Rachael Rose and Kylie Lavelle joined forces in the game’s biggest run and each finished in double figures in scoring today when the NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls defeated Lehigh Valley Fever Navy, 47-35, in the first game of The Challenge, a Select Events tournament at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim Twp., Lancaster County.
Rose had seven points, Lavelle added four and Cecelia Collins scored the other two during a 13-point streak in which NEPA Elite moved in front to stay.
NEPA Elite has two more Pool A games Sunday to determine whether it advances to bracket play or plays in a consolation game Monday.
Rose, a rising senior point guard from Scranton Prep and the AAU team’s leading scorer on the season, did not miss a shot while scoring 12 of her 15 points during the first half.
Lavelle, the Riverside junior who was playing with the team for the first time, went 4-for-5 while coming off the bench to add 10 points.
Lehigh Valley led, 12-9, when Lavelle checked in for the first time with 9:55 left in the half.
Rose scored the next five points on two free throws and a 3-pointer, then set up Lavelle’s first basket.
Lavelle made a steal then ran the floor to get a feed from Ciera Toomey for an easy basket.
Collins scored off a Clair Marion steal, then Rose went coast-to-coast for a 22-12 lead with 5:05 left in the half.
Maria Belardi joined in during the streak, helping contain the Force offense by making three steals and blocking two shots in her first 3:30 on the court.
After the Fever scored for the first time in 6:29, Lavelle hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 25-14 lead.
Olivia Ciullo kicked the ball out from the post for Lavelle’s open shot.
Skylar Bianchi did the same to set up a 3-pointer by Belardi for a 28-16 halftime lead.
NEPA Elite finished the half shooting 10-for-19 (52.6 percent) from the floor, 4-for-8 (50.0) on 3-pointers and 4-for-4 (100.0) from the line.
Collins returned from time out of the lineup with an injury to score six points in the first half.
The lead remained between 9 and 14 points through the entire second half.
University of South Carolina Upstate commit Rose finished 3-for-3 on 3-pointers, 5-for-7 overall from the floor and 2-for-2 at the line.
Toomey led the balanced second-half offense, scoring all five of her points. She also joined Belardi and Marion in leading the offense.
Belardi finished with four steals and two blocks.
Marion also had four of the team’s 18 steals.
Toomey had three steals and two of the team’s seven blocks.
Moriah Murray chipped in with a team-high three assists, the co-lead of three rebounds and two assists.
Ciullo also grabbed three rebounds.
Collins and Belardi are high school teammates of Rose at Scranton Prep. Toomey and Murray play at Dunmore. Marion is from Abington Heights, Ciullo from Old Forge and Bianchi from Valley View.
NEPA Elite allowed only one 3-pointer, which did not come until 8:40 remained in the game.