Toms River North’s Ashley Tutzauer Ends on a Positive Note on Home Court in Senior All-Star Game
TOMS RIVER - While the stakes weren't as high as the last time she stepped on her home court, Thursday night's Shore Basketball Coaches Association Senior All-Star Game offered Toms River North's Ashley Tutzauer a chance to walk off with a smile and a victory.
Tutzauer finished second on the East squad with 10 points, burying a pair of 3-pointers in a 93-84 win over the West all-stars at Pine Belt Arena. It served as a positive ending in her first game back on the court since the Mariners lost a 37-35 heartbreaker to Cherokee on a last-second shot in the South Jersey Group IV championship game. Tutzauer's steal and score had tied the game at 35 before the Chiefs' final heroics.
"It's nice to come out with a win and not a buzzer-beater loss,'' Tutzauer said about Thursday's game. "It was a sad ending (in the state playoffs), but we had great run. No one expected us to go that far, so it was fun."
The East was led by Manasquan star guard Stella Clark, who earned Most Valuable Player honors with a team-high 16 points. Tutzauer, who averaged 16 points a game for the Mariners this season, also got to play for her head coach, Vicki Gillen, one last time, as she and Toms River East head man Kevin Cohen coached the victorious East squad.
"One last game on this court, it was a good time,'' Tutzauer said.
Tutzauer was one of the standouts on a Toms River North team that finished 27-4 for their best season since making the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions final in 2000. The Mariners went undefeated in Class A South to capture a division title and won the WOBM Christmas Classic title to kick off the season.
"I'll miss my teammates and the bonds we made,'' Tutzauer said.
Tutzauer is currently uncommitted, but said she is leaning toward playing at Cabrini University in Pennsylvania.
Thursday night offered her the opportunity to cap her great career by competing with the top seniors in the best girls basketball conference in New Jersey.
"It's really fun to meet them,'' she said. "They're all great players, so it's really fun to play with all this great talent. It really shows who you can compete and hang with, so it's a good experience."