By Tom Robinson
OXON HILL, Md. – The JB Hoops Rose defense dominated early and Rachel McDonald scored all 13 of her points in the second half Monday when the team improved to 4-0 in Pool ZZ and clinched a spot in bracket play at the USJN 17U Girls Nationals with a 40-27 victory over Philly Roots 16.
It was not immediately known at the time, but the win combined with other simultaneous results, assured JB Hoops of finishing first in its pool in the tournament at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.
JB Hoops held Philly scoreless for the first 6:49 and without a field goal for 8:04 while taking a 7-1 lead.
McDonald, a guard going into her junior year at Abington Heights, made her first three 3-point attempts of the second half. Her first two were part of a 7-0 streak to a 28-15 lead early in the half.
After Philly closed within 30-25, McDonald scored the next five points, on an 18-footer and a 3-pointer, to start a clinching, 10-point streak.
Kayla Rose did not attempt a shot, but led the team in assists (four) and steals (three) while grabbing four rebounds.
Trinity Johnson led JB Hoops with eight rebounds to lead a 35-28 rebounding
Claire Dougherty had six of her eight points and Maria Belardi five of her seven to help JB Hoops to a 19-13 halftime lead.
Neither team scored for more than five minutes to start the game as they combined to go 0-for-9, including take seven of the game’s first eight shots from 3-point range.
Katherine Shepherd’s 3-pointer for JB Hoops with 9:54 left in the 15-minute half finally broke the scoreless tie.
The led got as high as 19-10 late in the half when Belardi made a lob pass to set up a Dougherty basket, then hit a 3-pointer.
The Roots closed the first half scoring with a 3-pointer.
The JB Hoops limited Philly to 9.5 percent shooting (2-for-21) from inside the arc.