Ciera Toomey and Kylie Lavelle combined for 40 points Thursday, but the NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls ran into the rare team that could solve their defense.
As a result, the Clark girls settled for second place in a 32-team bracket for the second straight time, this time in a national level event.
The Mavs Elite Strong-Durham team from Arkansas shot better than 50 percent from the floor and above 60 percent on 3-pointers on the way to a 68-58 victory in the Stanford Bracket championship game of the PBR Hoops Super 64 National Championship in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Tex.
The Arkansas team was loaded with offensive firepower, including Darianna Littlepage-Buggs from Oklahoma City and Mikaylah Williams from Bossier City, La. Littlepage-Buggs is a 6-foot-2 wing that ESPN ranks as the nation’s 24th-best player in the Class of 2022. Williams is regarded by some recruiting analysts as the top player in Louisiana from the Class of 2023.
Both offenses excelled, particularly early in the game, and the Mavs extended their impressive offensive production a bit longer.
The winners finished 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) on 3-pointers and 23-for-43 (53.5 percent) from the floor.
After 8 ½ minutes, NEPA Elite was outshooting the Mavs from long distance, going 5-for-7 as the teams combined to be 9-for-13 on 3s, accounting for more than half of the 53 points scored in that time.
NEPA Elite made just one of its last 11 attempts.
The early flurry of 3-pointers gave the Mavs a 28-25 lead at that point following four lead changes and four ties.
Toomey scored the next four points on a putback and a 19-footer off a Moriah Murray steal.
That gave Toomey 15 points in the first 9:46 and NEPA Elite its final lead, 29-28.
The Mavs scored the last eight points of the first half and the first two of the second half for the first of their two, game-high, 11-point leads at 46-35.
Toomey had 17 of her 22 points in the first half and Lavelle had 11 of her 18 in the second half.
Lavelle scored on a post move and a wide-open basket underneath to start a streak of nine points to get within, 46-44. Toomey converted a three-point play and Lavelle scored off her own rebound.
NEPA Elite got to within one at 50-49 on Murray’s 3-pointer, the only one the team hit in the final 23:50, with 11:01 to play and again on Murray’s only other basket, a jumper from the right elbow to make it 52-51 with 7:18 remaining.
Toomey was 9-for-16 from the floor and also led the team with nine rebounds and two blocked shots to go along with three assists.
Murray led the team with four assists. Lavelle had two steals.
Toomey and Murray are also high school teammates at Dunmore. Lavelle is from Riverside.
NEPA Elite had held its first four opponents in Texas to fewer than 40 points per game and did not allow any of them to surpass 45 points.
The 4-1 record in Dallas makes the Clark team 19-5 this season and 44-9 in its competitive history, which is less than a full calendar year.
NEPA Elite has one day off, then is in Atlantic City Saturday through Monday trying to defend its Hoop Group Girls Showcase League title.
Girls roundup: A roundup of games from the final day of an event at Spooky Nook. https://nepasportsnation.com/roundup-rini-butler-teams-finish-on-top-of-pools/.
Boys roundup: A roundup of games from the second of three days of the Hoop Group’s Atlantic City Jam Fest. https://nepasportsnation.com/roundup-coyle-team-wins-first-two-pool-games/.