Beaten Bedford looking for team chemistry

BEDFORD — Forest Hills put Bedford in a hole early with crisp outside shooting and then ran past the Lady Bison in transition on its way to a 56-33 victory Wednesday that left Bedford coach Mark Dillow looking for answers.

“We’re just not playing together as a team,” Dillow said. “We’re looking for some chemistry right now. We don’t have any leadership. We’re looking for someone to be a leader on the floor. Right now, we’re just not playing very good as a team, even though we have the athletes.”

Bedford managed just 10 points in the first half and trailed by 24 points in a rematch of the last three District 6 Class 4A championship games. Amber Thomas and Lindsay Shuke, who recently went over the 1,000 career points mark, led the Lady Bison with eight points. Shuke, however, missed most of the game with foul trouble.

“There’s times we come out and look really good,” Dillow said. “Then we get impatient and panic. It’s almost like they think there’s a 15-second clock up there and you have to get shots off. They just need to wait, let it work and let it happen.”

Jenna Brown made a 3-pointer to bring Bedford within three points midway through the first quarter, but the Lady Rangers scored the final nine points to take a 12-point lead into the second period.

Jordyn Smith (17), Kayla Stohon (14), Victoria Koeck (11) and Maddie Cecere (10) all scored in double digits for Forest Hills.

“Everything they did, we knew about,” Dillow said. “Lobs inside, we’re supposed to help. We didn’t help. We’re supposed to switch hard on screens, but sometimes we didn’t. They were also hitting everything, but we know that’s how they play.”

Dillow said he has nine players on his team who were part of Bedford’s state championship soccer team, and he expected big things from the group.

“I thought at the beginning of the year that this would be one of my best teams,” Dillow said. “It just hasn’t come together. We have to work on that.”

If the playoffs began today, Bedford would likely have to play Forest Hills in the first round, something Dillow would like to avoid as he searches for leadership.

“This is a different sport,” Dillow said. “Basketball is a whole different sport (than soccer). Just because you’re good at one sport, doesn’t mean you’re good at another sport. The problem is that we’re looking for chemistry and finding the right girls together. That’s what is missing with us right now.”

Fourteen of the Lady Rangers’ 17 2-point field goals were layups.

“We don’t have a legitimate post player,” Dillow said. “We’re basically playing with five guards. Last year, we had Jaden Fuller. She could jump out of a building. We don’t have that this year. So trying to defend the post is hard when my tallest girl is 5-foot-9 inches. So we have to do everything right. We have to box out and close out.”

The Lady Bison won the junior varsity game, 42-30, handing the Lady Rangers’ JV team its first loss in two years. That game caught the eye of Forest Hills coach Carol Cecere.

“I think they are very deep,” Cecere said. “They had young girls coming in from the junior varsity game that played very well. They haven’t quite peaked yet, but I’m hoping we haven’t either. Hopefully, we’re both playing our best the next time we play.”

Cecere, whose team improved to 12-1 and remained unbeaten in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference, also offered her thoughts on the new format of the league that now has no sections and a four-team playoff.

“Before you always knew where you stood,” Cecere said. “You were very familiar with your section and those teams. Now, since there’s no sections and it’s sort of all drawn out of a hat, sometimes you might play a team that only has two or three wins twice. That’s not good to prepare you for the playoffs.

“But I do like that they are taking four into the (LHAC) playoffs. I’d hope in the future, they take even more and make it into a true bracket.”

FOREST HILLS (56): Stigers 1 2-2 4, Koeck 4 3-5 11, Stohon 6 2-3 14, Cecere 3 2-3 10, J. Smith 7 1-2 17, J. Smith 0 0-0 0, Croyle 0 0-0 0, Stains 0 0-0 0, Burda 0 0-0 0, Debias 0 0-0 0, Zajdel 0 0-0 0, Vitez 0 0-0 0. Totals — 21 10-15 56.

BEDFORD (33): Thomas 3 2-4 8, L. Shuke 3 1-1 8, Je. Brown 2 1-2 6, Downs 1 0-0 2, Mowry 0 0-0 0, J. Shuke 1 0-0 2, Davidson 0 0-0 0, Lippincott 1 0-0 2, Jo. Brown 1 0-0 2, Rubenhagen 0 1-2 1, Kinzer 1 0-0 2. Totals — 13 5-9 33.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Forest Hills 18 16 11 11 — 56

Bedford 6 4 10 13 — 33

3-point goals: Forest Hills 4 (Cecere 2, Smith 2); Bedford 2 (L. Shuke, Je. Brown).

Records: Forest Hills (12-1); Bedford (5-7).

Officials: Dave Jodon, Rod Jarvis, Sam Zambanini.

JV: Bedford, 42-30. High scorers–Katinka Rubenhagen, B, 11; Paige Debias/Liz Zajdel, FH, 8 each.

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