PERTH AMBOY — Right from the start of Thursday night’s matchup against Red Division rival Perth Amboy, the Piscataway High School girls basketball team ramped up the defensive pressure and smothered the Panthers. Piscataway, No. 2 in the The Home News Tribune Top 10, forced 22 turnovers and used an 18-5 second quarter surge to pull away for a 72-35 victory.
Senior Kiki Bynes played another solid all-around game, scoring a game-high 13 points, pulling down 11 rebounds and dishing out four assists, all while spearheading the full-court trap defense.
“The difference was our defense tonight,” Piscataway head coach Corey Floyd said. “We like to pick it up from the beginning of the game and make them rush a little bit and force them to turn the ball over to us. That was a key for us tonight and we base our whole team off of defense every game.”
Perth Amboy (0-7) turned the ball over six times in the opening quarter, but was within seven at 20-13. In the second quarter, Piscataway (4-2) turned the Panthers over eight more times and saw seven different players make a basket to create an insurmountable lead of 38-18 at the half. Bynes scored nine of her 13 points in the first half, as she displayed a great deal of senior leadership on the floor, directing her younger teammates and leading fast breaks.
“Kiki is one of our leaders and she was really vocal tonight. She pushed the ball in transition and she’s our floor general,” Floyd said. “When she gets going, everyone else falls into line and goes with her.”
Kendrea Williams scored 13 points and Alleira McCoy added 12 points and eight rebounds to balance out the offensive output for the Chiefs. On the night, all but two players that entered the game had at least two points.
“We have a deep bench and we have some outside shooters that we can bring off the bench, so when we play a lot of people, the scoring should be balanced like it was tonight. Being able to balance everything out was big for us,” Floyd said.
The Chiefs put the game away on the glass, hauling in 43 rebounds as a team, led by Bynes’ 11, but Floyd wasn’t pleased with the number of boards his squad left on the floor.
Perth Amboy pulled down 36 rebounds, many of which were on the offensive glass.
“We gave up too many second and third shots on the glass tonight; we need to tighten that up and be more aggressive on the boards going forward,” he said. “Against good teams, we’re not going to be able to get away with a performance like tonight. I’m OK with how we did on the defensive glass at times, but we gave up too many secondary opportunities.”
Derilis Valerio was the bright spot of the night for Perth Amboy, the defending GMC Red Division champions, as she scored 12 points and came down with 11 rebounds. But only three others players scored for the Panthers, who have gone through some growing pains this season. Oldania Pena added 10 points and eight rebounds for Perth Amboy.