Fliers One Step Closer
Neptune, NJ- On a night when it looked like this might be the game Colts Neck gets over the top and finally beats Neptune, the Scarlet Fliers erupted late in the first and fourth quarters to put the Cougars away with an 80-68 B-North victory.
Neptune came into the game riding a record of of 12-2 overall with their only loses coming against Notre Dame 69-56 and South Shore NY 44-39 and an 8-0 record in B-North play. The Scarlet Fliers have been averaging 58 points per game and allowing just 40.5 points per game. Against Colts Neck over the past six years the Fliers have remained perfect at 7-0.
On Thursday night the Cougars looked like this may be the game that they take a step forward in B-North and knock off the team that has owned the division and them over the past couple of years. With a 5-0 start to the game behind a layup from Cara Volpe and a deep three from Lola Mullaney, the Cougars faithful were starting to get into it. But the Scarlet Fliers finally cracked the Cougars defense and pushed the contest into high gear.
With 3:25 remaining in the first quarter and the game deadlocked at 13-13, Colts Neck head coach Glenn Jansen called a timeout to settle his girls down but the opposite happened. The next two and a half minutes the Scarlet Fliers turned up the pressure on both ends of the court and finished the first quarter with a 31-15 lead. Neptune's top scorer on the season Desiree Allen led the surge with 3 steals and 16 points. During this stretch Allen converted on four layup-and-one opportunities to pace the Scarlet Fliers.
Afterwards Allen added "somewhere in the first quarter I found some open looks and then everything started to fall, it was a great feeling to be able to put the team on my back and give us the lead."
As the dust settled during the break between quarters, Coach Jansen made some lineup changes and put sophomore Lauren Feaster on Allen duty. The physical sophomore put a little more pressure on Desiree and kept her of her marks and held the Scarlet Flier to just 8 points over the next two quarters and allowed the Cougars to climb their way back into the contest. Over the next two quarters Colts Neck would outscore Neptune 32-24 to finish the third quarter trailing 55-47.
Coach John Brown for Neptune added "Desiree gave us a lift on offense tonight and when she got rolling the rest of the girls fed off it and got us out to a good lead early."
Over the next three quarters the Cougars came together as a team and worked together to chip away at the early deficit. Senior Elise Brown took over on the boards on both ends of the court and put in 11 points and collected 7 rebounds. Jamie Prestigiacomo chipped in with 7 points, Lexie Iglesia added 7 points and 6 rebounds and Mullaney added 6 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.
The comeback was not over as the Cougars continued their comeback and clawed their way to within 5 points at 57-52 with just over six minutes to play. This would be the closest they would get to the Scarlet Fliers as Neptune took advantage of cheap fouls called against Colts Neck which got into foul trouble early in the third and continued into the fourth quarter. With just under six minutes to play, the Cougars lost their ball handler and playmaker in Volpe who fouled out and the personal foul totals sat at 8-1 against Colts Neck.
With Neptune seeing the comeback bid starting to fade away for Colts Neck, Allen and Brianna Love took over and finished off the Cougars converting 12 of 15 from the free throw line and pushed the Scarlet Fliers lead back to double digits. With time winding down and Colts Neck running on fumes, the game reverted back to the old days of B-North play with hard fouls, clutch free throws, coaching arguments and technical fouls. Things could have gotten out of hand, but the coaches brought their teams together during late timeout in the game and calmed the emotions for all involved.
A joyful Desiree afterwards when asked about her ability to take over a game added "I believer in my ability to shoot, the dealing with the contact is what I have been working and absorbing the contact and getting the and-one calls." On her clutch free throws along with teammate Love, "we work really hard on the shots at the line, we work before practice and then at the end of practice."
In the end the Cougars dug themselves to big of a hole in the first quarter to climb out of. With the veteran leadership of the Neptune Scarlet Fliers, the game never got too far outreach for them to regain control and put away the Cougars for the eighth straight time. The win moved Neptune to 13-2 overall and 9-0 in B-North and one game away from their first team goal which is to capture the B-North crown, which they can do Tuesday against Red Bank Catholic. With the loss Colts Neck drops back to 9-4 overall and 6-3 in B-North.
Colts Neck head coach Jansen afterwards shared his love for his team "I could not be any prouder of a great group of young ladies and their parents, tonight was not a 5-v-5 game which was evident with the one-sided calls, but the girls worked through it all and came close to making the comeback. After getting to within five point a late turnover lead to a layup and one call that broke the comeback bid."
Afterwards a still emotional Neptune head coach Brown added "this was typical B-North game with both teams fighting hard for the win, we had a chance early to put them away but we got complacent and let them back in…we have to do a better job if we want to be a great team."
|COLTS NECK (68)|