Girls Basketball: NJSIAA Tournament of Champions Final Preview
NJSIAA Tournament of Champions Final
Manasquan (28-4) vs. St. Rose (32-1)
When: Monday, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Sun National Bank Center, Trenton
Tickets: Parking is $10. Tickets are $8 for adults, $2 for students/senior citizens.
Head coach: Joe Whalen
Jersey # Name Position Year
24 Kat Phipps G Senior
20 Ellyn Stoll G Soph.
22 Jen Louro G Soph.
12 Jess Louro G/F Senior
21 Elizabeth Marsicano F/C Freshman
Key reserves: Makayla Markham (Fr., G); Katie Coakley (Sr., F).
Head coach: Lisa Kukoda
Jersey # Name Position Year
24 Courtney Hagaman G Senior
10 Dara Mabrey G Freshman
11 Stella Clark G Soph.
23 Marina Mabrey G/F Senior
30 Victoria Galvan F/C Soph.
Key reserves: Gillian Black (Jr., G); Addie Masonius (So., G).
Breakdown: This is the third meeting this season between the two teams, with St. Rose having won 60-57 on its home court during the regular season before Manasquan rebounded to win 69-60 in the Shore Conference Tournament championship game.
Manasquan is in the TOC final for the third time in four years and second in a row, having won its only TOC title in 2012 behind current Notre Dame junior guard Michaela Mabrey and Michigan guard Katelynn Flaherty. This is the first appearance in the TOC final in St. Rose history.
Manasquan senior Marina Mabrey is a McDonald's All-American and the Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year who leads the state in averaging 25 points per game. She is coming off a 32-point performance in a semifinal win over Franklin and poured in 29 points along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists in the Warriors' SCT final victory over St. Rose.
Mabrey, who is headed to Notre Dame to join her sister, has brought her game up a notch in the postseason and is determined to help the Warriors take home their second TOC title after she was a freshman on the 2012 team that won it all.
“We’re gonna win it,” she said after the victory over Franklin. “There’s no reason to even think about getting this far to have it be a loss, because it’s going to be a victory.”
The key for St. Rose will be limiting Manasquan's transition offense on the big court at Sun National Bank Center. When the Warriors are able to get out and run with Mabrey in the open floor, they are very difficult to slow down because Mabrey can get all the way to the rim, dish it off to Victoria Galvan for buckets on the block or kick it out to shooters like Courtney Hagaman, Gillian Black, Stella Clark or her younger sister, freshman Dara Mabrey.
Galvan is coming off a 16-point, 11-rebound game against Franklin and has become a solid finisher in the paint in addition to a strong rebounder. Hagaman's 3-point shooting can be a big X-factor because when she is knocking down shots, Manasquan is almost unbeatable because teams can't remove defenders dedicated to stopping Mabrey to help on other players or she will bury them. Black also has hit several timely 3-pointers off the bench, while Clark is a primary ballhandler who also applies defensive pressure on the perimeter.
St. Rose also is going to have to find a way to free up senior guard Kat Phipps, a St. Francis (N.Y.) recruit who averages 23 points per game and has buried 151 3-pointers this season. Dara Mabrey held Phipps to only 10 points on five shot attempts in the SCT final, and St. Rose will need her scoring to be able to make school history. When St. Rose beat Manasquan in the regular season, Phipps exploded for 34 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter.
Senior Jess Louro, a Middle Tennessee State recruit, has been the glue for St. Rose. She and Phipps have handled the bulk of the scoring, and Louro has also handled the ball, taken tough defensive assignments and led the way as a rebounder. She poured in 26 points in the SCT final loss against Manasquan.
Elizabeth Marsicano has been a consistent rebounding force and interior paint presence on defense as a freshman. Louro's younger sister, sophomore Jen Louro, is St. Rose's defensive stopper, who most likely will be tasked with trying to slow down Mabrey. Sophomore guard Ellyn Stoll is another shooting threat and ballhandler along with freshman reserve Makayla Markham, a Manasquan resident who showed her mettle by burying a huge go-ahead 3-pointer in a TOC semifinal win over St. John Vianney with 48 seconds left in the game.
The best-case scenario for Manasquan is that the Warriors have room to get out and run on offense to give Marina Mabrey opportunities to take over the game, while Dara Mabrey and Co. again slow down Phipps in halfcourt sets. Mix in a few timely jumpers from the guards and some putbacks by Galvan, and the Warriors are a good bet to take home the crown.
St. Rose needs another big game out of Jess Louro, while looking to get Phipps some open threes in transition early to get her going. Someone out of the group of Jen Louro, Marsicano, Stoll or Markham is most likely going to have to give them double-digit points to take down the top-seeded Warriors. A huge key could be getting Marina Mabrey in foul trouble early by being aggressive offensively and looking to take charges on defense. If the Purple Roses can get her out of the game for long stretches, that could swing everything in their favor.