FRANKLIN, NJ -- The Bayonne girls basketball team figured out a way to keep the ball out of the hands of McDonald's All-American Diamond Miller of Franklin Tuesday night.
But Franklin made the Bees pay dearly for their defensive strategy.
Keona Schenck exploited the holes in Bayonne's collapsing, double-teaming zone to drill five 3-pointers and score 21 points to lead undefeated Franklin to a 70-38 victory over Bayonne for the NJSIAA Section 2, Group 4 championship Tuesday night.
Franklin (30-0), which has won three consecutive sectional crowns and 30 games in a row now, will move on to the state Group 4 semifinal Thursday night at Union High School, where they will oppose Bloomfield, the Section 1 champion.
The Warriors showed the basketball world just how impossible they've been to beat, as Miller, the University of Maryland-bound 6-foot-1 senior who has scored more than 2,200 career points, was held to just three field goal attempts and one basket against Bayonne's tight double-teams in the first half. Senior point guard Tiana Jackson, who played a masterful floor game and finished with 12 points and seven assists, repeatedly found the open teammate, and that was usually Keona Schenck.
The Schenck twin who wears No. 10 (Kennady wears No. 11), Keona nailed three 3s in a row as Franklin broke out to a 15-4 lead by the 1:48 mark of the opening quarter.
"When we saw that they were double-teaming Diamond, well, we need Diamond, but we know that the rest of us can knock down shots like her, too. I was open. (Tonight) it was my time," Keona said. "It shows that we can all be part of this team, and we can all make plays for each other."
Schenck rained a relentless barrage of trifectas down on the Hudson County challengers, nailing five consecutive 3-point attempts in the first half, and hitting six straight shots overall between the first and third quarters.
"This showed that we are a solid TEAM, and if people don't realize that now, I don't know what to tell 'em," Franklin head coach Audrey Taylor said. "Yes, Diamond is our star, and even today, them giving her that much attention, she still had a big impact on the game. The only difference was she didn't score her usual (amount). But we are a team."
Miller turned in a remarkable effort on defense, blocking six shots and coming down with 13 rebounds. She finished with 12 points and three assists, as well. And, while the spectators marveled at Keona Schenck's unconscious performance shooting the ball, Taylor hopes they also did not miss Jackson's stellar effort getting her the ball.
"All year, all year," Taylor said of Jackson's play-making mastery. "A lot of people going through the highlights of our team, they may not see that everybody that's scoring is getting the ball from Tiana. She has been facilitating like that all year. She knows her job; she has no reason to worry about scoring, but she can score too."
Franklin's smothering man-to-man defense on all five of Bayonne's players also trumped the Bees' ability to limit Miller's touches while leaving others open. Eniya Scott, a point guard who is one of the best freshman players in the state, did lead Bayonne in scoring with 14 points, but she missed 17 of her 20 shots from the floor.
"Defense, we always scout and always like to be prepared," Taylor said. "We knew who they went to and what hand they like to go to."
Franklin led, 42-20, at halftime, with just six first-half points from Miller. When Diamond opened the third quarter with a 3-point basket, it signaled that Franklin was going to hit on all cylinders through the third quarter. Kennady Schenck finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and two assists, and Christina Midgette had seven points, three rebounds and two assists.
"One thing I don't have to teach," Taylor said, "is energy and motivation to win."
Bayonne (24-5) 8 12 10 18 -- 38
Franklin (30-0) 17 25 19 9 -- 70
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