SHARPSVILLE — The hole was just a little too deep for a short-handed Redbank Valley team to dig out of in a 63-51 road loss at Sharpsville Monday night.

The Lady Bulldogs (8-2) found themselves down 14-2 early and by as many as 18 late in the first half before going into halftime trailing by 16, 36-20.

“Sharpsville hit a lot of shots,” Redbank Valley head coach Chris Edmonds said. “We weren’t rotating in our two-three (zone) like we should have been. That enabled them to hit some open shots.”

But Redbank Valley rallied in the third quarter and cut the deficit to four, 43-39, with 30.2 seconds left in the third quarter on an Alivia Huffman basket following a beautiful Euro-Step move.

“Basically, we challenged the girls to play man-to-man (defense),” Edmonds said. “We want to deny their point guard the ball. We got some quick turnovers which led to some quick baskets that helped us get back into the game.”

Chasie Fry, though, answered with an old-school 3-point play with just around eight seconds left in the quarter to give Sharpsville a 46-39 lead going to the fourth quarter.

Redbank Valley got back within five, 46-41, at the start of the fourth quarter on a steal and a layup from freshman Mylee Harmon 32 seconds into the quarter. That, however, was the Lady Bulldogs last bucket until Huffman’s steal and layup with 3:39 left.

Despite the long drought it was still a five-point game, 47-42, when Huffman hit one of two charity shots with 6:18 to play.

Alli Davis, though, started a 9-0 run for Sharpsville with a 3-pointer at the 6:05 mark.

That run, which included a pair of Breanna Hanley layups, gave the Blue Devils a 56-42 lead with four-and-half-minutes to play.

Fry, who hit three 3-pointers, led Sharpsville with 18 points with Davis adding 15, Adyson Kratto 10 and Tori Kimpan eight.

Huffman paced Redbank Valley with 15 points with Harmon scoring 10 and Caylen Rearick nine.

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The Lady Bulldogs were without two key players — Madison Foringer and Claire Clouse — because of contract tracing protocols.

“Missing Madison and Claire was a shock to us,” Edmonds said. “We didn’t learn about that until about lunchtime today. “

Edmonds said players who were forced into different roles and more minutes like Brooklyn Edmonds, Ryleigh Smathers (who had a season-high six points), and Izzy Bond did a good job.

“I thought all the girls who had a chance to come in played pretty well,” Edmonds said. “We talk about that in practice. We can go eight, nine, 10 deep. So, some of the girls that their opportunities, I thought played well.”

Next up for the Lady Bulldogs was a varsity-only home game with Venango Catholic on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Then they’re off until next Tuesday at home against A-C Valley.

In last week’s game:

THURSDAY, Jan. 6

Redbank Valley 80,

Keystone 22

At home against the visiting Lady Panthers, the host Lady Bulldogs blasted their way to a Mercy Rule running clock decision.

They led 36-13 at halftime, then blitzed Keystone 44-9 in the second half to finish off the 58-point win.

Mylee Harmon led the Lady Bulldogs with 18 points while Alivia Huffman finished with 17 points. Caylen Rearick had 11 points while Madison Foringer and Claire Clouse each scored 10 points.

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