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TOMS RIVER - Let the record show that the defense of Colts Neck may be susceptible to certain elements of the game, quick to react with a defensive alteration and, above all else, when it comes to the court of basketball, never rests its case. 

When Neptune made some first-half impressions with its combination of speed and elusiveness working the ball inside, Colts Neck buckled but didn’t break. It countered a mounting plague of foul trouble by taking a two-point lead at the break and preserved that advantage the rest of the way with shift from man-to-man into a 2-3 zone, a move the gave the Cougars defensive rigidity, closer proximity to the boards and the necessary energy to develop a more consistent offensive rhythm to finish the task.

Senior guard Camryn Foltz buried all four of her 3-pointers in the second half on the way to a game-high 23 points and junior guard Jess Thesing balanced her active defensive nature with a versatile scoring touch that was responsible for 19 as ninth-seeded Colts Neck stormed past eight-seeded Neptune, 59-44, in the nightcap of the first round of the WOBM Christmas Classic at RWJ Barnabas Health Arena on Sunday.


*Watch highlights from the opening round of the WOBM Christmas Classic "We went into it because we started accumulating fouls," said Colts Neck coach Steve Jannarone of his defensive realignment. "We were trying to buy a couple minutes but it worked out far better than that. We were able to get long rebounds and some run outs and its slowed the pace of the game for them." Nursing a 28-26 edge at the half, Colts Neck vehemently denied opportunities for Neptune to get over the hump. Thesing closed out slick sophomore counterpart Ahjanae Young with lateral movement atop the 2-3 that cut off penetration. Additionally, Thesing was the beneficiary of the fast breaks the Cougars created, scoring 12 points over the final two quarters but being just as valuable overseeing that transiton game with heady feeds.
Jess Thesing of Colts Neck (left) guards Neptune's Ahjanae Young (Photo by Gregg Lerner)

Foltz, who accounted for nine points in the first half, all on buckets in or around the basket, changed her shooting vantage in the third quarter. She sank back-to-back threes during a12-3 burst that built a 40-29 cushion with 4:50 showing in the stanza. After Neptune ran off eight consecutive points to draw within three, 40-37, the Cougars fashioned a game-breaking rebuttal, running off 13 successive points in an uprising that bridge the last two quarters and widened their margin to 53-37.

Camryn Foltz of Colts Neck (Photo by Gregg Lerner)

 

"I think we spread the floor a lot better in the second half," noted Foltz. "We also started to get a lot of things in transition and those are the easiest buckets to get. As soon as we got that going, we were rolling. Out shots were more collected. I started getting my feet under me, having the time to set them and get position to shoot." "They are a great team," said Thesing, praising Neptune. "Once we started passing the ball, our offensive moved quicker and found better shots. We moved the ball fast and that was huge for us."

Macy Brackett of Neptune (Photo by Gregg Lerner)

It's out of the frying pan and into the fire for Colts Neck, which got a boost off the bench from sophomore guard Taryn Jacobs, who scored seven, and rugged post defense out of 5-9 junior forward Chance Gagliardi. Up next, they face top-seeded and two-time defending champion Manchester on Dec. 27 in the quarterfinal round.

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