A strong second half performance led Colts Neck to a Shore Conference Class A North divisional win over Marlboro 39-35 on Friday night.
After losing to Freehold Township at the buzzer earlier in the season, the Cougars were able to come away with a close win over the Mustangs.
Colts Neck head coach Glenn Jansen was happy with the way his team battled all game, as the Cougars threw several early defensive looks at Marlboro. Colts Neck showed a 2-3 zone, 3-2 zone, and even man-to-man all in the first quarter of the game, holding Marlboro to just five total points at the end of one.
“We mixed up a couple zones early, but we were really just trying to run on both sides of the ball,” Jansen said.
“They aren’t as deep as some of the teams that we played, so we wanted to also stretch out their possessions of the ball, and not let them get any quick easy shots.”
Even with the solid defensive effort in the first half, Colts Neck still struggled on the offensive side of the ball. The Cougars trailed 15-13 heading into the half, and Jansen knew some adjustments had to be made in the second half.
“I really wanted them to attack the rim, and not just settle for jump shots,” Jansen said.
“We were able to finish at better angles, and we spread them out a little more in the second half.”
The Cougars used the pick and roll better, as Lauren Zborovancik was able to get some easy buckets for the Cougars, scoring 9 of her 13 points in the second half.
The big shot for Colts Neck came late in the fourth quarter after Kaity Healy split two Marlboro defenders and found a wide open Jenna Looney for three, putting the Cougars up 8.
“Jenna hit that big three for us, which was unconventional at the time,” Jansen said.
Rebounding has been a weakness for the Cougars late in games, however tonight they were able to get some timely ones in the fourth quarter.
“They really battled on the glass tonight, down the stretch we had some huge rebounds from almost everybody,” Jansen said.
Playing these close games in A North will only make teams better late in the season, and Jansen has seen the improvement he has been looking for from the Cougars.
Limiting turnovers to just four in the second half was also key in the win.
“That was really big for us, we got a little tired towards the end of some of those other games and turned the ball over,” Jansen said.
“We are 8-1 here on our home court, so this was another big win for us tonight.”
Lindsey Bosland finished with 10 points and Jenna Looney also added 13 points for the Cougars. Haley Unger finished with a game-high 17 points for the Mustangs, but was held to just 7 points in the second half.
Chris Parker firstname.lastname@example.org