BRICK TOWNSHIP – Manasquan senior and University of Notre Dame recruit Marina Mabrey played her usual standout game in 26 minutes of action against rival St. John Vianney in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals on Tuesday night, but it was the six minutes when she was not on the floor that would make or break the Warriors’ chances of defending their SCT crown later this week.Listen to the game broadcast at the end of this report

The Warriors – the No. 2 seed in the SCT – overcame Mabrey’s early-second-half foul trouble and closed out the No. 3 Lancers, 53-48, at Brick Memorial High School Tuesday to advance to Friday’s championship game at 6:30 p.m. at Monmouth University. Manasquan will defend its championship from a year ago against the team it defeated for that title, top-seeded St. Rose.

Mabrey finished with a team-high 22 points and eight rebounds, but sat for the final minute of the first half with three fouls and the final five minutes of the third quarter with four. Without its senior leader on the floor and facing a St. John Vianney team intent on ramping up its already-pressure-heavy defense, Manasquan slowed the tempo and was outscored a manageable 9-5 during those six minutes.

Marina Mabrey (23) looks to drive past St. John Vianney junior Gigi Caponegro (25) during Manasquan's Shore Conference Tournament semifinals win over the Lancers on Tuesday. (Photo by Ray Richardson)

“I was (mad the referees) were calling such ridiculous things,” Mabrey said. “I wasn’t worried about us. I had all the confidence in the world that my team would keep things under control while I was on the bench.”

“When Marina got her fourth foul in the third quarter, we just tried to slow the game down,” sophomore guard Stella Clark said. “The more we can slow it down, the more the time runs down and the faster we can get time off the clock, the faster the fourth quarter would come and we can get Marina back in the game.”

Senior Courtney Hagaman scored 14 points behind four 3-pointers and delivered two key second-half threes to help the Warriors keep St. John Vianney at a distance. The first of the two second-half threes put Manasquan up 34-24 right after Mabrey exited the game with four fouls, and the Warriors held St. John Vianney to four points over the last five minutes of the quarter to take a six-point lead into the fourth, when Mabrey re-entered.

“We needed to run clock, but we also needed to get a basket,” Hagaman said. “I just felt like my shot was on from the very beginning and if I got a good look at the basket, I was going to take the shot.”

“As we were coming down the stretch, we talked about the importance of working through our sets on offense and making them defend us,” Manasquan coach Lisa Kukoda said. “Courtney had a senior moment for us tonight. She stepped up for us as a senior today. She was feeling it from the first second of the game, and when you have a player who is feeling her shot like that, you’ve got to let her have a little bit of range.”

Hagaman kicked off the fourth quarter with another 3-pointer to put the Warriors ahead, 37-28, and Mabrey pushed the lead to 11 by converting both ends of a one-and-one. Manasquan held two separate 11-point leads the rest of the way, with Mabrey scoring on a backdoor cut off a bounce pass from sophomore Victoria Galvan to put Manasquan ahead, 43-32, with a little more than four minutes left to play.

St. John Vianney cut the lead down to 45-42 by the two-minute mark behind seven of Zoe Pero’s nine points off the bench and pulled within 48-46 with a minute left on a pair of free throws and a driving layup by junior Kelly Campbell.

Clark hit two free throws with 44.3 seconds left to stretch Manasquan’s lead back to four and Galvan blocked a driving attempt by Campbell on the next possession and the Lancers junior committed her fifth foul shortly thereafter. Clark made one of two free throws before Pero drove for a lay-up to cut the Warriors lead to 51-48 with 19.3 seconds left.

St. John Vianney got the break it needed when freshman guard Dara Mabrey missed two free throws with 15.1 seconds left, but Clark slipped into the lane and grabbed the rebound on the second miss after Marina Mabrey tapped it in her direction before heading back to the line and making two free throws with 13 seconds left. Pero missed a 3-pointer on the other end and time expired to preserve the Manasquan win.

Campbell scored a game-high 25 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists. While Campbell nearly carried the Lancers into the semifinals, Manasquan shut down the rest of St. John Vianney’s starting lineup, which combined to add six points to the 25 that Campbell scored. St. John Vianney’s bench scored 17 points, with Pero scoring nine and Tina Lebron hitting two threes for six points.

“I wasn’t worried about (Campbell) because we put Dara on her, and I knew she could handle it,” Marina Mabrey said. “My concern was closing out on their shooters and making sure they weren’t getting open looks or getting any long rebounds. In the last two games, we’ve done a much better job getting out on their shooters.”

