SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- The Scotch Plains-Fanwood girls basketball team went into its Union County Tournament game on Friday afternoon with an aggressive mindset against Brearley, and that led to the Raiders' highest scoring game of the year in their victory over the 17th-seeded Bears, 53-35.
Junior Brianna O’Brien demonstrated the mentality of the Raiders offense from the opening tip-off. Her relentless motivation to create chances for herself and her team showcased what the team planned on doing. After she hit a shot from behind the arc to get the Raiders on the board, SPFHS showed no let up with a 8-0 run in the first 2:15 minutes of the game. O’Brien would finish up with 17 points.
After the first quarter, the offense would still not let up, taking a 26-13 lead into the half. Out of the intermission, senior Summer Sheppard was able to assist O’Brien in the scoring column, recording 11 of her 14 points in the third quarter to extend the gap between the Raiders and the Bears.
The offense of the Raiders was not the only side of the ball that played at a high level, as the defense allowed the third least amount of points in a game all season. Head coach Ryan McKenna saw how one aspect of the defense helped lead to points on the other end of the hardwood.
“(The big part of holding Brearley down) was playing a lot more intense on defense than we had in previous games and turning that into easier offense for us,” McKenna said.
Two focal points of the defense were juniors Isabella Corsaro and Abee-Gayle Burton. Corsaro was able to hold down her side of the SPFHS 2-3 zone defense with an in-your-face pressure on any player who faced her and by pulling down multiple rebounds. As for Burton, she was able to give a spark to the team with her steals and hustle up and down the court to energize all the players.
The win over Brearley will give the Raiders some keys to go by to win their next county game.
“We’re looking to keep up the intensity on defense and to continue shooting as well as we did today,” McKenna said. Adding the Raiders are “just trying to stay consistent.”
Next on the schedule for SPFHS will be away at No. 1 seed Patrick School on Tuesday night.