Girls Basketball – NJSIAA Group Final Preview
Girls Basketball NJSIAA Group Championships
Sunday, March 13
At Pine Belt Arena, Toms River
Group II Championship
Manasquan (25-6) vs. High Point (26-4), 2 p.m.
Road to the Final
Manasquan: Defeated Willingboro, Bernards, Lincoln, Rumson-Fair Haven and Sterling
High Point: Defeated Lenape Valley, Glen Rock, Pascack Hills, Jefferson and Newark Tech
Despite graduating McDonald’s All-American and current Notre Dame standout Marina Mabrey, Manasquan is once again a favorite in Group II and a contender for the Tournament of Champions title. The Warriors’ young, senior-void roster has also overcome preseason knee injuries to key members Victoria Galvan Gillian Black. Returning starting backcourt mates Stella Clark and Dara Mabrey have been instrumental, while freshman Faith Masonius has made a major impact in her first year.
High Point is coming off its first ever sectional championship and will look to ride that wave of momentum all the way to its first ever group title. Sophomore Margo Peterson leads the Panthers in scoring while senior Maddy Smith has also been a key contributor in the scoring column. They stand between Manasquan and a sixth overall group title and third straight for the Warriors.
Group III Championship
Middletown South (25-3) vs. Old Tappan (25-4), 4 p.m.
Road to the Final
Middletown South: Defeated Westampton Tech, Wall, Hopewell Valley, Neptune and Ocean City
Old Tappan: Defeated Garfield, Montville, Teaneck, Ramapo and Voorhees
Middletown South is the defending Group III champion and like last year, the Eagles will have to overcome some significant hurdles due to injury to win the title. The Eagles continue to play without junior Haley Dalonzo and senior Julia Valkos, but have rallied around returning starters Stephanie Karcz and Alexandra Balsamo. They have also played for their coach, Tom Brennan, who missed most of the year for health-related reasons and only recently returned to the bench to support acting head coach Jessie Chalmers.
The Eagles will look to repeat as champions by beating an Old Tappan team led by the senior duo of Emily Crevani and Kailyn Sytsma. Old Tappan is seeking its first ever state championship while Middletown South won its first last year.