Tri-Valley rolls to win at Lourdes

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COAL TOWNSHIP - Wow. Holy cow. Sweet mercy.

None of these are typically usable as a lead, to use newspaper jargon.

All of these are appropriate reactions after watching Tri-Valley play. If you watch the No. 1 Class A team in the state and not utter just one wow, you're most likely the titular character in a Weekend at Bernie's remake.

Just how impressive are the Dawgs?

If Lourdes had hoped to beat Tri-Valley, it would have needed a 20-point head start and Flubber on its shoes. Without either, the Red Raiders lost the February 4 Schuylkill League Division II game 73-39, an inauspicious beginning to the week and the end of their hopes to earn a place in the Schuylkill League playoffs.

Tri-Valley seemingly does everything well. It can press and force 12 turnovers in a quarter. The Dawgs' passes are quick and crisp and they rebound without effort. Hands are always up and swiping, and there is no dropoff with substitutes. And as teams are worried, and justifiably so, about guard Juli Weber and 6-foot, 5-inch center Tara Nahodil, someone like Taylor Troutman sneaks in and puts up 22 points and grabs nine rebounds.

For a team like Lourdes, which bases its offense on its defense, the results were 40 points of difference at one point.

Lourdes had three games left to push this game into the past and challenge itself to close the season on a high note after its ninth straight loss to Tri-Valley.

"I have to emphasize the positive," Lourdes head coach Mike Klembara said.

If he's looking at the tape from February 4, that might be hard to find.

Starting at the top, Nahodil added 22 points and 13 rebounds. When Lourdes' defenders tried to deny her an inlet pass from the outside, Kylie Spickler was able to dump a pass or two down the lane for an easy two points. When Lourdes' players planted inside, Nahodil got the ball, pivoted and eased the ball off the glass and into the net.

"We have no answer for anyone who's 6-5, and I don't know that anyone does," Klembara said. "She did a good job of sealing."

Troutman and Nahodil combined for 22 of the Dawgs' 28 first-quarter points.

Lourdes didn't help itself out with 12 turnovers in the first quarter, and if not for two 3-pointers by Sarah Getchey, the Red Raiders' deficit would have been even more drastic.

"We had 16 turnovers at half," Klembara said. "We were 11 for 41, so we didn't shoot the ball well. We shot three foul shots and they were 17 of 20 for the game."

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