TOMS RIVER - On the heels of a thrilling, come-from-behind win over Immaculate Heart Academy on Saturday and with a potential showdown against second-seeded St. Rose just over the horizon, the St. John Vianney girls basketball team heard it over and over again from head coach Dawn Karpell: do not look past Tuesday's NJSIAA Tournament of Champions quarterfinal game against Group I champion New Providence.

After overcoming slow starts in each of their last two NJSIAA Tournament victories, the Lancers responded to their coach's plea by jump-starting the offense early and putting the Pioneers away in the third quarter for a 63-39 win that sets up a semifinal match-up with the Purple Roses on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. back at Pine Belt Arena.

"We made a really big point not to overlook (New Providence) coming into this game," St. John Vianney junior Kelly Campbell said. "We had to get through today to get to St. Rose, and we knew (New Providence) beat Secaucus, so we couldn't take them lightly."

St. John Vianney junior Kellie Crouch buried three of the Lancers' seven three-pointers as Vianney stormed past New Providence and into the Tournament of Champions semifinals. (Photo by Ray Richardson)

"I gave them some stories about some opponents we played against and some times when it happened to us just to get it in their heads that anything can happen," Karpell said.

Sophomore center Kim Evans scored a game-high 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field and helped spark the offense early on with six first-quarter points. The Lancers made their first four three-point shots - all in the first quarter - with junior guard Kellie Crouch connecting on two of them.

"(Karpell) emphasized the point that I had a size mismatch and the guards were going to look to get the ball inside to me to get a shot or to kick it out," Evans said. "My guards did a great job getting me the ball in position to get a good shot and when we kicked it out, they did a great job knocking down shots."

Junior Kelly Campbell had 12 points and 10 assists to help St. John Vianney roll into the Tournament of Champions semifinals. (Photo by Ray Richardson)

New Providence worked for an early 9-7 edge, but St. John Vianney churned out a 17-0 run - including a 15-0 run to close the first quarter and take a 22-9 edge into the second.

"I thought Kim did a great job playing under control and getting good shots and I thought our guards also did a good job, for the most part, of making the right entry passes into her," Karpell said.

St. John Vianney's offense stagnated in the second as the Lancers took a 27-17 into the half, but clicked again in the third. After going scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting in the first half, Campbell scored 10 of her 12 points in the third quarter and shot 4-for-5 from the floor in the first eight minutes of the second half. Campbell also orchestrated St. John Vianney's balanced attack with 10 assists as the Lancers had 19 assists on 26 field goals for the game. Sophomore Courtney Dobrzynski also added four assists and three steals for the Lancers.

"We wanted to get out and run against them because we knew they couldn't run with us," Campbell said. "We didn't come out great defensively and they made some shots in the first quarter, but we knew if we could get out and run and get the ball inside in the half court, they would have a tough time guarding us."

Campbell also spent most of the game defending New Providence junior and University of Florida recruit Sydney Morang. Morang scored 11 points on 5-for-15 shooting against Campbell and junior Gigi Caponegro, who opened the game on her.

"I played AAU with her so I know her game better than most people do," Campbell said. "I'd much rather be playing with her. We were like best friends over the summer so I feel bad about it ending for her. She's a great player."

Crouch finished with nine points, while Caponegro chipped in eight in the Lancers' balanced offensive attack. Juniors Tina Lebron (six), Vanessa Pinho (five) and Zoe Pero (two) also combined for 13 points off the bench and the Lancers got 17 total bench points after late field goals from Megan Furch and Julia Ramos.

Thursday's game between the Purple Roses and the Lancers will mark the first meeting between the two teams since St. Rose beat St. John Vianney by a point during the 2013-14 regular season.

"We could not be more excited to play St. Rose," Campbell said. "That one-point loss at Rumson (against St. Rose) hangs in our head a lot."


Box Score

St. John Vianney 63, New Providence 39






New Providence (22-10)






St. John Vianney (26-3)







New Providence (39): Sarah Zeto 3 0-0 7, Katie Kinum 4 3-4 14, Emily Molstad 1 3-4 5, Sydney Morang 5 1-2 11, Kelsey Quinn 0 0-0 0, Brielle Carleen 1 0-0 2, Riley Kinum 0 0-0 0, Anthonnella Chacon 0 0-0 0, Elizabeth 0 0-0 0, Amanda Maurer 0 0-0 0, Kate Kohut 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 7-10 39

Three-pointers: Zeto, K. Kinum

St. John Vianney (63): Kelly Campbell 5 1-1 12, Kellie Crouch 3 0-0 9, Kim Evans 7 1-3 15, Gigi Caponegro 3 2-2 8, Courtney Dobrzynski 1 0-0 2, Zoe Pero 1 0-0 2, Tina Lebron 2 0-0 6, Vanessa Pinho 2 0-0 5, Abby Anderko 0 0-0 0, Julia Ramos 1 0-0 2, Riley Kehoe 0 0-0 0, Megan Furch 1 0-0 2, Madison Doring 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 4-6 63

Three-pointers: Campbell, Crouch 3, Lebron 2, Pinho