Girls Basketball: Jersey Shore Bulldogs defeat Central Mountain Wildcats, 62-50
By CHRIS MASSE
For The Express
JERSEY SHORE- Just three seconds after the jump ball, Jersey Shore showed that this game would be much different than the last two.
The Bulldogs played well in those two previous losses, moving the ball well and producing good shots. They just kept missing. Thursday, though, Brielle Hess controlled the jump ball and found a cutting Aubrey Stetts who converted the layup. That sequence sent a message, set a tone and Jersey Shore rarely missed while scoring 43 first-half points against Central Mountain.
Hannah Kauffman scored 21 points, Stetts added 12 and five players delivered at least seven points as Jersey Shore hit 17 of its first 22 shots and defeated Central Mountain, 62-50. From an execution standpoint, Jersey Shore simply built on its last two performances. The Bulldogs just made their shots this time.
“I said one of these days everything is going to start falling and then look out,” Jersey Shore coach Darrin Bischof said. “I commended them on the ball movement. We were running good sets, we were finding the open spot and we were making one more pass.ã
Jersey Shore never trailed and built a 22-10 first-quarter lead. The Bulldogs made their first three shots and missed just three of 14 during that opening quarter as five different players scored. Equally impressive, they had five assists on their first six field goals and repeatedly scored in the paint. It was just what Jersey Shore needed following games against HAC-I leading Danville and Mifflinburg in which it executed well but scored only 66 points.
“The last game we had opportunities and were right there with them in the first half and we just couldnát finish our layups. Tonight we all came together,”Kauffman said. “This is a good game moving forward. This really boosts our confidence.”
Hess provided that early boost assisting on three of Jersey Shore’s first four field goals. Stetts, playing point guard for the first time this season, keeps developing at her new possession and scored six of Jersey Shoreás first eight points. Sadie Griswold attacked the basket and consistently went to the foul line and the Bulldogs closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to open a 12-point lead.
Reba Lorson provided a big lift off the bench and her first-quarter 3-pointer started stretching the Central Mountain defense. Lorson scored 11 points and hit a 3-pointer in each of the first three quarters as Jersey Shore worked a good inside-outside game. Lorson also made four steals and was a big reason Jersey Shore led 43-26 at halftime.
“The main thing that helped us tonight is when Lorson can hit some 3s. That really opened everything up,” Bischof said. “What we want to see is the improvement before playoffs so we’re ready to go and I’m starting to see that. We fought really hard the last two games and I like what I saw tonight.”
Central Mountain kept fighting back, but Jersey Shore delivered a knockout punch in the third quarter as Haley Stetts opened it with a steal and assist to Kauffman. That ignited a 7-0 run and Jersey Shore opened a 24-point lead that was never seriously threatened. Stetts scored eight points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Kauffman had five steals and four assists in less than three quarters and the Bulldogs led 55-35 entering the fourth.
“We all picked each other up tonight,” Kauffman said. “This pushes us and helps us realize that if we come together and have fun and click all together that we’re going to be a good threat.”
Its record might not show it, but Central Mountain is building toward becoming a threat in the future. The Wildcats are young and are playing mostly sophomores and freshmen, but are showing promise and there finally looks like there is hope for a program that has won just four games over the last four seasons.
Three players scored in double figures last night and Central Mountain never stopped playing hard. The Wildcats lost the game but they were not defeated and that is an important step forward.
“We are not worried about wins and losses. We are looking for progress,” first-year Central Mountain coach Scott Baker said. “We’re playing it possession by possession. The scoreboard is kind of secondary to us. We’re trying to take those steps because this program was in a horrid spot.”
Morgan Wetzel played an outstanding game, leading the way for Central Mountain. The athletic forward was all over the court, scoring 16 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and altering several shots. Wetzel is one of the team’s few seniors but is doing all she can to create that bridge toward future success.
“She was awesome. That was her best game of the year by far,” Baker said. “That’s what we’ve been waiting for. The last couple of games we started to see her become a more aggressive player and tonight was a coming out. That was really good for her.”
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN (50)
Quinlynn McCann 3 5-10 11, Avery Baker 4 0-1 10, Alyssa Fisher 2 0-0 6, Morgan Wetzel 8 0-0 16, Summer Flanagan 2 0-0 5, Madalyn Smith 1 0-2 2, Olivia Anastos 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 5-13 50.
JERSEY SHORE (62)
Hannah Kauffman 10 1-3 21, Aubrey Stetts 6 0-0 12, Sadie Griswold 1 5-10 7, Haley Stetts 3 2-2 8, Reba Lorson 4 0-0 11, Brielle Hess 1 1-2 3, Aubrey Schilling 0 0-0 0, Delaney Herbst 0 0-0 0, Olivia Eiswerth 0 0-0 0, Samantha Machmer 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 9-19 62.
C. Mountain 10 16 9 15ä50
Jersey Shore 22 21 12 7ä62
3-pointers: C. Mountain 5 (Baker 2, Fisher 2, Flanagan); Jersey Shore 3 (Lorson 3).
Records: Jersey Shore 8-5, 3-3 HAC-I. Central Mountain 0-9, 0-6.