Neptune, NJ- A lot was at stake between Red Bank Catholic and Neptune Tuesday night when these two Shore Conference powers and they did not disappoint. Neptune jumped out to a 20-10 halftime lead but the battle tested Casey fought back and earned a 45-38 B-North victory.

With the win the Casey erased an earlier meeting where the Scarlet Fliers went into Red Bank and walked away with a 55-47 win. The last meeting between the two schools, Neptune held Red Bank Catholic to just 2 second half points and trailer 18-13. Tuesday night, Red Bank Catholic once again went cold in the second quarter scoring just 4 points and went to the locker room trailing 20-10. On a day that was National GroundHog Day, Coach Joe Montano was not hoping to see déjà vu on the court again.

Afterwards when asked about his second quarter meltdown again, coach Montano added “we are the ultimate peaks and valley team, the second quarter has been nutty for us most of the season. I told the girls at half that 10 points in a half is not acceptable and its up to them to get it done in the second half.”

Coach Montano during RBC and Neptune girls basketball game (Eric Braun)

The second half opened with Neptune’s Brianna Love hitting an outside jumper to push the lead to 21-10 and the Caseys decided it was time to get moving. After a three pointer from Haylee Moore and then a layup from Rose Caverly, Red Bank Catholic was quickly right back into the game trailing 21-15. After a Neptune timeout, Caverly picked off an inbounds pass and converted it into a layup and one opportunity. After her free throw was nothing but net, the Casey found themselves trailing by three with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter.

Red Bank Catholic for the first time in the game pull to a tie when Katie Rice drove the lane and hit her layup and tied the game at 24-24. Neptune’s Desiree Allen tried to push the Scarlett Fliers back in front when she went to the line hit one of two for a 25-24 lead. Caverly for Red Bank Catholic matched Allen on the other end and converted one of two of her own free throws for a 25-25 tie. The two teams would finish off the third quarter at 27-27, setting up a classic finish.

RBC's Rose Caverly instructs the offense against Neptune (Eric Braun)

Neptune would pick up their eighth team foul of the second half just thirty seconds into the fourth quarter and this would set up the first lead of the game for Red Bank Catholic as Katie Rice hit both her free throws for a 29-27 lead.   The Caseys would build the lead to three when Maureen Coakley was fouled and hit both free throws for a 34-31 lead.

The Scarlet Fliers leaned on Allen once again and the sophomore hit another clutch basket to pull Neptune back to 34-33. On the inbounds play Rahmena Henderson stole the pass and was fouled on the put back attempt. Connecting on one of two, the Scarlet Fliers would tie it for the sixth and final tie of the game at 34-34.

With just over three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Caseys junior Josie Larkins fouled and left the Caseys to roll out three sophomores (Rice, Moore and Caverly) and two juniors (Coakley and Tia Montagne). This has been nothing new for these players as coach Montano’s group has been getting plenty of experience during the season and it showed down the stretch.

The veteran group from Red Bank Catholic that has been pushed all season long from their B-North competition and tough non-conference schedule, used their previous game experience and leaned on one another to find a way to come out on top in this one. With that said, the Casey closed out the game with a 11-4 run.

Paced by clutch free throw shooting from Coakley and Caverly, the Caseys went four for six from the line down the stretch. To go with the free throws, the play of the game came Katie Rice how blocked a jumper attempt from Desiree with thirteen seconds left, recovered the loose ball and found Caverly to seal the deal at the line.

Caseys defense was relentless against Desiree and Neptune (Eric Braun)

Coach Montano when asked about the poise Coakley showed from the line tonight, added “this has been new for Maureen the past few weeks, early on she struggled from the line but shows her dedication to herself and teammates that hardwork pays off as she has been clutch on the line of late.”

With the win Red Bank Catholic improves to 15-3 overall and 11-1 in B-North and a tie with Neptune for the division title, who dropped to 13-3 overall and 9-1 in B-North. Baring any setbacks in upcoming conference games for the Caseys (Colts Neck and Matawan) and Neptune (Ocean, Matawan, Long Branch and Wall) the two teams will end the season as Co-Champions heading into the Shore Conference Tournament.

BOX SCORE:

NEPTUNE        
PLAYER REBOUNDS STEALS TURNOVERS POINTS
Rahmena Henderson 6 2 5 9
Di'avain Foster 1 0 2 0
Alexis Bennett 0 0 0 3
Brianna Love 4 0 3 8
Desiree Allen 9 4 1 16
Alexa Vreeland 0 0 0 0
Kaelyn Kimbrough 5 2 0 2
GAME TOTALS 25 8 11 38
RBC        
PLAYER REBOUNDS STEALS TURNOVERS POINTS
Josie Larkins 3 0 1 3
Katie Rice 5 2 1 6
Maureen Coakley 6 0 1 8
Hayley Moore 2 0 0 6
Rose Caverly 5 3 4 14
Tia Montagne 4 0 2 8
Caitlin Carroll 2 1 3 0
GAME TOTALS 27 6 12 45
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