By Brandon Judeh
Most people would not take kindly to being called a thief, but Lakeview’s Allie Pavlik committed plenty of thefts Thursday against Newton Falls.
The junior picked the Tigers’ pockets nine times and stole their chance at an All-American Conference National Division crown as the Bulldogs came away with a 53-50 victory and their second consecutive league championship.
“This feels great,” exclaimed Pavlik as she celebrated with family and friends.
Pavlik then mentioned how scary and nerve-racking the final minute of the game was.
“I was worried, because they kept fouling us and I knew that whether I made it or missed it they would have one last chance.”
And one last chance Newton Falls did have.
With 10 seconds remaining, the Tigers looked to tie the game, but forward Lizzy Konitsney stole the ball and threw it ahead to Pavlik for the game-clinching layup.
“They were coming down the court and I just saw the ball and grabbed it away from their player and found Allie [Pavlik],” Konitsney said.
It was an appropriate ending to a defensive clinic.
“Our defense is what won us the game,” Pavlik said. “Newton Falls is a good team, but we were able to get at them when they were going in for layups and bringing the ball up the court. The biggest defensive play of the game though was Lizzy’s steal, it sealed the deal for us.”
A sloppy first quarter by the Bulldogs (13-3) saw the Tigers (16-3, 8-2) take a three-point lead, thanks in large part to Brooke Barreca grabbing eight of her game-high 14 rebounds in the quarter.
The Bulldogs would “wakeup” in the second quarter after Coach Adam Lewis told his girls to pick their game up.
“Generally we are a little slow starting out the game, it usually takes us a quarter to wake up, Coach Lewis told us we needed to pick it up and stop being lazy,” Abby Pavlik said.
The Bulldogs clamped down on the Tigers, holding them to only two points in the third period, taking what looked like a commanding 10-point lead into the fourth.
“I don’t know what happened in the third quarter, defensively I thought we played pretty good in the third, but we just weren’t getting any shots to fall,” Newton Falls head coach Mark Baker said.
Allie Pavlik led the way for the Bulldogs with 26 points and six boards. Calli Schmitt chipped in with seven despite being in foul trouble most of the night.
For the Tigers, Barreca scored 17 and grabbed 14 rebounds.