The Colts Neck girls basketball team fell behind early in the first quarter and couldn’t recover against a hot shooting Shawnee squad and as a result lost Wednesday night’s NJSIAA Group IV semifinal 66-48 at Timber Creek High School.
“We gave up two many 3-pointers unfortunately, but (the girls) never stopped playing hard,” Colts Neck coach Glenn Jansen said. “They cut Shawnee’s lead to four points in the second half. Hats off to Shawnee, they had the hot hand and we couldn’t match that.”
Shawnee’s Nikola Williams (20 points) displayed that hot hand in the first quarter when she scored 11 of her team’s 14 points and the Renegades (26-4) took a 14-7 lead.
Shawnee’s lead grew to 26-17 at halftime, as the Renegades’ Jen Byrne (13 points) had the hot hand in the second quarter with six points.
“We ran into a really hot team that has been shooting the ball well all tournament long and we couldn’t get back into the game,” Jansen said. “We don’t usually give up that many 3-pointers and we left some hot hands open.”
The Cougars (19-10) gave up eight 3-pointers with Shawnee’s Olivia Askin making half of them to finish with 14 points.
“It is tough to come back from that when you are not firing on all cylinders offensively,” Jansen said.
Colts Neck made five 3-pointers with all but one of them coming in the second half. The Cougars’ Noelle Frost (13 points) made one in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, and Lauren Zborovancik (13 points) made a 3-pointer in every quarter but the second quarter. Frost scored 11 points in the second half and Zborovancik had eight points in the second half as the Cougars tried to keep up with Shawnee.
But Shawnee’s offense only got better as the game went along and Colts Neck couldn’t match that output. The Renegades had 25 fourth-quarter points with Williams and Byrne leading the way with seven points each and that prevented Colts Neck from making a comeback.
“We won every game except for one to get (to a state semifinal) by double digits. Today was a tough draw,” Jansen said. “It was a neutral location, two and half hours away from Colts Neck and with no point guard as Kaity Healy suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter against Hunterdon Central on Monday. But the seniors played valiantly on Monday night.”
The Cougars had four seniors start on Wednesday night, forward Lindsey Bosland (four points), guard Jenna Looney (eight points), forward Elissa Moody (eight points) and guard Lauren Zborovancik and after the game, coach Jansen thanked them for their effort in his first season as the Colts Neck girls head coach. Previously, he was an assistant coach on the boys basketball team before taking over the girls program.
Colts Neck (48): Frost 5 1-2 13, Bosland 2 0-0 4, Looney 4 0-0 8, Moody 3 2-2 8, Zabrovcik 4 2-2 13, Roth 1 0-1 2, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Molnar 0 0-0 0; Totals: 19 5-7 48.
Shawnee (66): Williams 7 6-6 20, Ryan 1 5-6 8, Askin 4 2-2 14, Cugliotta 0 1-2 1, Byrne 3 4-4 13, Mansure 2 0-0 4, Hoffner 1 0-0 2, Morello 2 0-1 4; Totals: 20 18-21 66.
3-point goals: (CN) Frost 2, Zabrovancik 3; (S) Askin 3, Byrne 3, Ryan; Records: Colts Neck (19-10), Shawnee (26-4).