South girls are faring well against a difficult schedule

first_img Eagles playing .500 ball as state playoff deadline approaches By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer Prior to the season, Middletown High School South girls’ basketball coach Tom Brennan was hoping his young team would be at the .500 mark after 10 games. With Saturday’s 31-28 win over Freehold Township, the Eagles are 5-5, and Brennan was optimistic that his team will have a strong second half. “We’re where I wanted them to be,” the coach said. “We could have maybe been 7-3, but this is a very young team, and you have to keep things in perspective. They’re learning and gaining experience with each game, and they’re getting better and better.” The Eagles’ .500 record is a result of “gutting out” several games, he acknowledged. Middletown South has, at times, had trouble scoring, as evidenced by a 25 percent shooting percentage from the floor. While that has hurt, Brennan is confident that number will improve. Middletown South also plays in the Shore Conference’s tough Class B North division, which includes St. John Vianney (7-1 overall), Monmouth Regional (6-3), Holmdel (8-4), and a Raritan (4-6) team that is better than its record indicates. “Our girls are really being put to the test in the division,” Brennan said. “I think it’s one of the best divisions in the entire Shore, and the teams are beating up on each other. They all play tough, tenacious styles, and that’s helped us play better.” Although young as a team, South’s seniors have led the way. Point guard Allison Oliver has been solid throughout the campaign, leading the team in scoring with a 14-point average, despite playing with tendonitis in one knee. Nicole Baldessari is averaging 12 points, while playing with a should injury. “Allison and Nicole have been outstanding for us,” Brennan said. “Allison is so consistent, she moves the ball well and has a nice shot, while Nicole brings so much to our team, even when she’s not scoring, because she does all the little things like boxing out and setting picks.” The Eagles have also received solid play from another senior, forward Lindsay Moran, an excellent defensive player who averages seven rebounds and two points. Brennan’s younger players have responded well. Sophomore forward Brianne Moran, Lindsay’s sister, has become a presence under the hoop and is averaging four points. Freshman guards Caitlin Kenah and Michelle Whalen have been getting more minutes as the season progresses, and are playing well, the coach noted. Sophomores Kaitlyn Maloney and Cara DeCicco also see action up front. With the Feb. 8 deadline for qualifying for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III tourney looming (teams must be at or above .500 at the end of play that day), the Eagles face a difficult week. Middletown South was slated to host Holmdel yesterday and will travel to St. John Vianney tomorrow before playing Raritan on Monday. “The next two weeks are critical for us,” Brennan said. “The good thing is that we’ve played well enough to be in contention. It’s up to us to keep it going.” By Warren RappleyeaStaff Writer Eagles playing .500 ball as state playoff deadline approaches last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *