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.

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07 2013

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