Archive for July, 2013

Defenders 16U Split A Pair Of Games Saturday at Quaker City Challenge

Game 1 – SJ Blitz

The Defenders benefitted from a 10 woman rotation, and senior leadership to maintain a double digit lead throughout the first game of the evening against the South Jersey Blitz. The Defenders got points from 7 players, and Jackie Rodriguez led the way with 27 points, fueled by an astounding, 7 three pointers! Brittany Vick contributed 10 points, and was the only other player in double digits. SJ Blitz tried mounting a comeback but, were met with pinpoint perimeter precision at every run. Ashley Opitz and Morgan Mitchell turned in another stellar defensive effort, featuring timely rebounds, blocked shots, steals, and forced turnovers.

Game 2 – JB Hoops

In the late game of the day, the Defenders faced off against a spirited opponent in the JB Hoops team. Hoops jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, and the Defenders found themselves in a position of having to battle their way back into the contest. The Defenders responded with their trademark defense, and 4 Jackie Rodriguez three pointers in a row, to take the lead 14-12, at the 8:00 mark. Both teams exchanged baskets, and several lead changes until a Kyra Fox 3 point play, an Ashley Optiz 3 pointer, and a J-Rod basket gave the Defenders 31-25 lead at the half.

In the second half, Defenders found their lead slipping as JB Hoops started earning trips to the free throw line. Defenders held the lead until the 6:00 mark, when the score was tied, and JB Hoops sank a 3 pointer. Defenders trailed for the first time in second half 47-42. The final minutes of play did not disappoint, as every possession became crucial.  The Defenders found themselves on the wrong end of several foul calls, missed shots, and loose ball opportunities.  The Defenders fall 54-50 in disappointing loss.


07 2013

Game 1 at Quaker City Challenge – Defenders 16U Handle Renegades With Ease

A few things were evident after watching the Defenders clash with the Renegades on Friday evening at Competitive Edge in King of Prussia.

Janaysia James does not like to share rebounds with others.

Morgan Mitchell and Kadijah Matthews are fast, very fast.

Alyssa McDonough is a beast.

Jackie Rodriguez is a scoring machine.

These are no longer disputable claims. These are facts..

The Defenders showed off their speed, athleticism, and experience against an opponent that seemed to be frustrated from the beginning.  The dynamic duo of McDonough and Rodriguez led the way in scoring but, that is only half the story.  The story here is that the Defenders are beginning to understand their strengths, and perfect their mojo.  Today’s win over the Renegades featured a balanced offensive attack, where six players scored at least six points, and a smothering defense that held a very sound Renegades squad to just 16 points in the first half.  Jackie Rodriguez continued her scoring ways, and led all scorers with 18 points.  McDonough finished with 12.  Kadijah Matthews and Janaysia James both scored 8 points, while Ashley Optiz and Morgan Mitchell each contributed 6 points.  The post game discussion with the team featured a Coach Stone admonishment to not lose focus, and to rest in preparation of Saturday and Sunday’s games.  Stay tuned for more Defenders highlights, and heroics…!


07 2013

Defenders 16U Return Home a Perfect 4-0, from Battle of Baltimore

Game 3 – C’Ville Tempo
Like a symphony of many well tuned instruments playing an harmonious melody, the Defenders banned together to overcome obstacles and played flawless “team” basketball against two very scrappy, talented opponents on the second day of play at the Battle of Baltimore.

In the 12:30 tipoff, the Defenders faced C’Ville Premier Tempo and wasted no time striking first. Ashley Opitz, of Piscataway got the party started with 4 quick points in the opening minute of play.  Jackie “J-Rod” Rodriguez followed suit with a 3 pointer, and Alyssa McDonough was fouled on a drive to the basket, and the Defenders enjoyed a brief lead before the Tempo found offense of their own, and drew within a point of the Defenders 8-7. Then, the Alyssa McDonough show began. The senior guard began dictating the tempo of the game with her penetration dribble, and when the defenders backed off, she displayed her touch from behind the arc, or found open teammates cutting to the basket. The Defenders again enjoyed a brief lead, 23-15, before the Tempo came storming back. At halftime the Defenders were holding on to a 30-26 lead.

In the second half, the dynamic duo of Rodriguez and McDonough from Sayreville War Memorial High School teamed up yet again with a dazzling display of 3 point shooting, and drives to the basket resulting in multiple trips to the free throw line. Led by Morgan Mitchell, Kyra Fox, and Kadijah Matthews, the Defenders were able to match Rodriguez’ and McDonough’s offense with tenacious defense, and the Defenders began to pull away in the second half, on their way to a 53-40 victory. Rodriguez finished with 25, leading all scorers, and McDonough contributed 20 points. Ashley Opitz scored 4, and Morgan Mitchell finished with 3.

