Big first quarter boosts Shawnee

Shawnee's Nikola Williams and Celina Foxworth (right)of Timber Creek collide.
Shawnee's Nikola Williams and Celina Foxworth (right)of Timber Creek collide. (         CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 06, 2014

First-year coach Christina McGovern has said throughout this season that she has yet to see her Shawnee girls' basketball team put together a complete game, to play its best for four consecutive quarters.

That still might be true after Tuesday's 50-46 win over Timber Creek.

But one dominant quarter was all it took.

The Renegades outscored the Chargers, 17-6, in the opening period and held on in a game that kept them alive in a tight Olympic Conference Patriot Division race.

"We knew this was a huge game," senior guard Olivia Askin said. "We didn't put any pressure on ourselves but we knew how big it was, and we knew this was a game we really wanted. And I think that helped us get off to such a quick start."

Askin scored a game-high 19 points for Shawnee (14-3 overall, 5-1 conference), ranked No. 9 in South Jersey by The Inquirer. Oddly, she was held scoreless in the first quarter, but she was particularly instrumental down the stretch.

After the first period, No. 8 Timber Creek (9-5, 5-1) chipped away at the lead, making it a four-point game in the final minute.

Askin helped keep Timber Creek at bay, scoring eight points in the fourth quarter, including hitting all six of her free throws.

"There was a lot riding on this game," McGovern said. "And we were able to come out and execute our game plan. Credit to our defense, especially. Minus some lapses, I thought we did a great job defensively."

McGovern said her team was focused not only on the conference implications of this game, but also on revenge after losing at Timber Creek on Jan. 7.

All of that was visible during an overwhelming first quarter in which the Renegades played smothering defense and scored on numerous transition buckets.

The Chargers, as they have been throughout this season, were led by senior point guard Amanda Riiff (11 points) and junior guard Brittany Martin (19). Riif hit three crucial second-half three-pointers to help her team stay alive. Martin's three-pointer with 1 minute, 11 seconds left made the score 46-42.

"I was happy to see us come back the way we did," Chargers coach Donna Clark said.

"I just don't think we started the game ready to play. We were sluggish, we were a step behind everything, and our shots were way off."

Timber Creek 6 13 12 15 – 46

Shawnee 17 13 8 12 – 50

TC: Desiree Furbert 3, Amanda Riiff 11, Brittany Martin 19, Fatimah Williams 1, Joie Brittingham 8, Celina Foxworth 4.

S: Olivia Askin 19, Nikola Williams 9, Jenna Hoffner 3, Jen Byrne 3, Taylor Ryan 4, Amanda Marello 10, Karissa Mansure 2.

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