CINNAMINSON--- When Cinnaminson started 0-4, the Pirates’ belief never wavered.
After their 61-40 win over Woodbury on Friday, the Pirates are 8-4 with a few big wins on their resume and a quarterfinal berth in the South Jersey Invitational Basketball Tournament.
“With the 0-4 start, we talked about why we had those games on our schedule and what they could do for us,” Cinnaminson head coach Bret Jenkins said. “Luckily, as coaches, the girls never lost confidence.”
“Sometimes when you have a 0-4 team, you don’t know how they’re going to handle it and they didn’t let it bother them,” Jenkins said. “ I think it really made a difference with the run we’re currently on.”
All it took was a quick defensive adjustment on Friday to create separation from the Thundering Herd and shut down star guard DarRique Smith.
“We were playing like a box-and-one so I was on (Smith),” Cinnaminson guard Maddie Parrish said. “Once she made the first one, I realized I had to get out on her so I started pressuring her so she couldn’t get her shots off.”
The defensive pressure forced the Thundering Herd out of their rhythm right away, and it allowed the Pirates to open up a double-digit lead by halftime.
“It motivates me a lot and I work really hard so she can’t get any shots off,” Parrish said. “Once we shut a player down that, we’re pretty much guaranteed to win if we execute on the other end.”
“They came out hot. I thought we had pretty decent defense on the threes,” Jenkins said. “We called timeout and made little adjustments to make sure we had hands up and if they’re going to make a three, we want it to be out in NBA or college range. I thought the girls did a great job of doing that.”
In addition to receiving strong defense from their guards, the Pirates received a strong outing from do-it-all senior Maddie Ogden, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds.
“The great thing about (Ogden) is she does everything,” Jenkins said. “She handles the ball, she shoots, she passes, she rebounds and she plays defense. Tonight she played well in those five phases. She really makes everyone around her better.”
Cinnaminson now has wins over a pair of strong Group 1 teams in Haddon Township and Woodbury, experience against Sterling, Moorestown Friends and Trenton Catholic and more tests on the schedule, including when the Pirates embark on the final eight of the SJIBT.
“They’re all really important because we want as many power points as possible,” Parrish said. “They’re all really important. We all work really hard so we can keep it going and get the crowd at home in the playoffs.”
“There’s some heavy hitters left so regardless of who we get, we’re going to get somebody great, which is why you enter this tournament,” Jenkins said. “The teams we started off the season with, then we had Haddon Township and we have Lenape in two weeks. It makes it fun. It’s why you join a tournament like this.”