Being at or just above .500 has been the sticking point for the Old Bridge High School girls’ basketball team this season.
The Knights are hoping that their crucial Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division victory over John P. Stevens High School on Jan. 14 at Old Bridge High School will be another starting point to a big winning streak as it was last season.
Old Bridge was a three-point making machine to edge out their division rival this season in Old Bridge when the Knights connected on a grand total of nine three-pointers to earn a 57-54 victory over J.P. Stevens to improve to 5-4 on the season.
Last season, Old Bridge used home-court advantage to knock off J.P. Stevens, which was were undefeated in Red Division play at the time. Old Bridge then went on to win five straight games after that to make it to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
“We have great senior leadership on one side of the spectrum and on the other side, we’re young and building,” said Old Bridge coach Alec Alspach. “This a good win for us. I’m hoping we can now get a couple wins under our belts and get on a roll to help us in the Red Division and going into the conference tournament.”
Senior Rachel Kuhl racked up five of Old Bridge’s nine three-pointers in the victory over the school from Edison.
Just like in last year’s victory over J.P. Stevens, Kuhl stepped her game up to the next level to help the Knights get the victory, scoring 15 of her team-high 23 points in the second half.
Kuhl saved her best play for crunch time, tallying nine points in the fourth quarter to help the Knights hold off the Hawks. The senior scored 34 points in the victory over J.P. Stevens last year.
“I just kept attacking the basket and finding my teammates when they were open,” Kuhl said. “This was a huge win. We knew coming in that (J.P. Stevens) was going to a tough team. We had to play our defense and let the offense come to us.”
Fellow classmate Mia Alcorn was a big part of the Old Bridge triumph, helping the Knights take control of the contest in the third quarter.
Alcorn splashed home not one, not two, but three shots from behind the arch in the quarter. The senior’s last three-pointer with the game tied at 32-32 sparked a 9-0 run for the Knights and led Old Bridge to taking a 41-34 lead into the fourth quarter.
“It was the best game I’ve had all season,” Alcorn said. “I knew that one of these games I was going to be on from three-point range. I just kept my cool as I started to make them. I think staying calm really helped me keep performing well on the court.”
Mia’s sister Payton, contributed a couple big shots in the fourth quarter to help the Knights win their third Red Division contest of the season.
Payton scored five of her seven points in the fourth quarter.
Gabby Walker contributed six points in the victory for the Knights. Senior Jordan Totten knocked down two crucial free-throw in the final minute to help Old Bridge hold off J.P. Stevens. All four of Totten’s points in the game came from the free-throw line.
Coming up short of the qualifying for the state sectional tournament for the second straight year last winter, the ultimate goal for Old Bridge is to make it into the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 sectional tournament this season.
Alspach believes his Old Bridge squad can do some special things this season.
“Once our team figures out how to play for four quarters and everyone starts clicking together, I think we can do some special things,” Alspach said. “As a coach, I see that in our players. I think the moment they see it, it’s going to click in their heads that we can do special things this year.”
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