SOUTHAMPTON>> Saturday, the Jenkintown Drakes found themselves in the same place they’ve been for 4 of the last 5 seasons, back in the PIAA-A state tournament.
They used their experience they’ve gained during those prior trips to states, and tough defense, to cruise past Greenwood 46-28 and earn a spot in the next round.
“Last season we made it this far and lost in the second round so now we’re able to try and get past that point,’ said Jenkintown guard Jen Kremp. “We’re able to use our past years making it to states to drive us in practice. We think about all the other teams that are in the same position as us and know we can’t take it for granted.’
Saturday, that preparation showed, especially on the defensive end.
Right from the opening tip, the Drakes looked like the superior team as they shut out Greenwood in the opening quarter on their way to a 13-0 lead.
Kremp was especially sharp in the first as she tallied 9 points, on her way to 21 for the game.
She could have had even more, but elected to give up the ball in some situations around the rim. It’s encouraging when you’re leading scorer also has a pass-first mentality, but head coach Jim Romano says sometimes he wishes she would be a little more selfish.
“Jen (Kremp) Is one of our leaders and she always seems to come up big in big games,’ said Romano. “I think sometimes she could even shoot a little more and I’d like to see her keep the ball a little more. I’d love to play on the same team as her because I know I’d be getting the ball a lot that’s for sure.’
What’s even more encouraging for the Drakes is they didn’t shoot the ball all that well and still managed an 18-point victory.
Usually a good shooting team, they shot just 28% from the field but managed to power through their struggles from the floor to advance.
“We looked okay but our shooting, the missed layups, usually I’d call that jitters but these girls have been here before’, said Romano. “This is not their first rodeo so to speak so I’m a little bit disappointed in that. Defensively though, that’s about as well as we could have played and it showed.’
In the second quarter, Greenwood started to find a rhythm offensively, but it wasn’t enough to make up for their first quarter goose-egg that kept them playing catchup for the entire night.
Next up for Jenkintown is Southern Fulton. The Drakes will once again rely on their strong defense and experience to try and get past their second-round hurdle that’s troubled them in the past and will look to shoot the ball better as well.
They know that they can’t accomplish the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the year if they continue to shoot a low percentage.
“I guess we’re going to just have to keep having them shoot over the next week,’ said Romano with a grin on his face. “I’m telling you we shoot and shoot and shoot in practice but I guess we’re going to need a little more practice if we want to beat some of the teams that are left.’