HADDON TOWNSHIP – The girls on the Rancocas Valley High School basketball team will be relying on their senior leadership to help produce a successful season.
On the other hand, the senior leadership - made up primarily of forward Brianna Boyd and guard Lauren Lewis - will be relying on some of the younger players to do their part as well.
“Me and Lauren know what people think of us and that there are going to have targets on our backs,” said Boyd. “We know we had to be strong as leaders and we’re going to bring our team into everything.”
But, she added, “(the younger players) look up to us as much as we look up to them. We’ve got to show them that we’re poised; that we’re leaders and that we’re understanding. That’s where we have to be.”
It’s a philosophy that’s paid off early in the season for the Red Devils.
On Wednesday they extended their record to 2-0 with a 49-46 win over Lenape in a Carol Stutzen-Harris showcase tournament game played at Paul VI High School.
Boyd led the way with 19 points and Lewis added 16 while playing a fine floor game to lead the victory.
Coach Anthony Corrado acknowledged that both players will have to continue to play well as the Red Devils progress through the season.
He signaled out Lewis as a special player.
“We’re going to go as far as Lauren wants to take us,” Corrado said. “She’s our best shooter, our best scorer and we’re looking for her to continue to be a leader as a senior.
“Between her and Bri, and our other seniors, we expect them to step up and do their jobs. Lauren stepped up tonight."
For her part, Lewis welcomes the role of team leader.
“If I’m on the top of my game,” she said, “then the rest of my team will go off me.”
However, Lewis credited the team with maintaining a consistent level of play throughout the game, even after getting off to a poor start with only three points in the first quarter.
“I think we all played well as a team,” she said. “Our energy level never dropped.”
One of the plays that gave the Red Devils a huge lift came at the halftime buzzer when Jaylen Van Dunk fired in a 3-point goal to create a tie at 17.
“Before that shot we were playing at about 60 percent,” said Boyd. “After that shot we were up to 100 percent.”
The effect was evident in the third quarter when the Red Devils took the lead with a 15-9 advantage as Boyd scored 10 of the points.
Rancocas built the lead to 30-21 at one point, but to the Indians credit they fought off the surge and remained in a close game throughout the fourth quarter.
“We’re going through some things right now,” said Lenape coach Rob Hummel. “We have three losses, but we’re right there and we have to figure out how to get over the hump. The girls play hard. It’s just some situational things.”
Down 32-26 going into the fourth quarter, Lenape pulled to within 34-32 when Kendall Keyes scored two of her team-high 10 points.
But the Indians never could get the game tied to regain the lead they held through a lot of the first half.
Lewis figured in two plays that helped Rancocas take a safe lead. First she scored a basket to extend the margin to four, then made a perfect bounce pass for an assist on another basket.
Rancocas eventually reopened a 47-39 lead, only to see Lenape storm back with seven straight, capped by a 3-point goal by Reagan King with 35 seconds to play.
The Indians then had the ball with a chance to take the lead, but they turned it over on a steal by Lewis, who scored the clinching basket in the final seconds.
Carol Stutzen-Harris Tournament
Rancocas Valley 3 11 15 17- 49
Lenape 6 11 9 20- 46
RV: Brianna Boyd 19, Lauren Lewis 16, Kayla Williams 2, Jayda Love 2, Jaylin Van Dunk 6, Kylie Bradford 2, Christine Coridan 1
Len: Kendall Keyes 10, Kate Seeman 9, Sharon Mulroy 7, Emily Breuninger 7, Reagan King 9, Nevgeh Sutton 4.