By Tom Robinson
OXON HILL, Md. – The JB Hoops Bucci team set itself up for an important final day of pool play at the USJN 17U Girls Nationals with its second comfortable win of the day to complete its Sunday action in the event at 3-0 for the tournament.
Rachael Rose scored 15 points to lead three players who scored in double figures during a 59-30 romp over Legacy Elite 17 from Kentucky.
JB Hoops shares the Pool G lead with Freedom 17 Red, the New Jersey team it plays in the second of two Monday games to conclude pool play. Freedom has four NCAA Division I players in its lineup, including three that have already made commitments.
A year ago, JB Hoops won its pool in the same event for the first time, using many of the same players.
JB Hoops went one point better than the margin of its earlier Sunday win, 62-34, over the Carolina Waves 17 BSTT.
“I think it’s pretty crazy how well we’re playing right now,” Rose said. “We’re playing as a team.
“ … Hopefully this continues and we keep sharing the ball and keep hitting shots.”
Factoring in the competition, it may not have been quite as spotless a performance as Sunday’s first game, but it was still impressive.
JB Hoops ran off the game’s first 13 points.
Then, after going through a bit of a lull late in the first half, JB Hoops shot 63.6 percent from the floor while outscoring Legacy, 34-15, in the second half.
“We tend to play to the level of who we play against,” Bucci said. “I thought after halftime, it was much better.”
Rose made all four shots that she took and Mackenzie Steele hit all three of hers in the second half to lead the 14-for-22 effort.
“For the second half, we all talked about, ‘let’s come out and finish this strong’,” Rose said.
Cecelia Collins was perfect for the entire game, going 4-for-4 from the floor, hitting her only 3-point attempt and going 2-for-2 from the line to score 11 points.
“When we play hard as a team, we’re really hard to beat,” Collins said after JB Hoops won for the 24th time in 25 games at live (for college recruiting purposes) events this year.
Lauren Charlton also had 11 points, including 8 during the 13-0 start to the game.
Rose, a two-time, all-state guard from Scranton Prep, was 3-for-4 from 3-point range in the game. She also contributed three assists and three steals.
Steele finished with eight points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Nya Johnson added six rebounds as JB Hoops again won the rebounding battle. The 29-22 advantage included 12-5 in the second half.
Lindsey Welsh hit a pair of 3-pointers to score six points. Moriah Murray matched Rose for the team lead with three assists. Clair Marion had two steals.