By Summer Patsko
The Valley Forge girls basketball team improved to 3-1 with a 49-47 non-conference win at Cuyahoga Heights.
Lameice El-Madhoun scored 24 points, Summer Patsko had 10, Jada Benjamin had 7.
The Patriots had an explosive first quarter out scoring Heights 12-2. The Patriots never trailed the entire game, but had trouble pulling away for good.
Jurnee Amill scored off a pass form Benjamin to push the Patriots lead to 31-27 at the end of the third.
In the fourth the Patriots used a 3-pointer and two free throws to open up a seven-point lead. Heights cut the lead to 38-37, but a drive by Benjamin and back-to-back 3-pointers by El-Madhoun pushed the lead to 43-37 with two minutes left.
“ (Benjamin and El-Madhoun) definitely keep us in the game at all times. Given that they’re very seasoned players, and senior leaders.” said coach Brittney Matushek. “Lameice set a couple big shots in the fourth quarter and Jada stayed in control of the game to help us keep the lead.”
The Patriots led 48-39 with 1:10 to play after a layup from Patsko. Cuyahoga Heights fought back to trail 48-44 with 20 seconds left to play.
A free throw by El-Madhoun and a last -second 3-pointer by Heights closed out the game.
“The girls remained confident and focused throughout the whole game. There was some mental lapses but they set those behind themselves as the game moved on,” said Matushek “We were able to close out some big plays, hit some big shots and fluster Heights most of the game, which led to a lot of turnovers.”
Patsko’s 10-points were her career-high on varsity. She also drew a defensive assignment against Heights’ best post player, resulting in several blocked shots and steals.
“I definitely think Summer started off aggressive had some big steals that got her going on defense, a lot of times which is her best offense,” said Matushek. “She was confident in the halfcourt as well. Her defense on one of their best players held them to only two points. Overall, on both ends of the floor she was a standout and one of the big reasons why we won that game.”
The JV girls also won, 35-16. Captain Miranda Smith had a huge impact on the game with several blocks, rebounds and scoring.
The Patriots’ next game is on the Wednesday, Jan. 6 at home against Lakewood