Girls Basketball – Franklin Stuns Manasquan at the Buzzer to Win Tournament of Champs
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TRENTON – Manasquan standouts Dara Mabrey, Stella Clark and Faith Masonius all know what it’s like to make a big play in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions final as a freshman because all three have played in the game in their various rookie seasons.
Monday at Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, another Warriors freshman made a huge play in the T of C final, but unfortunately for the trio and their teammates, it was not a Manasquan Warrior.
Franklin freshman Kennedy Schenck buried a game-winning 15-foot jumper as time expired and the Warriors won a thrilling championship game over Manasquan, 50-48 – Franklin’s first ever Tournament of Champions title.
“It was my decision to shoot or pass the ball and I was open so I shot it,” Schenck said. “I didn’t know (how much time was left). I just tried to stay calm and I heard the coaches on the bench yelling at me to shoot it, so I shot it.”
Masonius had just tied the game with two minutes left on a drive to the basket and Franklin drained the clock before using a timeout with 13.5 seconds left. Out of the timeout, sophomore Diamond Miller dribbled right off a screen and fired a potential game-winning three with Mabrey’s hand in her face.
Miller’s shot came up just short, but Schenck chased it down on the left baseline. With seconds ticking off the clock and the Franklin bench yelling at her to shoot the ball, the freshman collected herself before firing up the shot that won the Warriors their first ever Tournament of Champions title.
“Have you ever seen freshman with the nerves these girls have?,” Franklin coach Audrey Taylor said. “They don’t carry any nerves whatsoever, it’s amazing to me. For her to do that, to turn around afte everybody is screaming at her with everything we have to shoot it, and she turned around and did just that. Once it left her hand, we knew it was good.”
After falling behind Manasquan 17-7 in the first quarter, Franklin chipped stormed back into the game during the second quarter behind Miller. The 6-foot-1 sophomore scored 12 of Franklin’s 16 points during the second as the Warriors cut the deficit in half. Franklin actually tied the game at 19 with a 12-2 run to start the quarter before Manasquan regained a 28-23 edge at halftime.
Franklin took its first lead of the game at 32-30 with 2:33 left in the third and held a 36-35 lead heading to the fourth. The Warriors built their lead as large as 43-39 on a three-pointer by Keona Schenck – Kennedy’s twin sister. Mabrey, however, answered with a three-pointer from the left wing, her first and only triple of the game, to cut the Franklin lead back to 43-42.
Manasquan regained the lead when Masonius stole the ball and fed Clark for a breakaway layup. Junior Camille Gray responded with a three-point play to push Franklin back into the lead, 46-44, before Mabrey came back with a pair of free throws on the other end.
Miller put Franklin back in front with a floater to cap her 18-point night and Masonius drove for the tying score.
Clark capped her high school career by scoring a team-high 17 points to go with four rebounds and four assists while playing in the T of C final for the fourth straight year in a row. Mabrey, the Gatorade Player of the Year in N.J. and Kerwin Award winner, finished with 15 points while shooting 6-for-24 from the field and 1-for-10 from three-point range.
As a team, Manasquan shot 2-for-21 (nine percent) from behind the three-point arc and 21-for-66 (31.4 percent) as a team. Manasquan owned a 20-15 edge in offensive rebounds, won the turnover battle 23-13, and took 19 more shots from the field, but the shooting woes did the Warriors in.
“Our gameplan every game is to not leave a shot open,” Taylor said. “It’s hard to make a shot with a hand in your face. They got a few open shots here and there and lucky for us, they didn’t necessarily drop.”
“We obviously did not shoot as well as we have in other games,” Manasquan coach Lisa Kukoda said. “That’s a testament to the defense that Franklin played and the things that they gave us. It’s a big game and a big arena, so that takes some adjustment, but they were able to get us to take certain looks and unfortunately the ball wasn’t falling for us.”
Masonius added nine points and eight rebounds while older sister, Addie, had four points, 10 rebounds and four assists in her final game. Addie Masonius played as a freshman on the 2014 T of C runner up along with Clark.
Manasquan is the only team in the history of the girls T of C to reach the championship game in four consecutive years. The Warriors also reached the final in 2012 and are now 2-3 in the final after losing in double-overtime to St. John Vianney last year and at the buzzer Monday.
With starters Mabrey, Faith Masonius and junior Carly Geissler returning to the lineup – as well as sixth man Lola Mullaney – Manasquan is well positioned to contend for a spot in the T of C again next year. Franklin also graduates just one starter from its team – center Monique Davis-Campbell.
“They’re a great group,” Kukoda said of the seniors, a group that also includes regular contributors Victoria Galvan and Nikki Stevens. “They’re great leaders, they’re great people. We will miss them terribly and that’s why I’m upset. I love these girls.”
Franklin 50, Manasquan 48
Franklin (50): Camille Gray 1 2-4 4, Keona Schenck 2 3-4 8, Monique Davis-Campbell 4 0-0 8, Diamond Miller 7 2-2 18, Tiana Jackson 2 1-2 5, Kennedy Schenck 3 0-0 7, Kiersten McCloud 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 8-12 50
Three-pointers: Keona Schenck, Miller 2, Kennedy Schenck
Manasquan (48): Stella Clark 8 1-1 17, Dara Mabrey 6 2-3 15, Faith Masonius 4 1-2 9, Addie Masonius 2 0-0 4, Carly Geissler 0 0-0 0, Lola Mullaney 1 0-0 3, Victoria Galvan 0 0-0 0, Nikki Stevens 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 4-6 48
Three-pointers: Mabrey, Mullaney