Group 2 State Semifinals

Thursday, March 8, 7 p.m.

At Williamstown

Manchester (26-4) vs. Manasquan (28-2)

Manchester Road to the State Semifinals: Defeated 16-Point Pleasant Boro, 70-21, 8-Collingswood, 55-26, 4-Sterling, 74-49 and 3-Haddonfield, 54-18 for its second straight South Jersey sectional title.

Manasquan Road to the State Semifinals: Defeated 16-Bordentown, 79-26, 8-Matawan, 79-23, 4-Holmdel, 77-40 and 2-Lincoln, 67-43.

Projected starting lineup

10-Kemari Reynolds (So. G 5-8)
15-Dakota Adams (Jr. F 5-10)
20-Destiny Adams (Fr. G/F 6-3)
30-Serenity Anderson (So. G/F 5-9)
35-Asha Harper (Sr. G/F 5-10)

Key Reserves

5-Nahkaleigh Hayes-Jones (So. G 5-6)
12-Morgan Brustman (Fr. G 5-9)
24-Victoria Labrecque (So. G 5-6)

Projected starting lineup

2-Lola Mullaney (Jr. G 5-10)
10-Dara Mabrey (Sr. G 5-7)
13-Faith Masonius (Jr. G/F 6-0)
14-Carly Geissler (Sr. G 5-6)
25-Emma McMenaman (Sr. F 5-9)

Key Reserves

4-Maci Black (Fr. G 5-3)
23-Allison Waters (Fr. G 5-8)
24-Annie Mako (Jr. G 5-6)

Keys to victory

  • You gotta believe: Despite its fulfilling campaign, one that included the WOBM Christmas Classic crown, a share of the B South title, the program's first trip to the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals and, on Tuesday, a coronation for a second straight South Jersey sectional crown, Manchester enters as the prohibitive underdog. No shame in that. Just about anyone that runs into the Warriors right now would be labeled as such. However, the Hawks are no strangers with Manasquan. They met a year ago under the same set of circumstances with Manasquan prevailing, 51-34. Manchester is a different brand this winter - still young - but explosive, diverse and exuding confidence. The Hawks need to know within their hearts they can compete and trust in what got them there.
  • Rolling: As in 17 straight wins. That's the run Manasquan is one and within it, the Warriors rolled to the Shore Conference Tournament championship and their fifth straight Central Jersey title. The four-time defending Group 2 state titlist is clicking on all cylinders, running the floor with efficiency, controlling the glass and defending with variety, notably an active 2-3 zone to complement its man-to-man.
  • Carousel of scoring: On Monday night, all five Manchester starters had a bucket within the first six minutes. Sophomore point guard Kemari Reynolds (12.3 ppg.) is shrewd setting up defenders for the blow by off the dribble and 6-3 freshman Destiny Adams (15.1 ppg., 26 3-pointers, 8.7 rpg.) runs the floor with graceful strides to go with her post moves and perimeter touch. Sophomore Serenity Anderson (5.4 ppg. 4.3 rpg.) and senior Asha Harper (7.5 ppg., 5.2 rpg.) get into seams and junior forward Dakota Adams offers muscle inside (10.6 ppg., 9.9 rpg.).
  • Pick your poison: One of the primary reasons Manasquan is scoring at a rate of 68.9 points per game (74.2 in the state tournament) revolves around the endless options within its offense. Junior Faith Masonius (18.4 ppg., 10.6 rpg.) can clear a defensive board and fire a 50-foot outlet to any number of breaking guards to trigger a flood of run outs. The six-footer has raised her game to another level this winter. Junior guard Lola Mullaney (15.4 ppg., 40 3-pointers) routinely finds holes along the perimeter to launch and works off the ball with cuts to the basket. And, senior guard Dara Mabrey (22.2 ppg., 63 3-pointers, 4.5 rpg., 4.7 apg., 3.0 spg.) lives for this time of year. The 5-7 playmaker, who recently joined her older sisters Michaela and Marina in the 2,000-point club, plays quick but with purpose, intellect and an edge. Her offensive repertoire is backed by some in-your-face man-to-man that makes her extremely tough to take off the dribble. Senior guard Carly Geissler distributes, steps into a jumper and is among those quick to release down floor while senior forward Emma McMenaman positions strong on the blocks to finish as well as rebound.

Prediction: Manasquan