By Crystal Parker
SJSports Staff Writer
The Minutemaids from Washington Township traveled to Cherry Hill West to take on the Lady Cougars in an Olympic Conference match up. This was a tight battle throughout this game with West holding a one-point lead to start the second quarter. But the highly favorite Minutemaids would respond to the challenge and hold a slim lead going into the final quarter. It would be Melissa Venturi scoring 10-points in the fourth quarter that pushed Township to a nine point victory. As a team, the Minutemaids converted 11 out of 14 free throw attempts down the stretch to preserve their 54-42 road win.
Getting emotionally geared up for a game usually falls on the responsibility of the coaching staff or the designated captain on the team. Some may feed off the excitement of the home crowd cheering them on. In today's contest, West were considered the underdogs and that could have been the edge needed to silence the critics with a good showing on the court. Meanwhile, Washington Township has been winning those important games on the road and was rewarded with the top spot of the American Division.
In this game, neither team would sustain a long-term lead, as there were six lead changes during the first half. The Cougars would jump out to a quick 6-0 advantage, but Township would respond scoring 10 unanswered points to regain the lead. Yet again, the Cougars countered with back-to-back three pointers putting them back in front to end the quarter. The see-saw battle continued as West would lead by two points going into the locker room.
The finally eight minutes was a defensive explosion by Washington Township. After West got within one-point (37-36) with 6:20 remaining in the game, two straight buckets by Venturi and Lauren Petruzzelli put Township's up by five. With the lead and time ticking away, the Cougars were forced to foul. Venturi was the person with the ball in hand sending her to the charity stripe to put the game away. Lauren Petruzzelli finished with 11 points and Melissa Venturi ended up with a game high 17 points. Cherry Hill West was lead by Kristen McCargo and her 12 team high points while Cat Mayers added 10 points for the Lady Cougars.