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Metea Valley holds off East Aurora

01/12/2013, 10:02pm CST
By Tom Strong

Metea Valley built a 21-point lead in the first half and held on for a 56-49 victory over East Aurora on Saturday.

When visiting Metea Valley ran to a 21-point lead near the end of the first half against East Aurora on Saturday, some of the fans may have considered leaving early.

They would have been disappointed as East’s Tyshee Towner (game-high 23 points) was the leader of a mighty comeback to get her team within three points in the fourth quarter.

But the Mustangs (16-4, 6-2) were calm enough to drop in 9-of-10 free throws in the final stanza to prevail, 56-49.

Both teams were turnover-prone in the first half as each committed 15, but Metea used its more effectively. From the middle of the first quarter until two minutes remained in the half, the Mustangs outscored East 25-3, many coming on layups and short shots created by their defense. 

Bria Walker (12 points) and Nia Flowers (14 points) were keys during Metea’s streak.

“We played a 1-3-1 trap, and Nia and I usually trap first,” Walker said. “We got a lot of steals off of that.”

“We thought if we put pressure on them, they would turn the ball over,” Flowers added. “But we did the same thing.  So we tried to keep composure to get a good lead.”

The Mustangs kept East without a score from the field for over 10 minutes during its drought, but the Cats’ poor shooting and shot selection contributed and they trailed 31-18 at the half.

The ragged third quarter belonged to East as Towner began to will her team back. Twice she broke Metea’s pressure to score layups, and twice Desiree Rhodes (13 points) scored from short range on assists by Towner and Brandi McAlister as the Mustangs had seven more turnovers. 

Amanda Villa added a trey, and Daisy Sanchez laid another in after a turnover to draw East to a deficit of only seven (45-38) after three.

“When I came back in the game (in the second quarter) I wanted to pump my team up,” Towner said. “If they see me going hard, then they all can go hard. We all picked it up at the same time. But we should have done it from the beginning.”

When Towner scored yet again off a turnover early in the fourth, Metea’s lead had shrunk to just three at 45-42. Villa attempted a three-pointer for the tie at the 6:30 mark, but missed, and East (9-10, 4-5) would not get any closer.

Lori Obendorf (team-high 16 points) played steadily by scoring six points from the paint in the third period and making 5-of-6 free throws in the fourth. Flowers and Walker each canned two from the line, and Flowers also had a key basket to stop East’s comeback. Jenny Voytell’s ballhandling also helped to steady the Mustangs.

“I wanted to do a better job at the line than I did yesterday,” Obendorf said. “East has improved a lot since we last played them, and they are very physical which is not our kind of game. We have to learn to like it, because teams see that and put pressure on us. Thankfully we were able to hold on.”

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