By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
HERSHEY – A quarter-by-quarter look at how Dunmore defeated River Valley, 42-30, Thursday night for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 3A girls basketball title:
Tristan Canavan scored inside baskets for Dunmore off Sophia Talutto and Ciera Toomey feeds in the first 1:25 for 2-0 and 4-2 Dunmore leads.
River Valley forced the only ties at 2-2 and 4-4, getting the last tie when Abby Pynos gave the team its only putback of the night.
Toomey took a Canavan pass while cutting through the lane to put Dunmore ahead for good, 6-4, with 3:52 left.
Amanda Dempsey made a steal on the wing in front of her bench and went nearly 70 feet in about 4 seconds to beat the buzzer with a layup for an 11-6 lead.
Neither team scored for the first two minutes.
Ava Persichetti did all the scoring in a 6-2 run to get River Valley within 13-12 when she made a steal and went in for a breakaway layup, leading to a Dunmore timeout with 4:55 left.
The Lady Bucks scored the next eight points. Talutto got off an inside pass to Canavan while falling to the floor along the baseline. After Canavan’s basket, Toomey went the length of the floor breaking the press with her dribble-drive. Talutto’s stutter-step shook off a defender, giving her room to hit a 15-footer from the left side.
Toomey capped the run when she missed from the left elbow, but got to the rebound and laid it in on the right side for a 21-12 lead with 1:15 left.
Persichetti, the only Panther to score in the quarter broke the streak on a drive with 15 seconds left.
Toomey was unable to convert two free throws with time expired, but Dunmore took a 21-14 lead into the locker room.
Canavan opened the second-half scoring with an 8-footer from the left baseline, then improved to 5-for-7, reaching double figures with an inside basket for a 27-16 lead with 6:12 left.
River Valley scored the next seven points, including 3-pointers 25 seconds apart by Emilee Staats and Persichetti to close within 27-23 with 4:50 left.
Toomey’s tip-in and Talutto’s two free throws doubled the lead before a Persichetti drive for the last River Valley points of the quarter.
Cadie Lewis closed the third-quarter scoring with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:42 left and Dunmore headed to the fourth ahead 34-25.
Persichetti opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer 49 seconds in for the last of her game-high 18 points, making it 34-28.
Dunmore scored the next eight points with big contributions from Toomey, Talutto and freshman reserve forward Jackie Brown.
The highlight came when Toomey got out to swat a 3-point attempt and Brown hustled to the sideline to save it from going out of bounds and start a Dunmore fastbreak. Brown never stopped moving, getting to the other end to take in a Talutto pass and score a difficult reverse layup over two defenders for a 40-28 lead.
When Talutto followed with a floater along the left baseline, Dunmore had the game’s biggest lead, 42-28, with 2:31 left.
Rylee Kitner scored the game’s last basket for the Panthers with 1:31 left.
Dunmore missed on two late one-and-ones, but as she did in the state semifinal, Canavan tracked down the offensive rebound to set up the Lady Bucks to dribble out the remaining time.