Jan 22, 2019 | Basketball, Girls, Manasquan, Manchester, Rumson-Fair Haven, Saint John Vianney, Saint Rose, Toms River North
Saint John Vianney (11-1 overall, 8-0 B North)
Year in and year out, Saint John Vianney seems to be in the mix for Shore Conference, NJSIAA and Tournament of Champions titles and this year is no different. The Lady Lancers opened their season with six straight wins before dropping their only loss of the season to Saint Johns College High School (DE), 58-42. Since then they have improved to 11-1 before taking on national powerhouse Christ The King (NY). Coach Dawn Karpell has no shortage of offensive firepower. Senior forwards Sajada Bonner (138 points, 34 rebounds, 24 steals) and Brelynn Bellamy (113 points, 45 rebounds, 28 assists), senior point guard Sarah Karpell (86 points, 42 assists, 21 steals), sophomore Katie Hill (111 points, 48 rebounds, 24 assists) and freshman Madison St. Rose (114 points, 36 rebounds, 34 steals) have the Lady Lancers’ offense firing on all cylinders. Saint John Vianney is currently nationally ranked at No. 19.
Manchester Township (12-2 overall, 8-0 B South)
Expectations were set high for the Manchester Township Hawks this season with the addition of transfer senior guard Leilani Correa. Correa (217 points, 95 rebounds, 37 assists), along with senior forward Dakota Adams (162 points, 105 rebounds, 32 steals), sophomore Destiny Adams (208 points, 102 rebounds, 39 assists) and junior Kemari Reynolds (140 points, 69 assists, 44 rebounds) have allowed the Hawks to jump out to an early B South lead in relatively easy fashion. Ball control, clutch shooting and defensive rebounds make this squad a dangerous team heading towards tournament play in a couple of weeks. Along the way, Manchester captured their second straight WOMB Christmas Classic with an 83-41 victory over Marlboro in the finals. Their two losses on the season came from out-of-conference opponents – 61-52 to Saddle River Day and 70-55 to Bishop McNamara (MD). Since then, the Hawks have rallied off four straight victories.
Rumson-Fair Haven (8-4 overall, 5-3 A Central)
For years, Rumson-Fair Haven was always that team no one wanted to face, as they continually rolled out gamers every game and found ways to beat you. This year has been no different except for their slow start to the season, but they have started to find their groove. Junior Lucy Adams (129 points, 114 rebounds, 24 steals), sophomore Grace Munt (115 points, 76 rebounds, 30 assists), sophomore Cortland McBarron (78 points, 62 rebounds, 30 assists) and junior Sophia Passalaqua (68 points, 16 rebounds, 8 steals) have the Bulldogs moving in the right direction. RFH plays in one of the deepest divisions in the state and will be battle-tested come tournament time. They face Manasquan, Red Bank Catholic, Middletown South and St. Rose in the next two weeks.
St. Rose (11-0 overall, 8-0 A Central)
St. Rose has quietly become one of the top teams at the Shore Conference and has once again built their reputation and style around defense first, resulting in positive plays on offense. On the season, the Purple Roses have 115 steals and 319 rebounds en-route to holding opponents to a mere 28 points per game. St. Rose, already dangerous at all levels, will enjoy some added depth with the now-eligible juniors Makayla Andrews and Maria Tedesco, and sophomore Layla Laws. These transfers join a group that is led by Brynn Farrell (202 points, 47 rebounds, 23 steals), Lauren Lithgrow (119 points, 22 rebounds, 15 steals) and Abigail Antognoli (112 points, 46 rebounds, 30 assists).
Manasquan (10-3 overall, 7-1 A Central)
One of the most dominant teams the Shore Conference has seen over the past couple of years is once again making their case as a team to watch. Coming off their Tournament of Champions title and fifth straight NJSIAA title from a year ago, Manasquan is now dealing with life without a player named Mabrey. That has not been an issue for this year’s squad which is leaning on veteran leadership and experience of Faith Masonius (226 points, 144 rebounds, 50 assists), Lola Mullaney (280 points, 48 rebounds, 25 assists) and Kate Leturgez (78 points, 65 rebounds, 20 assists). Manasquan will be ready come tournament time with a tough schedule the rest of the way, including key games against Rumson-Fair Haven, The Patrick School, St. Rose and Red Bank Catholic.
Toms River North (10-2 overall, 7-1 A South)
While much of the conversation has been focused on the Monmouth County teams in the Shore Conference, Toms River North is quietly going about their business and starting to take shape for another division title and deep runs in the upcoming Shore Conference and NJSIAA tournaments. The Mariners have two losses to their record coming at the hands of Marlboro, 72-60, and Toms River East, 51-43. The Mariners are led by seniors Jenna Paul (242 points, 11 rebounds, 24 assists) and Brielle Bisogno (196 points, 53 rebounds, 58 assists), junior Kristina Johnson (85 points, 65 rebounds, 23 assists) and freshman Sydney Howell (61 points, 29 rebounds).
With just a few weeks until the Shore Conference Tournament, there are a handful of teams that can make their claim as the best team in the Shore this season. Can anyone slow down the offense of Saint John Vianney? Can anyone beat the defenses of Manchester and St. Rose? Can anyone beat battle-tested Manasquan, Rumson-Fair Haven or Red Bank Catholic? Will one of the up-and-coming programs such as Mater Dei Prep, Marlboro, Howell, Red Bank Regional, Donovan Catholic or Trinity Hall make a name for themselves? One thing for sure is that this postseason will be one to watch.