hard and always play together.
Struthers (3-0) reeled off 18 of the game’s first 20 points, keyed by Hefferon’s six tallies, as the Wildcats raced to a 20-9 lead just eight minutes into the contest.
Allie Pavlik, who had a game-high 26 points, then scored nine of Lakeview’s 12 points in the second frame as the Bulldogs pulled to within 32-21 at the intermission.
Ryan’s nine points and another seven by Shives helped Struthers outscore the Bulldogs in the third stanza, 25-14, increasing their lead to 57-35 with one period remaining.
“We try not to be selfish simply because when you give the ball up, it usually finds it way right back to you,” Hefferon said.
Pavlik’s nine points in the final frame helped Lakeview (1-3) to a 17-point quarter, but it was too little, too late as they fell for the second time in three road outings.
The Wildcats were 31 of 66 from the field while forcing 21 Lakeview turnovers. The Bulldogs outrebounded Struthers, 46-41, with Calli Schmitt hauling in a game-high 13 caroms.
“Struthers is an excellent team with plenty of history; a team that knows how to and is used to winning. All of our girls played hard and Allie [Pavlik] had a nice game, however, we couldn’t get the ball to drop tonight when we needed it most,” Lakeview coach Adam Lewis said.
This is the 40th season of Wildcats basketball and Monday’s win against the Bulldogs marked the 547th overall victory for the program.
“It’s not about how many overall wins we have, instead it’s about taking each and every game one at a time and improving along the way,” Ryan said.