For nine minutes and nine seconds, everything the West Deptford High School girls' basketball team did worked.
Over that same span, nothing Collingswood did went right.
Trailing by three with 7:12 left in the third quarter, the Eagles locked down the defense, igniting a surge of 21-straight points to break open an 18-point lead, and cruised to a 61-36 victory in Colonial Conference action Tuesday.
West Deptford forced 12 turnovers during the span, using the press to stifle Collingswood and generate easy buckets of its own. It also had success against a zone defense, something that had given it problems in the past.
“We were able to talk on defense and push the ball a lot more instead of just forcing things,” said West Deptford senior Kelly Brewster. “We worked better as a team.”
The Eagles (9-6 overall, 6-3 Colonial) dispatched the Panthers 66-24 earlier this season but struggled to maintain a lead through the first half on Tuesday. They led 14-10 after the first quarter, but didn’t score in the second until Brewster connected on a free throw with 4:15 left.
“We just started slowing the game down and that’s not us,” said junior Danielle McKeown, who scored a team-high 12 points. “We need to run the ball all the time.”
Collingswood (4-11) led 24-19 entering the final minute of the half but West Deptford turned two late turnovers into five quick points to end the half tied at 24. Once in the locker room the team diagnosed and fixed its problems.
“We talked at halftime and there was just no energy defensively in the first half,” West Deptford head coach J McKeown said. “That happens sometimes when teams are in a zone and we are trying to pressure and play man. Our kids get lulled to sleep in their passion to play defense. At halftime we were talking about having to talk and get after it.”
The Eagles did just that, working the full-court press to perfection. Collingswood’s Erika Witherbee (game-high 17 points) opened the third with a three-pointer, but the Panthers wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter.
“In the first half we weren’t talking on defense,” junior Danielle McKeown said.” Just talking was the big key. We were much louder and started pushing the tempo. That’s what we need to get into to play our game.”
The communication also helped on the offensive end as 16 of the Eagles’ 19 field goals came off of assists.
“We weren’t selfish,” said Brewster. “It feels good when everyone works because it makes it a lot easier not depending on one player.”
Brewster finished with 11 points, while Tina D’Aiutolo had 10 and Lauren Boegly and Megan Kirschling each had nine, demonstrating the team’s depth and willingness to share the basketball.
West Deptford 61, Collingswood 36
Collingswood 10 14 3 9 - 36
West Deptford 14 10 21 16 - 61
Collingswood: LaBar 2, O’Neill 10, Witherbee 17, Worthington 7.
West Deptford: Barger 2, Boegly 9, Brewster 11, Bundy 2, D’Aiutolo, Kirschling 9, Knoblock 2, McKeown 12, Minnte 4.