Florence coach remains positive this basketball season

Florence forward, Justin Tisdale, looks for open room on the court as he tries to dribble past Bordentown's Aiden Kennedy in a rival matchup at Bordentown on Jan. 31. Bordentown defeated Florence, 81-55. Photo by Thomas Wiedmann

A positive attitude has outshined the defeats this winter for the Florence Township High School boys’ basketball team.

Florence’s neighbor and rival, Bordentown Regional High School, which has been enjoying a strong season, kept its winning ways with an 81-55 victory over visiting Florence on Jan. 31.

Florence coach Cesar Pereda remains optimistic.

“We’re having a rough season right now, but we’ve been at practice every day, working hard,” Pereda said. “We’re getting better, but we’ve just got to play a complete game.”

Pereda has noticed improvements.

“We’ve shown it in spurts – shown it at times, and there are times where we breakdown and have to mature and overcome that,” he said.

And not quitting is another positive trait that leaves the Florence coach pleased.

Florence trailed Bordentown by 21 points at halftime on Jan. 31, but the Flashes stormed out in the third period behind forward Cole Connelly. Florence’s solid effort in the third period cut the Bordentown lead to 12 points.

Connelly ended the game with 24 points, a showing that included six three-pointers. Justin Tisdale was finding the opportunities to feed the ball to Connelly while also contributing to the Florence offense against Bordentown were  Dayo Olatubosun and Shaharia Shajib, who each ended with six points.

Bordentown, which moved to 8-8 after the victory, was led by its standout, Jordan Martin, who fired in 25 points.

Although a come-from-behind victory  did not happen, Pereda complemented his team’s determination.

It was not meant to be for the Flashes, Pereda complimented his team’s determination to battle back in the second half.

“We came out a little flat early on, [Bordentown] was making their shots and we were 10-0 starting off the game. It’s been hard for us, scoring-wise,” Pereda said. “In the second half, we battled a little bit, played hard defense and cut [the deficit] down to 12 at one point, but there were key turnovers in certain situations for us, which they capitalized on us and built their lead right back up.”

Pereda plans to carry forward with his squad, which slipped to 1-17 after the loss, and build on the positive aspects rather than a focus in final results.

“We just have to keep playing – keep fighting. It’s never over,” he said. “Any lead can be cut. [Bordentown] was up by 20 points and we cut it down to 12, but again, we’ve got to withstand that another quarter.”

The Flashes will look to bounce back in their next game against Northern Burlington at home on Feb. 8.