EIGHT SHORE CONFERENCE TEAMS BRING HOME STATE SECTIONAL TITLES
By Mike Ready
RANNEY: The second-seeded Panthers – ranked No. 1 in the state and 12th nationally – were pushed to the limit by top-seeded Wildwood Catholic (27-2) in the South Jersey Non-Public B tournament but survived a 54-50 overtime classic to win their second straight sectional title.
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP: The Patriots (23-4), seeded-third in the Central Jersey Group IV tournament, upset top-seeded Trenton, 57-56, to win their first sectional championship in program history after losing six sectional championship games since 1996, including three straight from 2015 to 2017, before finally breaking through.
Senior Greg Billups, who scored 16 points, pulled down six rebounds, handed out six assists and had four steals, led a 10-0 run that turned a 53-47 deficit into a 57-53 lead.
The Patriots turned the ball over twice in the final 1:21 after Billups fouled out but its defense also forced two turnovers and stopped Trenton on its final possession.
Senior Cristian Corcione scored 10 points, including the three-pointer that put the Patriots up for good. Seniors Seth Meisner, Zach Barilka and Matt Santangelo added nine points apiece, with Barilka also hauling in seven rebounds.
WALL: In the Central Jersey Group III final, top-seeded Wall (21-8) got by sixth-seeded Burlington Township, 53-47, for their first sectional championship since 1973.
The Crimson Knights took a 26-19 lead before Burlington rallied for a 37-34 lead early in the fourth quarter. Junior Quin Calabrese, who scored 27 points, then led a 16-3 run that put Wall back in control of the game at 48-40, with under two minutes to play in the game.
Calabrese scored nine points in the fourth quarter to fuel the game-winning run, while sophomore Pat Lacey added eight points in the game. Senior Trey Dombrowski finished with a team-high 13 rebounds and along with six points.
Dombrowski was the 2018 SSN Shore Conference Pitcher of the Year and is committed to the Monmouth University.
The Crimson Knights will now take on South Jersey champion Moorestown in the Group III semifinal.
MANASQUAN: Senior Brad McCabe led four Manasquan players in double-figure scoring with 23 points and added four assists and three steals as the top-seeded Warriors (29-3) routed third-seeded Lincoln, 78-42, in the Central Jersey Group II championship game for their second sectional title in four years.
Junior Alex Galvan added 16 points and nine rebounds, while freshman Ben Roy dropped 13 with three assists. Junior Kieran Flannigan chipped in with a tremendous all-around game adding 11 points, six rebounds and five assists.
The Warriors bolted out to a 15-2 lead to start the game and led, 22-6, after Roy capped his nine-point first quarter with a three-pointer to end it. Manasquan led by as many as 24 in the first half and built the lead to as many as 42 in the second half.
The Warriors will now meet defending Group II champion Haddonfield (29-1) in the Group II semifinals.
The win marked the Eagles’ fourth sectional title in six years and first since winning the Central Jersey Group III championship in 2016, while also presenting head coach Tom Brennan with his 400th career victory.
Two huge three-pointers by Sam Keenan pulled the Eagles to within two points and Richardson’s two clutch free throws with 25 seconds left in regulation tied the game, 64-64.
Richardson’s three-point play with 1:49 left in overtime put the Eagles up, 72-69, and she then followed that up with a drive down the lane before finishing at the rim to push the lead to 74-69 with 1:24 left in overtime.
The Eagles survived Marlboro’s relentless three-point barrage with seven Mustang players contributing at least one of their 18 three-point bombs.
Keenan finished with a career-high 20 points, including four three’s, while senior point guard Isla Brennan scored 15 points and senior forward Eve Pirie and junior guard Steph Mayerhofer each added 10 apiece.
MANASQUAN: Senior forward and University of Maryland-bound Faith Masonius accounted for 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists in another typical Masonius performance to lead the top-seeded Warriors to an easy 60-38 win over second-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven in the Central Jersey Group II final.
It was Manasquan’s sixth consecutive sectional title and 14th overall and marked the Warriors’ third victory this season over its arch rivals in Class A Central.
Senior guard Lola Mullaney also had a stellar game, dropping 21 points, grabbing seven boards and dishing out three assists.
Manasquan now moves on to face Manchester in the Group II semifinals.
MANCHESTER: In the South Jersey Group III final, Hawks senior guard Leilani Correa exploded for 15 of her team-high 22 points during a second quarter 24-2 run that turned into a 36-9 halftime lead, and the second-seeded Hawks never looked back en route to a 61-35 drubbing of fifth-seeded Middle Township for their third straight sectional title.
The win was Manchester’s 21st win in a row and paved the way for them to meet up with defending state champion Manasquan in the Group II semifinals for the third straight year.
Junior point guard Kemari Reynolds added 15 points while sophomore swing Destiny Adams and junior reserve Nakaleigh Hayes-Jones scored seven points apiece.
ST. ROSE: Senior guard Lauren Lithgow had a career game shooting 9-of-12 from three-point range and 10-of-13 overall en route to a career-high 29 point performance leading the top-seeded Purple Roses to a 61-54 win over second-seeded and rival Saint John Vianney in the Non-Public South A final.
The win marked the second consecutive sectional title for St. Rose.
Junior guard Brynn Farrell added another stellar performance to her resume this season with 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Purple Roses, and Abby Antognoli chipped in with 11 points and five assists.
St. Rose led, 34-33, heading into the fourth quarter when Lithgow opened the quarter with a three-pointer before Antognoli and Farrell followed with back-to-back three’s of their own to put St. Rose up, 45-37. Lithgow then added to the three-point barrage with another to push the lead to 48-37 with 2:45 to play.
The Purple Roses now move on to face Immaculate Heart in the Non-Public A final.