Krauss shoots Colts Neck past Freehold
Rachael Krauss has spent a decent amount of time recently looking for her perimeter stroke. Based off her marksmanship on Tuesday night, the Colts Neck junior just may have found it.
“The past few games, I haven’t been shooting well,” Krauss said. “My confidence was pretty low.”
Not anymore. Krauss led a perimeter assault by Colts Neck against Freehold Borough’s matchup zone, knocking down four 3-pointers before halftime as the Cougars accumulated 10 treys en route to a 47-30 triumph in the preliminary round of the Shore Conference Tournament in Colts Neck.
Krauss, who transferred from Red Bank Catholic, was expected to give 15th-seeded Colts Neck (12-9) some added presence on the boards once she became eligible. The 5-9 swing has supplied that and then some.
Besides ripping down eight boards, Krauss played an instrumental part in an impactful perimeter showing by the Cougars, who went 10 for 22 from beyond the arc.
“The last few games, I was driving a lot more,” said Krauss, who finished with a game-high 15 points on 5 of 12 shooting from the field, including 4 of 8 from downtown. “But, once my jumper started to drop, I just kept going.”
Krauss drilled a pair of threes in the opening quarter to help Colts Neck to a 13-12 lead and nailed two more during an 11-2 surge midway through the second that ran the advantage to 26-17 with 2:30 left in the half.
“If we can work the ball in and get the ball out, she just nails it,” Colts Neck coach Jeanene Healy said. “As long as we can isolate her with that shot, we’re in pretty good shape. We didn’t have that one person who wanted the ball. And, she’s that player. She wants every rebound. She wants every loose ball. A lot of people are focusing in on her and then, all of the sudden, everybody else is opening up.”
“They weren’t contesting it so we were taking what they gave us,” added senior guard Dawn Mazurkiewicz, who had 10 points, of the availability of outside shots for Colts Neck. “When they came out at us, we drove. When they didn’t, we shot over them. It was really us just reacting.”
Freehold Borough (11-12), the 18th seed, scrapped the zone for man-to-man and drew within 26-21 on a jumper by Sarah Cobb to start the third. However, Colts Neck outscored the Colonials, 12-2 over the next 5:18 behind 3-pointers from freshman Katie Healy, Mazurkiewicz and sophomore Lauren Zborovancik to open a 38-23 bulge.
The long-distance output overshadowed a solid defensive effort by Colts Neck, which limited the Colonials to 11 points in the second half on 4 of 16 shooting.
Camerin Spahn topped Freehold Borough with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Secaucus 59, Becton 34: Julia McClure pumped in 21 points and had five steals to help Secaucus (18-3) clinch the championship of the NJIC Meadowlands A Division title with its ninth straight win. Zaneta Balbuza topped Becton (6-11) with 18 points.
Newark Tech 55, Bloomfield Tech 54: Senior center Yasmin Cooper converted a free throw with 31 seconds left that snapped a deadlock for Newark Tech (16-8). Cooper had 13 points and 22 rebounds while Dawn Green added 18 points and six steals. Ashunae Durant topped Bloomfield Tech (16-6) with 18 points.
Gregg Lerner covers girls basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner