Defense Will Again be Key to Girl’s Basketball Success

Defense Will Again be Key to Girl’s Basketball Success

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Defense will again be the key to girl’s basketball success as the 2016-2017 season gets underway on Friday. Here is our season preview.

After a season that saw the team secure the #1 seed in the South, Group 2 bracket, the Pirates will look to advance deeper into the postseason this year.

Cinnaminson had a milestone year last season, tying the program record for wins in a season with 22 as Marisa DiLeo joined the 1,000th point club.

DiLeo, along with five other girls, graduated in the spring.

“After graduating six seniors last year, I was interested to see how the girls would step in,” head coach Bret Jenkins said. “Our seniors have taken the place of the leadership we lost in those six seniors from last year.”

The program is still in good hands though as Tori Robinson and Anne O’Malley return for their senior campaign.

“We’re a good group of girls and we all have a good connection,” O’Malley said. “We’re really working well together. We move the ball around great.”

“We’re a young team, but we’ve been playing together for a long time,” Robinson said.

Both girls were starters last year and will be joined on the court by sophomore Maddie Ogden and juniors Fiona Flynn and Kelly Kane.

Off the bench, the Pirates will utilize sophomore Maddie Parrish and junior Angela Oliveira as key contributors once again.

“It has to be one game at a time,” Robinson said. “We know what’s at stake. We’ve been there before. We need to build off things we do right from game to game. We’re really quick learners and I think that helps us a lot.”

All of these girls, whether they were in the starting lineup or utilized off the bench, logged quite a bit of varsity time last year.

“The recent success of the last few years gave the girls a taste of where the program can go and what it’s like,” Jenkins said.

“I think being the one-seed last year did a lot for their psyche and showed them that this can be a program that’s a South Jersey contender year in and year out.”

The Pirates defense was the team’s backbone a year ago and will be a big factor in the team’s success this season.

“We want to continue the defensive identity we established the last few years,” Jenkins said. “We want to put a little more emphasis on communication along with the toughness on defense.”

Led by O’Malley in the middle, the Pirates will look to limit fast breaks and second chance shots.

“It’s all about staying in shape and always moving to the ball,” O’Malley said.

Speed will also play a role this year, much like last, as the Pirates can run the floor with pretty much every team in the county.

“I think this year we will have a more balanced attack,” Jenkins said. “I think in some senses, we might be tougher to defend this year because we are a little more balanced. Obviously it hurts losing Marisa because she did so much for us, but I’m excited to see our balanced scoring and how we do.”

Girl’s basketball moves from the Freedom Division, which they won last year, to the Patriot.

Patriot opponents include Burlington Township, Willingboro, Pemberton and Delran.

“We’ve always had a good mentality and know what the goal is,” Robinson said. “We’ve learned from our captains before us and how they’ve dealt with the team on and off the court. They set a good example each year and we will try to follow that.”

The Pirates open the season Friday, December 16 against Trenton Catholic at 5:15pm.

“It’s exciting. It’s our last first game, which is crazy,” O’Malley said. “Once the season gets going it, it gets more competitive and fun at the same time.”

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Jim is the creator and editor of Cinn City Sports. He also created At the Dish, Life With Tony and Enzo and is the owner of JAVFreelancing. He coached baseball for five years, three at his former high school (Holy Cross in Delran, NJ) and two at prominent Division III program Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He has worked for the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, NJ; Metro Networks in Bala Cynwyd, PA; and was the play-by-play announcer for the Camden Riversharks of the Independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball for two seasons (2007-2008) on Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM, the student-run radio station at Rowan University. Jim earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and minor in Journalism from Rowan University in 2008. While in school he was the Assistant Sports Director at WGLS for two years and the Sports Director for one year. He also covered the football, baseball, softball and both basketball teams for the school newspaper 'The Whit.' He is the former Sports Editor for the Cinnaminson and Moorestown Patch websites. Jim lives in New Jersey with his wife Nicole, sons Tony and Enzo and dog Phoebe. He can be reached at jimvassallo@cinncitynews.com