By Tom Robinson
OXON HILL, Md. – The JB Hoops program has reached a new milestone each of the past three seasons in the USJN 17U Girls Nationals at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.
The latest came Tuesday morning when JB Hoops Bucci shot 69 percent from the floor in the first half and never trailed on the way to a 46-31 victory over United NJ 17 Navy in a Platinum Consolation bracket semifinal.
JB Hoops advanced from pool play to bracket play – something only the top one-third of teams accomplish – for the first time in 2017.
Last year, JB Hoops picked up its first pool title.
Tuesday’s win was the first for the Scranton-based program in bracket play at USJN Nationals.
Lauren Charlton led the way with 11 points, hitting the game-opening 3-pointer for the third time in six games at the tournament.
Rachael Rose added 10 points, including seven in the second half.
Lindsey Welsh made every shot she took while adding seven points and Leah Hodick was 3-for-4 from the floor while adding six.
Nya Johnson grabbed a team-high six rebounds while Cecelia Collins handed out five assists and Mackenzie Steele blocked two shots.
JB Hoops never trailed while advancing to the bracket’s noon final.
Welsh and Charlton hit consecutive 3-pointers and Taylor Huyck scored on the inside for an eight-point streak to pull away from the last tie and take a 17-9 lead midway through the first half.
JB Hoops was sharp in other ways beyond its 9-for-13 shooting effort in the first half. It did not commit a turnover for the first 8:43 while taking a 19-10 lead. JB Hoops had seven of the game’s first nine rebounds, using that to stretch the lead to 22-12.
The advantage was 26-15 at halftime.
Rose sandwiched two baskets around a Hodick basket that she assisted for six straight points to put the lead into double figures to stay midway through the second half.