UNION – So far the pattern has been eerily similar two games into the season.
Roselle Catholic’s girls’ basketball team struggles a bit in the first half and is outscored in one of the first two quarters.
Then the Lions turn it on in the second half as they have limited their first two foes to less than double digit points in both the third and fourth quarters while increasing the pace themselves offensively.
So what will happen when Roselle Catholic, arguably the best team in UnionCounty right now, plays up to its capabilities for a full 32 minutes?
I don’t think the rest of the teams on Roselle Catholic’s schedule want to find out any time soon.
Roselle Catholic improved to 2-0 overall and 2-0 in the Watchung Division of the Union County Conference Saturday after soundly defeating Union 57-31 at Union High School’s Louis J. Rettino Gymnasium.
Union fell to 1-1 overall and 1-1 in the division. The Farmers opened Friday with a 41-25 division home win over Plainfield.
Roselle Catholic opened with a 45-28 division victory at Linden Friday. The Lions were outscored 11-10 in the second quarter for a 16-16 halftime tie before they won the third and fourth quarters 14-4 and 15-8.
Against Union, Roselle Catholic was outscored 12-10 in the first quarter. After coming back to lead 30-22 at intermission, the Lions won the third and fourth quarters 12-7 and 15-2.
Roselle Catholic scored the first 15 points of the fourth quarter as part of a game-best 21-0 run.
“We did a better job defensively dictating where we want the ball to go in both second halves,” Roselle Catholic head coach Joe Skrec said. “We’ve played with more intensity, but we need to do that right from the beginning.”
Union had its full court press working right away and scored the game’s first basket off it when junior Adora Monome banked in a shot off the glass. She finished with eight points.
It was a steal and a layup by senior Tessa Dolce that gave Union its biggest lead of six points at 12-6 late in the first quarter. That basket also came off Union’s press.
Roselle Catholic began to stem the tide a bit by scoring the final two baskets of the first quarter, the first on a jumper by junior Tyffani McQueen and the second an inside hoop by junior Dolapo Balogun.
The Lions then began to find their groove in the second quarter, making nine of 13 field goal attempts, scoring inside, outside and at the free throw line. They went to their full court press and began to score off it the way Union was scoring off its own in the first eight minutes.
Alieyah Cubbage sank two of her eight baskets, finishing with 16 points, while senior Tori Pozsonyi scored her first eight points, including three buckets inside.
“We need to keep our composure,” said Cubbage, who like Pozsonyi is a returning starter. “I think we rattled them a bit when we were knocking down our shots.”
Poszonyi, who played varsity as a freshman and has started since her sophomore season, will continue playing in college at Colgate. She led Roselle Catholic and all players in scoring in both games, netting 16 vs. Linden and then 17 against Union after not scoring a single point in the first quarter.
“We knew that Union was going to be aggressive, so we had to be athletic and play up to their level,” said Pozsonyi, who came down with four rebounds after grabbing a team-high eight vs. Linden. “We eventually played well together, lifting each other up.”
Roselle Catholic scored the final five points of the third quarter, the last four of those from the free throw line, to lead 42-29 going into the fourth.
Cubbage, a junior, netted the first three baskets of the fourth quarter, the first on a layup, the second off an offensive rebound and the third inside.
Baskets followed from Poszyonyi, a conventional 3-point play; freshman Jen McClure and senior point guard Kate Tobie, who is averaging eight assists after two games.
Tobie, another returning starter and who will continue playing in college at MontclairState, played solid defense on Union senior Wendy Berry, who came off the bench to score six points, making only two of her field goal attempts. Tobie also provides steady ball-handling, especially under pressure situations.
NOTES:Roselle Catholic outscored Union 27-9 in the second half after outscoring Linden 29-12 in the final 16 minutes.
Sophomore Jasmine Bonaparte paced Union with nine points, netting six in the first half.
Balogun led Roselle Catholic with seven rebounds.
Berry’s only free throw pulled Union to within seven points at 36-29 near the end of the third quarter. Roselle Catholic followed with a game-closing 21-2 run.
Pozsonyi scored nine points in the second half, including five-for-five from the foul line.
McQueen came off the bench to contribute eight points, the junior back from a knee injury.
UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE-WATCHUNG DIVISION
ROSELLE CATHOLIC (2-0, 2-0) 10 20 12 15 – 57
UNION (1-1, 1-1) 12 10 7 2 – 31
ROSELLE CATHOLIC LIONS (57):
32-Tori Pozsonyi, senior, 5-0-7-17
14-Kate Tobie, senior, 2-0-0-4
23-Jen McClure, freshman, 1-0-0-2
12-Alieyah Cubbage, junior, 8-0-0-16
4-Dolapo Balogun, junior, 3-0-2-8
10-Tyffani McQueen, junior, 4-0-0-8
21-Ashley Skrec, junior, 1-0-0-2
Starters: Balogun, Cubbage,
Tobie, Skrec, Pozsonyi.
UNION FARMERS (31):
21-Jasmine Bonaparte, sophomore, 4-0-1-9
24-Wendy Berry, senior, 1-1-1-6
15-Adora Monome, junior, 4-0-0-8
13-Kya Reddick, junior, 1-0-0-2
35-Salena King, senior, 2-0-0-4
11-Tessa Dolce, senior, 1-0-0-2
Starters: Bonaparte, Dolce,
Monome, King, Reddick.
UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE
alignment for 2013-2014 season:
WATCHUNG DIVISION (8 schools)
Defending champion:Roselle Catholic
MOUNTAIN DIVISION (8 schools)
Defending champion:New Providence
VALLEY DIVISION (7 schools)
St. Mary’s, Elizabeth
NOTES: The only change was Hillside and Roselle switching divisions.
Roselle Catholic is the 3-time defending Watchung Division champion.
New Providence is the defending Mountain Division champion.
Hillside won the Valley Division the last two years.