Bulldog girls off to best start since 2000
JERSEY SHORE — Sidney Trunzo hit the court hard, but immediately bounced back up. Seconds later, she saved a loose ball and helped Jersey Shore produce two points.
The Bulldogs repeated similar scenes all night. Jersey Shore is a balanced and deep team that could have its best season in a decade. But above everything, know this about the Bulldogs — they are relentless competitors.
Jersey Shore has shown that all 11 games this year and did so again Monday as starters and reserves both made big impacts in an impressive 63-42 win over Troy. Hannah Kauffman scored a game-high 23 points, including 11 straight in a game-breaking third-quarter run, and Jersey Shore forced 26 turnovers as it shut down a team that was a shot away from beating undefeated Athens last Friday.
“Teams know when they step on that court they have to play for 32 minutes because we’re not going to stop,” Jersey Shore coach Darrin Bischof said. “That’s been the great part of it.”
The Bulldogs (8-3) are off to one of their best starts since 2000 and every player Bischof used Monday delivered a solid performance. Jersey Shore played one of its most complete games, made 20 of 34 shots over the final three quarters and scored 47 points during that span. Unselfish and hard-working, the Bulldogs possess a lot of weapons and they repeatedly unleashed those against the Trojans (6-4).
Olivia Edler (5 assists) scored Jersey Shore’s first six points, Liz Severino (5 steals) ignited a 13-1 run to give Jersey Shore a 12-point halftime lead and Trunzo seemed to be everywhere, playing excellent defense, making four steals and grabbing five rebounds. Severino’s three steals in a minute span helped Shore take control after both teams went back and forth over the opening 12 minutes.
“We really did a good job. We all played together as a whole,” Kauffman said. “It wasn’t just one person this game. It was everyone’s game.”
“Everyone worked together really well. We did what coach said and we executed,” Trunzo said. “We’re all the same height so we can all play different positions and it doesn’t matter. Coach utilizes us a lot in different spots.”
Kauffman is having a breakout sophomore season and showed in less than two minutes during the third quarter what makes her so dangerous. Troy scored four quick points to open the quarter and pull within eight, but Kauffman scored the next 11 and basically helped Jersey Shore land an early knockout blow. Kauffman, who has 47 points the last two games, opened the run with two 3-pointers before hitting a short jumper. Next she made her third steal and went in for a layup before adding a free throw.
Just like that, Jersey Shore led 44-25 against a team that allowed just 35 points against Athens. Troy never pulled closer than 17 again.
“Everything came together at that point,” said Kauffman, who added seven rebounds. “I missed some shots in the first half but I didn’t stop shooting and once we came out in the second half they started falling. We really got after them in the second half.”
Severino helped spark a tenacious defense that flustered Troy throughout the final three quarters. She was one of five players who made at least three steals and also had four assists. Trunzo was the post’s version of Trunzo, denying explosive Sam Gentile touches and wreaking havoc with her energy. Trunzo made four steals over the final three quarters and removed all hopes of a Troy fourth-quarter comeback by opening the fourth quarter with four points that stretched the lead to 55-31.
“Tonight was one of my better games,” Trunzo said. “I haven’t played like that since last year. It helped with having everyone cheer me on and having all the fans and players behind me.”
Trunzo was one of several reserves who played a prominent role. Abby Watkins scored four straight points late in the first quarter to give Jersey Shore a 16-14 lead. Troy took one more lead in the second quarter, but Severino started turning swarming defense into Bulldog offense, Edler hit a 3-pointer and Jersey Shore took a 33-21 lead into halftime.
Jersey Shore has won four of its last five games and continues progressing a year after making a six-win improvement. The Bulldogs feature several weapons who can have big offensive nights and who can also shine defensively. The bonus is that they work so well together and really do not care about individual stats.
That was evident all night as Jersey Shore repeatedly dissected whatever defense Troy used. Players set up other for quality shots and efficiently worked the offense. Bischof went mostly with his bench in the fourth quarter and the reserves carried on that unselfish theme, dealing six assists on the seven baskets.
“We were making an extra pass that we didn’t do at Montoursville (last Thursday). We were finding girls cutting and playing with more confidence,” Bischof said. “It’s not about any one person. It’s about doing your job in there and being a part of a special team. That is what makes them so special to me is they all understand that.”
Morgan Gentile 6 0-0 12, Sam Gentile 5 5-6 19, Carla Proto 2 1-2 5, Vanessa Watson 2 0-0 4, Stephanie Pazzaglia 1 0-2 2. Totals 16 6-10 42.
JERSEY SHORE (63)
Hannah Kauffman 9 3-5 23, Averie Hess 1 0-1 2, Olivia Edler 3 2-2 9, Harley Lorson 2 0-2 4, Liz Severino 3 0-0 6, Sidney Trunzo 4 1-2 9, Janel Eck 1 0-0 2, Abby Watkins 1 2-2 4, Baleigh Lorson 2 0-0 4. Totals 23 8-14 63.
Troy 14 7 8 13–42
Shore 16 17 16 14–63
3-pointers: Troy 4 (S. Gentile 4); Jersey Shore 3 (Kauffman 2, Edler).
Records: Jersey Shore 8-3. Troy 6-4.