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Rob Potter | Democrat

Tri-Valley’s Erin Smith (35) grabs a rebound while standing amid S.S. Seward teammates Brittany Sieczek (12), Lindsey Dunn and Allison Morgan (15) in the first quarter of Saturday’s championship game of the Liberty High School New Year’s Basketball Tournament.

T-V Lady Bears defeat Seward to win the Liberty Tournament

By Rob Potter
LIBERTY — January 11, 2011 — Following a virtually even first quarter, the Tri-Valley Lady Bears took charge against the S.S. Seward Lady Spartans in Saturday’s championship game of the 2011 Liberty High School New Year’s Basketball Tournament.
Holding a two-point edge after those first eight minutes of play, T-V outscored Seward 17 to 7 in the second period to take a 28-16 lead at halftime. In the second half, the Lady Bears steadily increased their lead to record a 61-38 victory.
With 2:02 remaining in the first quarter, a Brittany Sieczek jump shot put Seward ahead, 9-8. But T-V’s Erin Smith made a free throw a minute later to even the score.
Kaitlynn Greffrath swished a jump shot with 10 seconds to go to give the Lady Bears an 11-9 advantage.
T-V (6-0) then started the second period with an 8-0 run to take a double-digit lead at 19-9. Jakki Pugh made two baskets to start the run and teammates Greffrath and Mareena DiMilia added a layup and jump shot, respectively.
The Lady Bears stretched their lead to 17 points at 28-11 on a shot by Amanda TerBush with 1:19 remaining until halftime.
But Seward (2-6) responded with a 5-0 run to end the quarter. Gladys Loyas drove down the lane for a basket and Allison Morgan drained a 3-pointer as the Lady Spartans reduced their deficit to 12 points at the intermission.
Pugh swished a trio of 3-point shots in the opening five minutes of the third quarter to help the Lady Bears increase their advantage to 21 points at 43-22 with 3:29 left in the stanza.
Senior point guard Pugh paced T-V with a game-high 26 points. She now needs 119 points to reach the 1,000-point milestone in her brilliant career.
DiMilia finished the game with 10 points and Greffrath added eight points.
“Defensively, we played very well,” T-V Coach John Tenbus said. “Defense is our strength, our offense flows from it.”
Tenbus praised Pugh, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“She played very well,” Tenbus said. “She really keyed our offense tonight.”
Tenbus also took note of Seward’s performance.
“Seward deserves credit, they gave a nice effort throughout the game,” he said. “That says a lot about [Coach] Joe [DiMattina] and his players.”
Lindsey Dunn and Loyas scored 18 points and 11 points, respectively, for the Lady Spartans.
“Tri-Valley has a great team,” Seward Coach Joe DiMattina said. “They played outstanding defense for the entire game.”
DiMattina lauded his players as well.
“We came out and played well in the third quarter,” he said. “And we did a nice job in the first quarter when we stayed right with them.”
Note: In the tournament’s consolation game, Livingston Manor defeated Liberty, 44-26.
Joining Pugh on the All-Tournament Team were Marissa Diescher (Livingston Manor), Lindsey Dunn (Seward), Paige LaPolt (Liberty) and Erin Smith (T-V).

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