Royals Turn Up The Pressure To Beat Spartans

January 5, 2019
Royals Turn Up The Pressure To Beat Spartans

PLYMOUTH — The frenetic pace that escalated quickly on Friday night clearly played in to the hands of Holy Redeemer. With the way the Royals like to push the ball up the floor, it became difficult for Valley West to settle in defensively.

That was even before the Royals applied the full court pressure.

But once that happened, it became even more troublesome for Valley West to establish any type of rhythm and get into an offensive set after expending so much energy just trying to get the ball up the court.

The fast and furious pace is the way Holy Redeemer likes to play. Eventually, it wore Valley West down.

Julia Andrejko scored a game-high 23 points, and Sam Yencha added 21 as the Royals picked up a 63-53 victory at Valley West. The win improved Redeemer to 6-2 overall and 4-0 in the Wyoming Valley Conference. The Royals also extended their winning streak to three. Valley West dropped to 5-5 overall and 1-3 in the conference. Valley West’s last two losses have been by a combined 12 points.

“We like to get up and down the floor,” said Holy Redeemer coach John Jezorwski. “We really want it at that pace. We want to run, and any chance we get that is how we like to play.”

While the Royals were controlling the tempo, Valley West spent a good portion of the first quarter standing around attempting to figure out a way to attack the Redeemer zone. That enabled the Royals, behind seven points from Yencha, to open up a double digit lead at the end of the first quarter.

Even though Holy Redeemer’s press was not creating turnovers, it was making it difficult for the Spartans to get good looks at the basket. When they were able to get the ball in the half court, they were rushing shots at times, and not particularly good ones.

Eventually, though, it started to click. After falling behind by as many as 14 with 2:28 left until halftime, the Spartans scored six unanswered points to get within nine. But when Cameron Marcinkowski beat the buzzer with a jumper in the lane, the Royals lead expanded to 10.

“The press did bother us,” Valley West coach Gary Ferenchick said. “It took us away from getting good looks. We were able to come back and got it close. We had a couple of lapses near the end of the second quarter and that got the lead back to 10. Holy Redeemer is just a good team. I thought we played hard against a quality opponent.”

Holy Redeemer was able to maintain its double digit lead going into the fourth quarter, but Valley West had one more push left. Behind the shooting of guard Toni Amato, the Spartans began to shoot themselves back into the game. Amato scored 12 of her game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter, all coming on 3-pointers. Valley West was able to get as close as six with 1:59 left in the game, but once again Holy Redeemer had an answer.

Andrejko hit a huge 3-pointer and followed that up with a layup off a turnover. She connected on all four of her free throw attempts in the final 23 seconds to ice the win.

“I like our chemistry right now,” Jezorwski said. “I like the way we moved the ball. We need to get more people involved. I think we are starting to gradually see that. I’m hoping we continue to get better and get everybody on the same page.”

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sbennett@citizensvoice.com; 570 821-2062;

@CVSteveBennett on Twitter.




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