Manasquan’s fast start to the fourth quarter was the last of three torrid starts to a quarter Tuesday. The Warriors jumped on St. John Vianney in the first quarter, scoring the game’s first six points before stringing together another 11-0 run to go up 19-4 through the first seven-plus minutes. St. John Vianney responded with an 8-0 run and pulled within 24-20 by halftime.

The Warriors again stormed out of the gate in the third quarter by scoring the first seven points in the second half to take a 31-20 lead. Manasquan, however, scored only three points over the final six minutes of the third quarter, with Hagaman’s first second-half three accounting for those points.

During the 11-0 run in the first quarter, Manasquan hit threes on three consecutive possessions by three different players. Hagaman knocked down a three from the right corner to make it 13-4, followed by a steal and three from the right wing by junior Gillian Black. Dara Mabrey capped the run with a three from the top of the key.

“Dara and Stella need to control the ball for us to be at our best, and they did a great job of that tonight,” Marina Mabrey said. “Courtney was hitting shots, Victoria was great on defense, Gill protected the ball and knocked down her shot, Addie (Masonius) did a great job on the glass, and the bench was just really into the game. I need to do a better job of staying on the court, but it was great to watch from the bench and see so many people step up and everyone so into the game.”

Tuesday’s win was the second SCT semifinal win for Manasquan over St. John Vianney in as many years. The Warriors beat the Lancers in an overtime classic last year, with Hagaman converting the game-winning lay-up as time expired.

“I was excited and nervous to come back here,” Hagaman said. “I was more excited to come back and show how much better we are now and how much we’ve grown together as a team.”

The two Shore Conference Class A Central rivals also split their regular-season series, with the home team winning each game. St. John Vianney won the first meeting in January, 58-51, while Manasquan used a big fourth quarter to pull away for a decisive 64-39 win in early February. During the fourth quarter of the last meeting and the first quarter of Tuesday’s game, Manasquan combined to outscore St. John Vianney 45-13.

“We moved some kids around defensively to start the game, but it really just came down to (Manasquan) making shots,” St. John Vianney coach Dawn Karpell said. “We came out and missed some open looks, and we made a few mistakes defensively and turning the ball over that gave them some better looks than we would have liked to give up, but to their credit they made the shots early, and we fell into a hole that we just couldn’t get out of.”

Vianney junior Kelly Campbell (20) drives against Manasquan freshman Dara Mabrey Tuesday night. (Photo by Ray Richardson)

Manasquan will play in its third SCT championship game in the last four years Friday, all against St. Rose. After losing to the Purple Roses in 2012, the Warriors made it back to the title game last year against their local rivals and won in convincing fashion, 61-41.

St. Rose won a regular-season thriller over Manasquan on the final Saturday before the start of the SCT, with Purple Roses senior Kat Phipps hitting a late three to give her team a 60-57 home win over Manasquan. St. Rose beat Middletown South, 69-49, in the first game Tuesday and enters the SCT championship 25-0 while seeking its second SCT championship in four years.

“We really had to focus on taking this tournament one step at a time,” Mabrey said. “With St. Rose, they hit a three late to beat us. Yeah, we had a chance to win the game and they beat us, but for us, it was more that we just didn’t show up to play that day. We didn’t step up and we got beat, and our focus is making sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Box Score

Manasquan 53, St. John Vianney 48

1

2

3

4

F

St. John Vianney (20-3)

6

14

8

20

48

Manasquan (22-2)

19

5

10

19

53

 

St. John Vianney (48): Courtney Dobrzynski 0 0-0 0, Kellie Crouch 0 0-1 0, Kim Evans 2 0-0 4, Gigi Caponegro 1 0-0 2, Kelly Campbell 7 10-12 25, Zoe Pero 4 1-1 9, Tina Lebron 2 0-0 6, Vanessa Pinho 0 2-2 2. Totals: 16 13-16 48

Three-pointers: Campbell, Lebron 2

Fouled Out: Campbell

Manasquan (53): Stella Clark 1 5-6 7, Dara Mabrey 2 0-0 5, Victoria Galvan 0 2-2 2, Marina Mabrey 6 10-12 22, Courtney Hagaman 5 0-0 14, Addie Masonius 0 0-2 0, Gillian Black 1 0-0 3. Totals: 15 17-22 53

Three-pointers: D. Mabrey, Hagaman 4, Black


GAME AUDIO

1st Half

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2nd Half

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