By Jim Hintelmann
HOLMDEL – Holmdel’s new coach, Todd Hampton, installed a new system for his team and it took a while for things to get organized, but the Hornets seem to have settled in and looked impressive in a 59-48 win over Middletown South to win its first Bayshore Christmas Tournament since 1992.
“We had 14 days to put in a new system,” said Hampton. “Your backs are against the wall but give the girls a lot of credit because they are starting to execute a little better now. We’re not there yet but are getting close.
“Our defensive rotation, which we haven’t done all year, so we tried (to) close them out and contain them,” said Hampton. “We wanted to deny them ball reversal, and that was it in a nutshell.”
The game started out on a fast pace with both teams shooting very well. Middletown South made five of its first six shots, but the game was tied at 10-10 because Holmdel had made four field goals in a row.
South’s shooting, though, began to fall off, but Holmdel’s accuracy from the floor remained and the Hornets moved out to a 24-12 lead with 3:05 remaining in the half.
South, however, found its scoring touch and scored the last eight points of the half to make it a four-point game.
Holmdel (5-1) settled down here and scored the first eight points of the third quarter on a three-pointer by Tori Cardaci, and a lay up and three-pointer by tournament Most Valuable Player Tara Inman to increase its lead to 32-20.
“This is great,” said Inman, the game’s high scorer with 20 points. “We weren’t supposed to win this, but we came out fast.”
Holmdel had a 43-30 lead entering the final quarter, but South made another run and closed it to 49-43 on a three-pointer by Jackie Dluhi, but Amanda Hall and Inman followed with baskets to put the game away.
“They were too fast for us,” said South coach Tom Brennan. “We’re not built to go at that speed for 32 minutes.
“When they went up by 12 with three to go in the second quarter, we got our kids to calm down and buy into the idea with that much time left, they could slow down.
“Both runs that we made took an awful lot out of us,” said Brennan. “We had been playing very well up until now but the pace, offensively, was too much for us.”