Lady Warriors Dominate Bloomfield, Punch Ticket For Group IV Finals With 66-22 Win

Junior Onoseta Ufuah goes in for a shot March 7 during the Lady Warriors’ Group IV championship semi-final game against the Bloomfield Bengals.

UNION TOWNSHIP – If there was ever any doubt about whether the Franklin High School Lady Warrior basketball team would continue its incredible win streak in its North Group IV semi-final against the Bloomfield Bengals on March 7, it was erased within the first few minutes of the game.

The Warriors were up 13-2 a mere 3 1/2 minutes into the first quarter: a steal and coast-to-coast trip by senior Diamond Miller, a layup by junior Kennady Schenck, a field goal by senior Tiana Joy Jackson and yet another steal and score by Miller started what would be a 29-0 run for Franklin.

And it just kept getting worse for Bloomfield; halfway through the second quarter, the Lady Warriors were cruising with a 31-5 lead.

Lady Warriors Coach Audrey Taylor preaches the gospel of defense, and her players sing in the choir.That was evident on March 7, when the Lady Warriors caged the Bengals, keeping the team in single-digits all four quarters.

Franklin out-scored Bloomfield 25-2 in the first quarter, helped along by a couple 3-pointers from senior All-American Diamond Miller and junior Keona Schenck. The score would have been 28-2 if a half-court bomb from Miller at the buzzer hadn’t been called dead by the referees. (A review of video later showed that Miller did beat the buzzer and the 3-pointer should have counted.)

The Bengals managed to put up nine points in the second quarter, but that did little to help dig them out of what would be a 37-11 hole at halftime.

The Lady warriors kept up the pressure on both ends of the court in the third quarter, going on a 17-0 run in the frame;s first six minutes. The run was punctuated by an offensive rebound by Jackson who then took it in herself for a pretty layup.

Bloomfield managed three points in the quarter’s final two minutes, but by then, the writing was on the wall.

The Lady Warriors outscored the Bengals 10-8 in the fourth quarter, during which time the game was being played by benches from both teams.

Taylor said that the Lady warriors; aggressive style of defense may have intimidated the Bengals.

“When we first started and the pressure we started with, they got a little intimidated,” she said. “And then the girls realized they smelled a little blood in the water.”

“The double-teams, rotations, that’s what we do,” Taylor said. “And I think we’re getting the deflections, we’re getting the runs. The key thing was the runs because we knew they were slower than us.”

For Jackson, the team’s defense is the key to its success.

“I think coming out and playing our kind of defense really helps push our offense,” she said.

“The defense is going to be the key to everything, it really is the foundation. When you get a defensive stop, you really feel good about it, you’re, all right let me go score.”

With the win over Bloomfield, the Lady Warriors are only win away from their third c0nsecutive trip to the Tournament of Champions.

The next step is the Group IV championship game, which will be held at 4 p.m. March 1o at RWJ Barnabas Health Arena at Toms River North high school.

Here are some scenes from the game:


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