The Bishop Eustace Crusaders pulled away in the fourth quarter to take down girl’s basketball Friday night in the Sweet 16 of the SJIBT.
It was a tight game for three-plus quarters before the Crusaders used the three-ball and strong possession to take down Cinnaminson 42-33.
“I thought our communication defensively was great,” head coach Bret Jenkins said. “We decided to change it from man to the zone and we did a great job communicating. It kept us in it.”
The Pirates are now 10-4 on the season and have dropped two straight for the first time this year.
The first quarter was a feeling out period for the two teams, which hadn’t met since the 2010-2011 season as the Pirates held an 8-6 advantage.
The second quarter saw both defenses begin to get their footing.
A three at the buzzer by Jenny Falconiero (15 points) gave the Crusaders an 18-16 lead at the break.
Cinnaminson opened the third quarter on a 4-0 run to take a 20-18 lead, but the Crusaders would not let them stop them.
The Pirates opened a five point lead midway through the third, but the Crusaders started hitting the three to keep it close.
A late bucket gave the Crusaders a 29-28 lead heading into the fourth, which they would not relinquish.
The Pirates fell behind by five with 2:10 left to play and the Crusaders started killing the clock.
Excellent ball movement saw Bishop Eustace kill more than 1:30 off the clock as the Pirates had to begin fouling.
After a host of free throws down the stretch, the Crusaders eventually put the game out of reach.
“She not only changed a lot of shots, but she blocked a lot of shots without fouling,” Jenkins said of Anne O’Malley’s defensive play tonight.
“She did a good job of standing tall. She made it tough for them. They extended the lead because of three’s, but they had to stay out of the lane because of Anne.”
The Crusaders hit six from beyond the arc in the win, four of them from Falconiero.
“When it got down to the fourth quarter, they just started hitting three’s,” Jenkins said. “When they play four girls who are almost all like point guards on the floor at the same time, it’s tough to get back into the game in that situation.”
O’Malley (11 points) and Fiona Flynn (10 points) paced the Pirates offense Friday night.
“O’Malley was great tonight,” Jenkins said. “The way she was scoring, it was leaving (Maddie) Ogden (7 points) open. It’s nice to see them scoring against a team with the size that Eustace has.”
Cinnaminson returns to the court on Tuesday, January 24 with an away game against Northern Burlington at 5pm.
“The last two games, it was really enjoyable to coach,” Jenkins said. “I hate to lose, but the way we battled the last two nights, I really enjoyed it. I enjoy coaching these girls and they seem to buy in and the last two nights were a lot of fun. I’m proud of them.”
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