By Ella Brockway
SSN Student Correspondent

HOLMDEL—The St. John Vianney Lancers (16-1, 9-0) completed a regular-season sweep of the Manasquan Warriors (11-5, 5-3) in thrilling fashion Tuesday night, beating their division rivals 61-55.

Junior forward Kimi Evans led all scorers with 24 points, and gave another strong performance on the offensive and defensive boards.

“Kimi bailed us out tonight,” said Vianney coach Dawn Karpell. “She hit some very timely shots, and when we did settle in to start reversing the ball, we were able to find her, and she capitalized on it.”

The win also guarantees the Lancers at least a share of the Shore Conference Class A Central division title, which Manasquan won a year ago. They currently lead Manasquan and Rumson-Fair Haven by three games in the divisional race.

Photo by Ella Brockway

Evans controlled the game for the Lancers from the tip-off, forcing Manasquan forward, and one of the top freshmen in the Shore Conference, Faith Masonius, to head to the bench with two fouls less than two minutes into the first quarter. Vianney went on an 8-0 run to take a 16-5 lead into the second.

Manasquan would not give up without a fight, and used strong performances from juniors Addie Masonius and Stella Clark to cut a 20-point deficit to 10 going into the half.

Masonius would finish with 11 points, all in the first half, and Clark ended with a team-high 16 points. All 15 of Faith Masonius’s points came in the second half.

Heading into the third quarter, the Warriors began their comeback, a sight not unfamiliar to Vianney, who went to overtime with Manasquan when the two teams last met in January in a game that the Lancers won by four. Back-to-back scores from Addie Masonius and sophomore Dara Mabrey closed the Lancers’ lead to two, and the Manasquan defense held Vianney to just nine points in the third quarter.

“We always emphasize the importance of getting a stop, and then getting and score, and then getting another stop again to complete it,” said Manasquan head coach Lisa Kukoda after the game. “I think we were able to do that when we went on that run, and there were a lot of good little things in it.”

“We just got a little impatient,” said Karpell on her team’s third quarter. “They turned on their defense, because, obviously, Manasquan never goes away.”

Photo by Ella Brockway

Despite two consecutive steals off of Vianney possessions, the Warriors couldn’t stop the Lancers’ high-low offense in the fourth quarter. Kimi Evans scored eight of her team’s 12 points in the fourth from inside the paint.

Freshman guard Julia Ramos also stepped up at the end of the game, leading the Vianney bench with 14 points, and going to the free-throw line five times in the last three and a half minutes.

“We guarded (just) as we had to in the fourth quarter,” said Karpell. “I think Julia Ramos stepping up and taking some charges (gave) us the key momentum plays that we needed.”

Senior guard Kelly Campbell finished with eleven points on the day, and went 5-for-6 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Lancers.

“Kelly is just the person who runs the team for us,” said Karpell of her point guard. “Her fingerprints are all over the game, regardless of how many she scores.”

St. John Vianney will face their next big Shore Conference test on Friday against Red Bank Catholic, while Manasquan will look ahead to a major rivalry game on Feb. 13 at home against St. Rose.