By GIUSEPPE UNGARO
LINWOOD — The Mainland Regional girls basketball team may have had one of its best quarters of the season on Thursday.
The No. 2 Mustangs were unselfish with the basketball, demoralizing seventh-seeded Deptford in the first quarter of their 50-27 win in the quarterfinals of the South Jersey Group 3 playoffs.
Mainland (21-6) will host No. 6 Winslow on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the sectional semifinals. Winslow topped No. 14 Seneca, 39-36, on Thursday.
“It was definitely fast-paced when we were moving the ball,” Mainland guard Francesca Geromini said of Mainland’s offense. “It’s a lot easier when you pass the ball instead of dribbling because it opens up the defense for us to score. It’s a lot easier and fast-paced when we pass the ball like that.”
Mainland got off to a fast start against the Spartans (18-7), sinking its first four shots for a 9-0 lead. The Mustangs were up 13-0 before Deptford got on the scoreboard with a free throw with 4 minutes, 15 seconds left in the first quarter.
The home team was up 18-1 before Deptford scored its first field goal. On offense, Mainland seemed to score at will, making 8-of-11 shots in the opening quarter for a 20-3 lead.
“Definitely by our team and maybe me,” Geromini said when asked if that was the team’s best-played quarter. “We just played well that quarter.”
Geromini and the Mustangs kept rolling on offense in the second quarter. The junior scored five points in both the first and second quarters, and Gabby Boggs finished the half with seven of her nine total points. Mainland ended the second quarter with a 10-1 spurt for a 32-8 halftime lead.
“I thought in the first half we did exactly what we wanted to. Our transition (offense) looked good, half-court looked good and defensively we really locked them down,” Mainland coach Scott Betson said. “I was pleased with the first half.”
Kylee Watson scored six points in the third quarter and finished with a team-high 11 for Mainland. Teammates Georgia Schoen and Claudia Mairone both scored four points in the second half to finish with seven and six points, respectively.
Mainland took its foot off the gas pedal after three quarters with a 46-14 lead.
“It was definitely nice to get a lead so we can kind of relax,” Bogs said. “It is important to save our legs. Everyone got nice minutes today, so that was good to see; just to get a quick lead was good and it’s good momentum for the next, harder games.”
The highlight of the fourth quarter was Deptford senior Juliette Tobin scoring all of her team’s 13 points to reach 1,000 for her career. Tobin led the Spartans with 15 points.
Mainland will have a day off before taking on Winslow (21-7), which has won 11 of its last 12 games.
Contact Giuseppe Ungaro: email@example.com; on Twitter @GDgisepu
By GIUSEPPE UNGARO