Playing brilliant brand of hoops, Jersey Shore takes on Juniata next
JERSEY SHORE — Even with only two games in the new year, Jersey Shore girl’s basketball has already had an interesting season, and a dominant one at that.
Coming in, we didn’t know how the Lady Bulldogs were going to fair. Yeah, they were entering the new season off of a 19-7 record and postseason appearance last year, but they lost every single one of their starters from that team. We also didn’t know how the performance was going to be with the struggle with lack of height, although they do have a slight advantage in speed.
But we also knew two things could possibly keep Shore afloat: 1. Their bench is really, really deep. And 2. They have a superstar to rely on in the form of Hannah Kaufman.
Those two factors has Jersey Shore sitting pretty at 2-0 to start things off.
Granted, we’ve only started the season, but it’s the fashion of how the Bulldogs got these wins that’s so astonishing.
Things kicked off for JS on Friday, December 8 in a home against Hughesville High School. What’s amazing about this game is that the final score of this game was 63-49 in the Lady Bulldogs’ favor, but Shore only had 13 points in the first half. Yes, you read that correctly. Jersey Shore scored an incredible 50 points in the second half that helped them steamroll to that first win.
And not only was it the first game and a first win for Shore, but this matchup also happened to be the game where Hannah Kaufman showed her superstardom for 2017-18. (No rush, eh?) Kaufman put up an unbelievable 43 points, including 35 in the second half. In that first game, it already became clear who the leader of this team is, and that’s a great thing to have so early in a new year.
The next game for Jersey Shore took place on Monday night, December 11, where the Bulldogs would play an absolute dominant contest against Neumann Regional Academy, a well diverse program out of Williamsport. In what was also another home game for the Bulldogs, also turned into another win. JS steamrolled the Golden Knights, 51-29, to put them at 2-0 on the season. Star Hannah Kaufman scored the game-high with 15 points, and Sadie Griswold showed the Bulldogs’ depth by adding 10 to Jersey Shore’s brilliant performance.
I told you they’ve been playing a brilliant brand of basketball.
And now the Bulldogs are back at it tonight in another home contest, this time welcoming Juniata High School. The Indians enter this matchup also sitting with a record of 2-0, but Shore has the statistical advantage in both offense and defense entering this game.
It should also be noted that Juniata has been struggling dramatically in shooting and also at the free throw line. Take their first game against Southern Huntingdon County High School for example: The Indians shot 21 percent from the field (14-of-68) and 49 percent from the charity strike (18-of-37). Just dismal stats, but somehow, someway, they were able to pull out that win.
However, if they play that way against Jersey Shore: It ain’t happening.
But here’s a key factor that I mentioned earlier: The fact that the Bulldogs may struggle with size this season, may come into play tonight. Juniata’s Olivia Clark will be a force in the paint and will give JS fits all night. Clark finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double in the game against the Rockets for Southern Huntingdon. I have Jersey Shore going into this game as the favorite, but if the Lady Bulldogs are unable to maintain Clark, we could be looking at a potential upset in this one.
McKenzie Yohn is also another player for Jersey Shore to keep an eye on due to her ability to score. The lethal combination of Yohn and Clark could make things testy for the Bulldogs, and are the two main reasons why the Indians also sit at 2-0.
PREDICTION: Last year in their only matchup of the season against Juniata High School, Jersey Shore went on the road and suffered a 52-42 loss. During the offseason, both teams took some hits to their roster, but the Bulldogs have retained their star, Kaufman. She, along with the depth, will be the deciding factor in this game. And with it being a home contest for Shore this go around, along with having the statistical advantage in both sides of the ball, you have to give the edge to the Lady Bulldogs in this one. I do expect the Indians to shake off some of that bad play in the first two games of the season and be more composed against Jersey Shore, and this game will most likely go down to the wire. As far as who I’m taking? Give me the Bulldogs to ride Kaufman to the promise land. Jersey Shore defeats Juniata, 43-40, to go a perfect 3-0 to start off the season.