Turnovers end Sullivan girls season
POCONO SUMMIT — Playing aggressively on defense and forcing teams to turn the ball over is nothing new for Jenkintown. That’s just the way it plays the game.
And after coach Jim Romano watched Sullivan County game film, he noticed a lot of teams playing the Griffins in a zone defense. Romano’s Drakes aren’t a zone team and he didn’t want to change how they make things hectic for opposing teams.
Sticking with their customary defense paid off.
The Drakes were relentless defensively Wednesday night. They constantly pressured Sullivan County and routinely forced turnovers en route to a 60-44 win in the second round of the PIAA Class A tournament at Pocono Mountain West High School.
“Turnovers is what hurt us. A turnover is two points. Take the turnovers away and it’s a close game. That’s kind of hurt us all year,” Sullivan County coach Kurt Parrish said. “Turnovers have been an issue and they came back out (Wednesday). Little things, too, but I’m happy with the girls and the year they had.”
Jenkintown (28-1) forced 29 Griffin turnovers, 20 of which were in the first half as the Drakes built a double-digit lead. Sullivan County (19-8) turned the ball over on its first three possessions and the Drakes scored seven points in a 40-second span to set the tone.
Jenkintown built an 11-0 lead before Sullivan County scored its first basket on a Sophia Springman shot.
The majority of Jenkintown’s defensive pressure came from seniors Mia and Natalie Kolb, a duo who accounted for nine steals, with Natalie getting five.
“Defensively they’re unbelievable. They play real well. They’re so quick and they have great hand-eye coordination,” Romano said. ‘They’ve been like that ever since they were freshmen. I’ve been very, very fortunate to have them for the last four years.”
All five of Jenkintown’s starters scored in double figures as Mia Kolb led the team with 18 points. Molly Walsh and Carly Mulaney both scored 11 and Lauren Brockwell and Natalie Kolb scored 10.
The Griffins were able to hang around but never seriously threatened to cut the deficit. Every time the Griffins made a basket, Jenkintown immediately responded with one of its own. Sullivan County’s largest run was in the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to 16. But it was too little, too late.
“That’s the way this team plays. There were games we were down 15, 16, 17 points and came back and won this year. So you’re never out of the game,” Parrish said. “Don’t roll over and just give up. That’s one thing these girls don’t do. They don’t give up. A very competitive bunch. We increased our schedule strength this year. I think that’s really paid dividends. Strength of schedule was going to help us at end of the year.”
Bethany Beinlich led Sullivan County’s offense with 12-points. Mykenzie Malacusky scored 11 and Springman added 10. Jess King came up just shy of a double-double with eight points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Griffins outrebounded Jenkintown, 24-14, but their 29 turnovers allowed Jenkintown to get repeated extra chances.
“The biggest thing that hurt us was turnovers,” Parris said. “It took us too long to get the offense flowing and a lot of that was just turnovers.”
Jenkintown capitalized on the pressure it was able to use against the Griffins, building up a double-digit lead halfway through the first quarter and never letting the Griffins cut it to single digits after Brockwell hit a 3-pointer with 2:30 to play to go ahead 18-6.
From there, the Drakes kept it within the mid- to high-teens throughout the second quarter and took an 18-point lead into the half when Mia Kolb banked a shot off the backboard near the baseline at the buzzer to go ahead 40-22.
Jenkintown 60, Sullivan County 44
Alexis Randall 1 0-0 2; Sophia Springman 5 0-0 10; Bethany Beinlich 4 4-4 12; Jess KIng 2 4-5 8; Mykenzie Malacusky 5 0-0 11; Kassidy Beinlich 0 1-2 1; Olivia Harney 0 0-0 0; Ellie Springman 0 0-0 0; Carly Rupert 0 0-0 0; Angel Fitzgerald 0 0-0 0; Samantha Albright 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 9-11 44.
Mia Kolb 7 3-4 18; Lauren Brockwell 4 0-0 10; Molly Walsh 4 3-4 11; Natalie Kolb 3 4-8 10; Carly Mulaney 3 5-6 11; Cady Westkaemper 0 0-0 0; Katie McGrath 0 0-0 0; Sarah Cummings 0 0-0 0; Molly Stephenson 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 15-22 60.
Sullivan 8 16 6 14 — 44
Jenkintown 20 20 13 7 — 60
3-point goals: Sullivan 1 (Malacusky 1), Jenkintown 3 (Brockwell 2, M. Kolb 1).
Records: Sullivan (19-8), Jenkintown (28-1).