Pineiro, Lord fuel Audubon turnaround

Valerie Pineiro (left) and Maddie Lord have led the Green Wave to a 17-6 record this season. MARC NARDUCCI / Staff
Valerie Pineiro (left) and Maddie Lord have led the Green Wave to a 17-6 record this season. MARC NARDUCCI / Staff
Posted: February 24, 2014

The Audubon girls' basketball team has quietly elevated its program with some impressive individual and team achievements.

And of course, one has led to the other.

Before this season, the Green Wave hadn't had a 1,000-point scorer since Nicole Cannon in 2001. Then, in a span of less than two weeks, seniors Valerie Pineiro and Maddie Lord accomplished the feat.

"It's pretty cool," said Pineiro, who will attend La Salle on a softball scholarship.

Lord will cherish not only her milestone, but also how it was achieved. Her sister Erica, an Audubon starter, had an easy scoring opportunity but chose to pass the ball to Maddie during Monday's 59-32 win over Lindenwold.

"It was awesome the way it happened," Lord said.

Pineiro and Lord couldn't be more different as players, but they have come together to create a formidable scoring duo.

A 5-foot-10 forward, Pineiro can hurt teams from the perimeter but isn't afraid to take the ball inside. She does a little bit of everything, not just score. This is her third season at Audubon after attending Williamstown as a freshman.

Lord is a 5-4 bundle of energy, a point guard with pizzazz. She has great vision and a nonstop motor, and if defenders back off her, she will make them pay from beyond the arc.

Lord is a fourth-year varsity performer, and during her freshman year, Audubon set a single-season school record with 17 wins.

The Green Wave have tied that mark this season, improving to 17-6 by defeating Buena on Friday.

This makes four consecutive years of sustained winning. Audubon averaged 16 victories the previous three seasons.

Lord was a key contributor on a senior-laden team that set the mark of 17 wins in 2010-11. Her impact is even greater this season.

And make no mistake, she and Pineiro will look to extend their careers as long as possible. For Pineiro, that means softball practice can wait a little.

"This is my last year playing basketball, so it is special," she said.

Lord, also an all-conference soccer player, plans to play basketball in college, although she hasn't made a choice. A certified gym rat, she gets hyped even for a scrimmage in December.

"It means everything to go as far as we can," Lord said.

Both seniors are also inspired by coach Cheryl Clark, now in her ninth season. Clark was a star at Gloucester Catholic and recently was inducted into South Jersey's Basketball Hall of Fame.

"She makes it so much fun to play here," Lord said.

Added Pineiro: "We want to make her proud and happy because she does so much for us."

That is something that has clearly occurred.

"It has been an enjoyable season, and with all the hard work and the camaraderie, it's nice to see the success we are having," Clark said. "So many members of the community have come up to me and told me how excited they are for us."

The Green Wave are seeded fourth in the coming South Jersey Group 1 tournament. Defending South Jersey champion Gloucester is the top seed and Haddon Township the No. 2 seed, and both are favored for a sectional-final rematch.

Audubon, which lost twice to Haddon Township this season, is considered in the next tier. The Green Wave have improved all season and are confident they can be competitive.

That's why Pineiro wants to hold off her time in the batting cage and Lord relishes the chance for one more playoff run.


mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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