Defenders 16U Crash the Party at Blue Chip PreSeason Challenge – Richmond, Va.

1st game on Friday

FBC Defenders braved hours  long traffic jams, and the scheduling cruelty of  three out of five early morning games, to leave their defensive signature stamped on this all important Preseason Challenge.  Anchored by program mainstays, and energized by several sophomore newcomers, the Defenders returned home with an impressive 4-1 record overall.

Defenders endured the business traveler’s red eye equivalent in the 8am tip off on Friday morning, against the hometown team Virginia Explosion.  Defenders struck first with an 8-1 run fueled by Jackie Rodriguez, aka J-Rod. However the next minute and 4 seconds belonged to the Explosion’s 7-0 run to knot the score up at 8-8.  Defenders responded with 2, 3 point field goals from Kadijah Mathews & Morgan Mitchell but, their lead would be brief.  Both teams battled through several lead changes throughout the first half, and the Defenders trailed by one point at the half, 29-28.  The second half saw more of the same with the Defenders ending up on the wrong side of several lead changes, to fall in the red-eye 51-46.  Jackie Rodriguez led all Defenders with 15 points, while Kadijah Mathews and Kyra Fox both finished with 8 points.

2nd game on Friday..

Defenders faced The Blackhawks of Lebanon, Pennsylvania.  Defenders jumped out to an early lead, 17-12.  In a gutsy move, Coach Stone replaced the starting five with the more energetic, sophomore dominated line-up of reserves, who unleashed their own scoring assault on the Blackhawks led by Morgan Mitchell, Camille Duncan & Brianna Carr.  Defenders led by ten, 33-23 at the half.  In the second half, the Blackhawks began to force the issue with their own offensive assault but, the Defenders responded with timely baskets from Kadijah Mathews, Alyssa McDonough, & Kyra Fox before Jackie “J-Rod” Rodriguez erupted for 12 points in 4 minutes, with 4 consecutive, crowd astounding, 3 pointers!  Rodriguez led all Defenders with 17, Alyssa McDonough scored 14, Kadijah Mathews finished with 6, while Brianna Carr and Kyra Fox each finished with 5 points.  Defenders win big, 61-47.If

 3rd game of the tournament.. 9:10am on Saturday

Defenders faced the equally athletic, but bigger opponent in the Maryland Lady Tigers of Baltimore.  Coach Stone sat the more experienced starters most of the game, in favor of the more energetic sensational sophomores, Morgan Mitchell, Camille Duncan, Brianna Carr, Sydney Bray, and Ashley Opitz, who appeared to shock the bigger, Lady Tigers with their relentless energy, and tenacious defense.  The Lady Tigers tried to respond to the smaller, scrappier sophomore laden line up with brute force, but were surprisingly turned back, with equal aggression.  Led by the feisty, energetic guard play of Morgan Mitchell, and Sydney Bray the Defenders battled the Lady Tigers throughout the second half, until the final moments when Coach Stone pegged the veteran leadership of Alyssa McDonough to pace the Defenders, and control the offense in the final moments to hold on to defeat the Lady Tigers.  Alyssa McDonough finished with 11, Morgan Mitchell scored 6, while Camille Duncan rounded out the scoring with 5 points.  Defenders win a thriller, 38-34.

4th game – Saturday evening.

On Saturday evening, the Defenders returned to the Richmond Convention Center to face NYC Heat at 7pm.  After a series of private team meetings behind closed doors, throughout the day, to settle chemistry issues the Defenders showed off their newly acquired chemistry and camaraderie to defeat the pesky NYC Heat who battled back from several leads throughout the contest.  The Sayreville High School teammates, and life long friends, Jackie Rodriguez and Alyssa McDonough combined for 37 points to boost the Defenders record to 3-1, for the tournament.  McDonough led all scorers with 22 points, while Rodriguez poured in 15, with another 4, 3 point field goals performance.  Ariel Donza, and Kadijah Mathews each contributed 6 points.  Defenders roll, 57-47.

Final game on Sunday morning.

FBC Defenders face off against the Connecticut Starters.  Defenders woke to another early morning game against another feisty opponent in the Starters. In the beginning moments, McDonough’s drive to the basket, and Rodriguez’ 3 point field goal set the tone, as the Defenders fought off the Starters in a contentious battle that featured two lead changes, and frantic defense that resulted in several turnovers benefiting the Defenders.  Defenders led at the half, 27-19.

In the second half, the Starters came out swinging, and closed the gap 29-24, before Coach Stone sent his starting line up back into the game.   Alyssa McDonough asserted herself as the literal driving force as several layups led to trips to the foul line.  The Starters continued to fight back, and answered every Defenders score, with one of their own.  With the Defenders leading 33-30, with roughly ten minutes remaining in the contest, Kyra Fox sinks a 3 pointer, from the right wing.  Still the Starters fought on.  With less than six minutes remaining, the Starters tied the game at 38,  Kadijah Mathews scores on a drive to the basket, and McDonough scored to give the Defenders the lead 42-38.   The Defenders never looked back.  Relying upon their signature, tenacious defense, the Defenders came up with 2 stops, and 2 turnovers, and used McDonough to close with several drives to the basket, resulting in consecutive trips to the line.  McDonough leads all scorers with 18, followed by Rodriguez with 12, and Mathews with 7 points, and Ashley Opitz contributed 5 points.  Defenders win, 52-47.  Finishing the tournament with a 4-1 record.  Now, it’s on the next one..!





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04 2013

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