MANHEIM – Moriah Murray hit the floor near midcourt, trying to complete a steal for the JB Hoops Plisko defense after tipping the ball away with the team trailing in the final two minutes.
As other players sought to join her in the scramble, Murray pushed the ball ahead, hitting Katherine Dzwoncyzk in stride for a breakaway layup and the game’s biggest basket.
Dzwonczyk’s basket was part of a 10-point streak to end the game and give JB Hoops a 50-43 victory over Rising Stars Kenney Saturday in the Blue Chip Pre-Season Challenge, presented by Under Armour.
“The last couple games especially, Moriah’s defense has been great for us,” JB Hoops coach Megan Nowak said. “She’s been really pressuring their guards and forcing a lot of turnovers. She’s kind of setting the tone for us defensively.”
The score off Murray’s third steal created the last of 16 lead changes in a tense, physical game that was also tied 6 times.
The win allowed JB Hoops to even its record in the event 2-2 going into the final game of the 17U Division Pool Y play Sunday at 1:40 p.m. at Spooky Nook Sports. JB Hoops bounced back from an opening defeat for the second straight day, this time recovering from a 47-36 loss to Montgomery Fusion Bealer.
“Coach (John) Bucci just said it, our toughness this weekend has been incredible,” Nowak said after meeting with the team after the game. “It’s been a lot better than it has been in the past.
“They were being mentally tough; physically tough; fighting through calls that might be going our way. I think that’s proven to help us down the stretch, especially in a game like this.”
JB Hoops went 8-for-8 from the line down the stretch to create the other points in the closing run.
Tyalor Huyck, who made all six of her second-half free throws, had four straight after Dzwonczyk’s basket. She finished with 11 points, 10 in the second half.
“Taylor was awesome,” Nowak said. “She kind of had it all day, getting to the basket.”
Hannah Hughes and Murray had the other free throws at the end.
Holly Daveski had seven of her nine points in the first half to give JB Hoops a 17-14 lead.
Brooke Wilder, who made all three of her second-half shots, and Dzwonczyk had seven points each. Dzwonczyk also had three assists.
Mackenzie Steele led the team with 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.