Officially it's Pod "A" of the Shore Conference Postseason but we at the Shore Sports Network and just about everyone else refers to it as the "Championship Pod."  It is where the shore's top eight teams have been placed in an unofficial bracket to determine who is the best girls team in the best conference in the state. At the top of that group is St. John Vianney and the million-dollar question is can anyone beat the Lady Lancers, who are without question the #1 team in the entire state.

Play begins today and here are the first-round matchups and predictions in the top group of 8:

#8 Jackson Memorial  at #1 St. John Vianney

After a mid-February shutdown, the Jaguars won 3 of 4 down the stretch including wins over Manchester and Red Bank Regional to earn the final spot in the top group and a date with SJV.  Seniors Rachel Capua and Lexi Linton make for a powerful 1-2 combo for Jackson but Vianney matches that with Madison St. Rose and Katie Hill as well as a deep and talented roster that includes Meg Cahalal, Ashley O'Connor and Emma Bruen.  The Lady Lancers have beaten some very good teams on their way to an 11-0 record and are battled tested.

Prediction:  St. John Vianney  71   Jackson Memorial   47

#5 Rumson-Fair Haven  at #4 Manasquan

An interesting matchup to see who gets to play Vianney.  Rumson is 7-5 but 0-5 against teams in this pod.  Seniors Cortland McBarron and Grace Munt and sophomore Julia Corsentino form a very good trio for RFH.  The Warriors come into the game riding a 10-game winning streak since a loss to St. Rose more than a month ago.  Juniors Brooke Hollawell and Mary Donnelly have been solid all season long and freshman Hope Masonius has contributed down the stretch.

Prediction:  Manasquan   60  Rumson-Fair Haven  54

#6 Manchester  at  #3 St. Rose

This is the most intriguing first-round game because of the presence of the shore's most dominating player.  Destiny Adams has put the visiting Hawks on her back just about every night and how St. Rose decides to play her will likely determine the outcome.  Do they double-team her and allow someone else (Amyah Bray or Devin Quigley) to try and pick up the slack or do they hope a typical Adams performance (28pts, 18rebs) is not too much to overcome.  Of course St. Rose has plenty of firepower in senior guard Abby Antognoli and sophomore Rosie Scognamiglio.  Don't be surprised if this one goes down to the final possession.

Prediction:   St. Rose     62   Manchester   61

#7 Red Bank Regional  at  #2 Red Bank Catholic

After losing to the Caseys by 54 points two weeks ago the seeding committee did not do cross-town rival RBR any favors by setting up this rematch.  RBC has simply way too much now that Justine Pissott is back and able to team up with Ally Carman to form a terrific outside-inside combo.  The only blip on their season came in a loss to Vianney without Pissott and they bounced back with impressive wins over Rumson (twice) and Manchester.  The Bucs will need to get good 3-point shooting from Amelia Medolla and Chloe Teter plus much more to keep this one close.

Prediction:   RBC    69   Red Bank    41

St. John Vianney senior Katie Hill drives by Red Bank Catholic sophomore casey Priori. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

 

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