Two freshmen put a big smile on Washington Township coach Jennifer Natale's face after the Minutemaids' 52-26 home win over Pennsauken on Monday night.
The Minutemaids won the South Jersey Group 4 championship in 2009 only to suffer through a rebuilding season last season, finishing 4-19 overall and 1-9 in the Olympic American Division.
It didn't take the team long Monday to show that the rebuilding process is over.
The biggest reasons for the transformation are two highly touted freshman guards, Kelly and Kylie Giedemann.
"We're fortunate. We have weapons on the inside and out this year, so we're going to use them," Natale said.
The Minutemaids (2-0) were led by a strong offensive effort by Kelly Giedemann (14 points) and Delia Mercurio (12 points).
The twins each scored four points in the first quarter to help Washington Township end the period up by 14-4.
Pennsauken (0-2), which normally features a high-paced offense that thrives in transition, was kept in check by a strong defensive effort, led by Emily Rohach, Gianna DiPietro and Mercurio.
"Our goal every game is to control the tempo," Natale said. "And we knew Pennsauken liked to run up and down the court; they're very athletic. We thought if we made them play in the halfcourt, then that would be to our advantage."
The Minutemaids held Pennsauken's top scorer, Vanessa Neal, to 12 points. Six of those points were scored in the fourth quarter when the Indians finally got into a rhythm offensively.
Pennsauken guard Dominique Roberts (10 points) also added six points in the fourth quarter. Roberts and Neal combined for 22 of the team's 26 points.
"Our mentality is to never give up despite anything," said Pennsauken coach Laura Bell. "And we played hard until the end regardless of the score."
Pennsauken 4 6 4 12 - 26
Washington Twp. 14 20 10 8 - 52
P: Dominique Roberts 10, Vanessa Neal 12, Lati Stafford 2, Taylor Raymond 2.