NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Moniteau Warriors hung tight with the Redbank Valley Bulldogs through the first three quarters and pulled away in the fourth quarter a 55-47 victory in the opening round of the Class AAA Playoffs.
The Bulldogs held narrow leads after the first two quarters, with neither team able to pull away. Moniteau began to assert themselves in the back half of the contest, using their tough interior defense and timely scoring to pull ahead after the third quarter. The Warriors were strong down the stretch, fending off a late Redbank Valley run to hold the victory.
Aslyn Pry led Moniteau with 23 points, while Abbey Jewart connected on four threes to score 12 points for the Warriors. Madison Foringer and Alivia Huffman scored 14 points apiece for Redbank Valley.
The opening period was fairly balanced, with Pry scoring four quick points on two tough layups. Both sides looked to score down low early, but both defenses answered the call, with Pry, Fallen, and Foringer securing blocks. Moniteau had an early 5-4 lead with 2:30 to go in the quarter. Both offenses kicked things up a gear in the latter half of the period, with Moniteau continuing their skill down low while Redbank Valley made the most of their charity stripe opportunities. A late three from Huffman gave the Bulldogs a 12-9 lead after the first quarter.
Moniteau scored the first two buckets of the second quarter to overturn the deficit and take a four-point lead, but Redbank quickly struck back, with Huffman and Foringer converting down low to tie the game. A minute into the quarter, things started moving at a frantic pace, with both sides running the floor and continuing to exchange buckets both down low and beyond the arc. Jewart started heating up from distance, hitting two threes to give the Warriors a 26-24 lead with 2:00 to go in the quarter. The teams exchanged buckets again, with Redbank’s Claire Clouse striking last to give the Bulldogs a 29-28 halftime advantage.
The Bulldogs went on a mini-run to begin the second half, jumping out to a five-point lead. The Warriors quickly reeled in Redbank Valley, scoring six consecutive points to retake the lead. The first half’s quick scoring pace continued into the second, as both sides continued to shoot well from the floor. Another made three from Jewart gave Moniteau a four-point lead with 3:30 remaining in the third. The scoring rush came to a screeching halt late in the quarter, with the next points coming via an Emma Huffman jumper with 45 seconds to go in the period. Moniteau’s Catherine Kelly hit an open shot just before time expired to restore Moniteau’s four-point 43-39 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Pry Hits the Layup with a Foul
Moniteau started off the fourth quarter hot, with two breakaway layup opportunities and a Pry layup, giving the Warriors an eight-point lead, their biggest of the evening. Both teams entered the one-and-one early in the quarter, but neither team converted on their first chance at the line. Redbank Valley was forced to continue fouling with 3:30 remaining, as Moniteau was content to simply possess the ball. The Warriors went 1-for-4 in their first three trips to the line but held firm on defense to keep a seven-point advantage with 2:45 to go.
Caylen Rearick then connected on a steal and score, cutting Moniteau’s advantage to four with 2:00 left to play. After a defensive stop, the Bulldogs had a chance to make it a one-possession game, but Huffman’s layup was off the mark. On the Warriors’ next possession, Pry hit a clutch layup and then secured a steal on defense, starting a fast break attack that Kelly finished off. Two more made free throws by Pry secured the result, with the Warriors clinching a 55-47 win.
A Post-Game Interview With Abbey Jewart
Moniteau advances to the Class AAA Finals, where they will face Punxsutawney on Friday.