Jackson Township - The old saying defense wins championships never rang so true as it did in the South Jersey Non-Public A Final. Red Bank Catholic, who was trailing 23-22 at halftime, only gave up three points in the second half to defeat Paul VI 44-26. 


The Caseys did everything that championship teams do in route to their first sectional title since 2017, which was against Paul VI. They outrebounded Paul VI 31-20, had six blocks and five steals in the game and forced countless turnovers in the second half. They held Paul VI without a field goal in the second half with all three points coming from the foul-line. 


“I said you're down one point, what is the big deal,” RBC coach Joe Montano said to the team at halftime. “I think keeping the ball out of the lane really helped us. Most important thing I said is that if you make shots that is the best transition defense because they can not get up and down the floor.”


RBC came out of halftime the same way they opened up the game, with a 5-0 run. Sophomore Addy Nyemcheck, who was playing with a bandage on her head from an injury in the St. John Vianney semifinal game, scored 6 of her game-high 13 points in the 3rd quarter. She opened the quarter with a basket and it was followed with a 3-pointer by sophomore Katie Liggio after a turnover. Liggio finished with three 3-pointers and 11 points. 


“I think we had to get loose a little bit and we were a little tight in the first half,” Nyemcheck said. “Our defense turns into offense and that has always been our staple as a team and we emphasized it today.” 


No matter what rotation RBC had on the floor, all the players stepped up on the defensive end. Junior Tessa Carman led the team with 8 rebounds and caused problems in the lane, blocking two shots. Sophomore guard Tessa Liggio grabbed four rebounds and blocked 3 shots in the game. 


“Tessa Liggio has been our leading rebounder in a bunch of games this year,” Montano said. “I have been after them to get defensive boards all season long and tonight they listened.”


Another player who made an impact on both ends of the floor coming off the bench was sophomore Daniela Maletsky. She finished with 9 points and 6 rebounds and was aggressive attacking the basket and going after rebounds. 

Daniela Maletsky against Morris Catholic. Photo by Tom Smith
Daniela Maletsky against Morris Catholic. Photo by Tom Smith


“I feel when I come off the bench I can bring so much energy,” Maletsky said. “I can watch the game and see what is happening and get an insight before I go in.”


The Caseys got off to a fast start taking a 7-2 lead in the first quarter behind junior Christina Liggio’s 3-pointer and two steals early in the game. RBC had four different scorers in the first quarter in a balanced attack. 


Paul VI settled down midway through the first and knocked five 3-pointers in the first half to stay with RBC. Both teams went back and forth in the 2nd quarter exchanging leads. Paul VI's biggest lead was 14-12 in the 2nd quarter. 


With the victory, RBC moves on to the Non-Public A Final at Rutgers on Friday at 1 p.m. They play Pope John who defeated Immaculate Heart in the North Jersey Non-Public A Final, 39-38.

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