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Communication fuels Hughesville defense in win

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Jersey Shore’s Aubrey Stetts (14) tries to block a shot by Hughesville’s Olivia Strother (13) during the first half of a high school girls basketball game Monday at Hughesville.

HUGHESVILLE — One could close his or her eyes Monday night and still understand why Hughesville started taking over its game against Jersey Shore. Spartan players were not just in constant motion, but constant communication, talking, instructing and working as one.

Hughesville turned those words into action, dominating defensively, coming alive offensively and thumping Jersey Shore, 42-16. The Spartans have allowed just 41 points in two games. It is the communication combining with speed and tenacity that is forming a defensive vise which has swallowed up consecutive opponents and helped Hughesville lead from start to finish last night.

The defense forced 27 turnovers and allowed just six field goals. Jade Cordrey scored 16 points, and four other starters delivered well-rounded performances as Hughesville defeated Jersey Shore for a second consecutive year and revealed why it could be so dangerous this season.

“Our defense is way better when we start communicating. That really helps the defense come together,” guard Lauren Henry said after scoring nine points, grabbing six rebounds, dealing four assists and making four steals. “We really pride ourselves on defense. That’s what our main goal every game, keeping them below 35 points per game.”

Hughesville did that a year ago when it was one of the area’s youngest teams and featured four new starters. The Spartans are still young from an age perspective and have just one senior, but also possesses four returning starters. Having that experience provides the defense a good foundation to build upon.

Adding communication to a potent blend of quickness and length helped Hughesville surrender just four points in all four quarters. And the constant chatter sounded like a symphony to coach Craig Weaver Sr.

“We’ve been harping and harping that you have to talk to one another and the communication was there,” Weaver said. “What’s neat is it helps you to identify where everybody is on the floor and the girls are getting it. A year has made a big difference.”

That difference is felt offensively as well. Cordrey was the lone player with significant varsity experience a year ago and the offense ran through her. Stop Cordrey and a team could stop Hughesville. Yes, Cordrey scored 16 points last night, but this is a team which now has five legitimate scoring threats. Three players have produced at least nine points in the first two games and Olivia Strother (4 steals, 4 blocks) do a nice job opening up the perimeter for Cordrey, Henry and point guard Cierra Getz.

Defense and offense came together as one during a game-breaking 17-4 third-quarter run. Jersey Shore (0-1) hung around throughout the first half and trailed by seven early in the third quarter. Hughesville then scored on its next three possessions, used its defense to jump start the offense and put the game away by the third quarter’s conclusion. The Spartans unselfishly moved the basketball, scored in transition and Cordrey added a 3-pointer.

Getz helpes ignite the defense and ran the court well, making five steals and delivering three assists. Her swarming defense eventually took its toll upon Jersey Shore and Getz was at the heart of the third-quarter surge.

“Our defense gets our offense going. Once we got the steal and broke their offense down we were finding open girls running down the court,” Weaver said. “We really started to look nice.”

“If we keep talking on defense that contributes to the offense and that keeps everything going,” Henry said. “All of us can score. it’s really awesome. I think our team has a lot of potential.”

So does Jersey Shore.

The Bulldogs are trying to replace two-time all-stater Hannah Kauffman which is a difficult task, but they worked the offense well early on. Jersey Shore was earning good shots, but did not convert. Despite the struggles, Jersey Shore used some excellent defense of its own to keep the game close, trailing by just two after a quarter and 17-8 at halftime.

“I’m not sure if that’s an indication of who we are. They came out in the third quarter and took advantage of some turnovers and we hurt ourselves,” Jersey Shore coach Darrin Bischof said. “We did a great job defensively in the first half, but in the second half we let them leak out more than we had to and the turnovers really killed us.”

Sadie Griswold played well for Jersey Shore, scoring eight points and adding eight rebounds. Sophomore Aubrey Schilling showed why she could be a difference-maker inside as the season progresses, pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds and blocking five shots.

Jersey Shore played hard and did some good things, especially throughout the first half. It was not the result the Bulldogs wanted, but there are positives that can be taken.

“The game plan was to attack the paint and we got their two best players in foul trouble so we were doing good things. Once they got frustrated everything became tighter,” Bischof said. “I told them that’s going to happen but you have to keep working through those moments. It’s continuing to grow from here.”

Hughesville 42,

Jersey Shore 16

JERSEY SHORE (16)

Aubrey Stetts 2 0-0 4, Sadie Griswold 2 4-5 8, Hailey Stetts 0 0-0 0, Brielle Hess 0 0-0 0, Aubrey Schilling 0 0-0 0, Delaney Herbst 1 0-0 2, Sophia Kauffman 1 0-0 2. Totals 6 4-5 16.

HUGHESVILLE (42)

Jade Cordrey 6 3-4 16, Alex Snyder 1 0-0 2, Lauren Henry 3 4-4 9, Cierra Getz 1 1-2 3, Olivia Strother 2 0-0 4, Maria Duff 0 2-2 2, Kayleigh Rooker 0 0-0 0, Grace Pysher 2 0-1 4, Hailey Poust 0 2-2 2. Totals 14 12-14 42.

Jersey Shore 4 4 4 4–16

Hughesville 6 11 17 8–42

3-point goals: Hughesville 2 (Cordrey, Henry).

Records: Hughesville (2-0); Jersey Shore (0-1).

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