South Brunswick wins Brunswick Tournament with tough defense

NEW BRUNSWICK — In what is becoming a customary outcome, the South Brunswick High School girls basketball team limited its opponent to less than 30 points on Saturday. This time, in the All-Brunswick Holiday Tournament final, the Vikings yielded less than six points in three different quarters and got just enough offense to emerge victorious, 35-24 over East Brunswick.

After winning 38-19 Friday against New Brunswick and eight days after allowing just 28 points to Woodbridge, South Brunswick (3-0) continued its great work on defense. The Bears scored just three points in both the first and third quarters and only five in the fourth to waste a second-quarter surge that saw them tie the score at 16-16 at intermission.

“We played a very good first quarter and then we were very flat in the second quarter. It was a good lesson for us though; East Brunswick is not going to lie down and they came out, knocking down three’s and they were feeling it offensively,” South Brunswick coach Jeff Johnson said.

Julia Simoes bookended the first half with a pair of 3-pointers for East Brunswick (2-1), one coming in the game’s opening seconds and the other as the first-half buzzer sounded. In between, reserve forward Kim Anderson got hot from the outside, making a pair of 3-pointers and another jumper from just inside the arc for eight quick points off the bench. Anderson also added four rebounds in sparse minutes for the Bears.

Taylor Brantley controlled the paint for South Brunswick in the first half, collecting all eight of her points and six of her nine rebounds in the game’s opening 16 minutes. Brantley, along with Jackie Harrison, helped limit East Brunswick to one-and-done on many occasions Saturday, cleaning the boards and starting offensive chances for the Vikings. Harrison finished with eight points and 12 rebounds.

“I’m really proud of the way we came out in the second half and we battled. We controlled the boards, so when their shots weren’t going in, it was one-and-done,” Johnson said.

The Vikings outrebounded East Brunswick 37-17.

South Brunswick has allowed just 71 points in three games, but its offense hasn’t exactly been in top gear. After scoring 58 points in their opener against Woodbridge, the Vikings managed just 73 points in the tournament.

Johnson said that his team has been executing well, but the baskets just haven’t gone down.

“Two games in a row now this weekend where it’s almost been like there’s been a lid on the basket for us; we’re getting in the lane and things just aren’t falling for us,” he said. “But if we keep playing that hard, it’ll work out. We played hard and got a win on the road and that’s a big thing for us.”

After getting herself into foul trouble early on, freshman forward Natalia Louhisdon scored all 10 of her points after intermission. Louhisdon made three out of four free throws late to clinch it for South Brunswick after the Bears intentionally fouled to put the Vikings in the bonus.

“I had to tell her to stop passing the ball there at the end, because she’s really solid at the line,” Johnson said. “Forget about her being a freshman; nothing fazed her. And you need players like that to take the ball and go to the line and help us win a game.”

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