Game 4 – Maryland Lady Tigers
The final game of the tournament matched the Defenders against a familiar foe in the Maryland Lady Tigers, who won their last meeting by 2 points in a hotly contested battle in Richmond, Virginia earlier this AAU season.  With a perfect outing on the line, and the sight of the familiar uniforms, and faces conjuring up memories from their earlier meeting, the Defenders were chomping at the bit for a chance to settle the score.  The matchup did not disappoint on drama. Jackie Rodriguez began the game with 2 made 3 point shots, in the opening minutes and that was all the Lady Tigers coach needed to see before he began yelling at his players, “Who’s got number 10??! She is a shooter!”  The focus on Rodriguez left the Lady Tigers vulnerable to the other players on the Defenders, and Kyra Fox took advantage. Running the floor, and crashing the boards seemed to put Fox in position for several put backs, and transition points in the first half.  The Defenders led 30-17 at the half, and Fox was already in double digits with 10 points.

In the second half, the Lady Tigers began chipping away at the lead with their physical style of play, and closed the gap to 33-27 at the 10:00 mark. The Defenders responded with a balanced attack that saw 4 different players score in the next 5 minutes of play. Clinging to a 10 point lead with less than 4 minutes remaining, Alyssa McDonough began controlling the tempo, and using her penetration dribble to spread the floor, and create shots for herself and others.  Kyra Fox enjoyed a much needed bounce back game, after sitting out the last month due to a severely sprained ankle, and led all scorers with 14 points. Rodriguez finished with 12, and McDonough scored 11. More importantly, the Defenders avenged their defeat to the Lady Tigers, and returned home a perfect 4-0, and are looking forward to more basketball this weekend in King of Prussia, Pa.


07 2013

FBC Defenders (16U) 2-0, So Far at Blue Chip’s Battle of Baltimore

Game 1 – Defenders Handle Winston-Salem Stealers in Early Play

FBC Defenders 16U rolled in to Baltimore with a roster of 7 feisty, battle tested lady ballers, and quickly asserted themselves as a team to be reckoned with, regardless of their lack of size in the middle. Behind the leadership of their “almost-famous” dynamic duo of Jackie “J-Rod” Rodriguez, and Alyssa McDonough, the Defenders out-hustled, out-rebounded, and out-scored a very organized, and bigger Winston-Salem Stealers club.  J-Rod amazed the crowd with a blistering hot hand from behind the arc, and finished with six, 3 pointers, on her way to a 27 point performance. The Defenders’ 9 point, halftime lead was challenged in the opening moments, of the second half when the Stealers made 2, 3 pointers back to back. Coach Stoned relied upon the leadership of Alyssa McDonough, to control the tempo of the game, and break down the Stealers defense with her penetration dribble. McDonough finished with 25 points, while Ashley Opitz, Kadijah Matthews, and Kyra Fox, (who returned from a 3 week hiatus) contributed to the points total. Defenders win the first game 59-51.

Game 2 – Defenders Rally to Subdue NEPA Flames after a shaky start

Riddled with missed shots, turnovers, and a lack of rebounds, the Defenders were able to regain their composure, and rallied to subdue the NEPA Flames.  Following a forgettable first half performance, the Defenders trailed 26-15, at the half.   Coach Stone used the intermission to remind his team of their true identity.  “WE ARE THE DEFENDERS!!  WE DEFEND!”  Alyssa McDonough was the first to respond to the wake up call, and led by example as the Defenders began to drive the ball to the basket instead of settling for jump shots that weren’t falling.  Morgan Mitchell and Kyra Fox stepped up on defense to challenge shots, and fill passing lanes, while Jackie Rodriguez, Ashley Optiz, and Kadijah Matthews got involved and followed suit using their speed, and ball handling skills to drive to the basket, and went to the line repeatedly. The Defenders chipped away at the lead with free throws until Alyssa McDonough caught fire, and erupted in the second half for 29 points. The Flames had no answers for McDonough’s prowess, and the Defenders hustle. The Defenders regained the lead, and held on for an electrifying, come from behind win. Alyssa McDonough led all scorers with 34 points, Jackie Rodriguez finished with 10, Kadijah Matthews scored 8, and Ashley Opitz scored 7. Defenders are now 2-0, and looking to capitalize on their momentum going into the second day of play at the Battle of Baltimore. Stay tuned!


07 2013