PLEASANT VALLEY — Lack of depth has been an issue for the Pleasant Valley girls all year long.
Head coach Brad Hood’s game plan didn’t change much from game to game because it really couldn’t, and heading into Monday’s Class 3A sub-regional contest against visiting Sylvania the plan remained unchanged.
Seven seconds into the first quarter, on the opening possession, the plan went out the window.
Freshman starting guard Macey Roper injured her left knee on a play away from the ball. Roper stayed on the floor for five minutes before she was helped off the court in obvious pain. She never returned.
Roper’s departure put the Raiders at a severe disadvantage in manpower and Sylvania eventually defeated Pleasant Valley 52-40
“We usually rotate Macey, Marlie (Wright) and Gracie (Hood),” Hood said later. “We rotate the guards. With Macey being out, we had no guards to rotate in.”
Wright, Gracie Hood, point guard Rylee Haynes, forward Emma Hood and post Karmyn Sparks became the iron five. None of the five left the game until Sparks picked up her third personal foul with 2:08 to play before halftime and Erin Rose replaced her.
The Raiders hung around longer than anyone had a reason to expect them to still be in the game. They led 7-6 after one quarter and the score was 18-18 at halftime.
“We missed too many opportunities in the first half,” Brad Hood said. “Honestly, even with the foul trouble, I felt like we should have been up 10. Think of the layups and free throws alone. I know (Sylvania) missed some, but when you’re playing a game like that in your gym you can’t miss those.”
Pleasant Valley continued to play gamely in the second half. There were nine lead changes in the first five minutes of the third quarter. With the Rams ahead 30-28, Sylvania called a timeout and went to a full-court press. Emma Hood ran down a long pass over the press and scored on a layup with 2:55 left in the third, tying the score 30-30. When the third period ended, the Raiders trailed 38-30. Sylvania’s Makayla Bullock scored six of her team’s eight points in the run.
“It went to 38-30 just like that,” Hood said, snapping his finger, “and it was just fatigue setting in.”
Bullock started the fourth quarter the way she ended the third — two steals and two layups for a 42-30 lead. Emma Hood drove the lane twice for baskets that got the Raiders within 10, first at 42-32 with 6:37 to play and again at 44-34 at the 5:36 mark. Wright’s 3-point bucket at 1:41 made it 47-37 and a trey by Gracie Hood cut Sylvania’s lead to 47-40 with 1:09 left but that was as close as the Raiders could get.
Emma Hood’s 14 points led Pleasant Valley (19-13). Wright and Gracie Hood each scored nine points on three 3-pointers. Haynes scored four points, Sparks two and Rose two.
Bullock had two points at halftime then tallied eight points in the third quarter and nine in the fourth. Long-range threat Kenadie Lee was scoreless in the first half but netted three treys in the second half and ended with 11 points.