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Shore Sports Network Final Girls Basketball Top 10

1-St. John Vianney (28-1, 14-0)

The Lancers authored a resume rich in accomplishments. St. John Vianney marched through a 14-0 run to claim the B North, upended defending champion Manchester, 57-50, for an unprecedented 14th Shore Conference Tournament title - and first since 2016 - and topped St. Rose, 67-54, to win the South Jersey, Non-Public A championship, marking the program’s 19th sectional crown. Its stifling defense, embodied by junior Emma Bruen and sophomores Megan Cahalan and Ashley O’Connor surrendered 34.6 points per game while an offense that took its cues from sophomore Madison St. Rose and juniors Katie Hill and Christina Whitehead, thrived off its unselfish balance. Get used to this group; there wasn’t a single senior among them.

2-Manchester (28-4, 14-0)

Photo by Paula Lopez

Riding a combination of proven experience and promising underclassmen, the Hawks maintained their status as one of the elite outfits in both the Shore Conference and beyond. Junior Destiny Adams, along with seniors Kemari Reynolds, Serenity Anderson and Nahkaleigh Hayes-Jones, offered tested qualities while incorporating sophomores Amyah Bray and Myah Hourigan and freshmen Angelica Velez and Gabriella Ross into the equation. What came out of their unified play was an unbeaten charge to a third straight WOBM Christmas Classic title as well as B South crown, a fourth consecutive South Jersey, Group 2 championship and a runner-up finish to St. John Vianney in the Shore Conference Tournament. 

3-St. Rose (22-8, 12-2)

Makayla Andrews of St. Rose (Photo by Gregg Lerner)

After an unforeseen 6-4 start, the Purple Roses gradually hit their stride, reserving their best play for the final stretch. They earned a share of the grueling A Central with Red Bank Catholic, despite bowing twice to the Caseys in the regular season, and gained a bit of revenge when they bounced their top-seeded rival in the semifinal round of South Jersey, Non-Public A with a 50-44 road win. That triumph was made possible by perhaps St. Rose’s most inspiring victory, when it roared back from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter to outlast Paul VI, 90-80 in double overtime in the quarterfinals. St. Rose bids farewell to seniors Brynn Farrell, Makayla Andrews and Maria Tedesco but has a playmaking nucleaus in place with junior Abby Antognoli.

4-Red Bank Catholic (22-6, 12-2)

Justine Pissott of Red Bank Catholic (Photo by Gregg Lerner)

The Caseys resided at No. 1 for a good portion of the season. They gained a share of the A Central championship and reached the semifinal stage of the Shore Conference Tournament where Manchester ended their run. After opening play in South Jersey, Non-Public A with a lopsided win over Notre Dame, top-seeded RBC was upended by St. Rose, 50-44, in the semifinal round. Sophomore Ally Carman developed into a reliable low post scoring option and was the perfect interior complement to the backcourt trio of Justine Pissott, Sophia Sabino and Toni Panayides. Red Bank Catholic will have a hard time replacing the defensive versatility of senior Fab Eggenschwiler. Among the year’s highlights was a 41-40 road win at Manasquan that established coach Joe Montano as the Shore Conference’s all-time leader in career wins with 654 victories.  

5-Manasquan (21-11, 9-5)

Brooke Hollawell of Manasquan (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Perhaps no team was more often associated with its youth than the Warriors, who responded with a friendly reminder that tradition never graduates. Sophomores Brooke Hollawell, Georgia Heine, Dorothy Loffredo and Mary Elizabeth Donnelly teamed with senior Maddie Fagan, juniors Allison Waters and Maci Black and freshman Rylyn Orlando to form a gritty gang that refused to allow Manasquan to take a step back. Instead, the cast bonded together to power the Warriors to a seventh straight Central Jersey, Group 2 title, capped by a 49-39 road win at top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven in the sectional final. For the second straight year, its post-season ride ended at the hands of Manchester in the state semifinal but the future sure looks bright.

6-Rumson-Fair Haven (21-9, 10-4)

Lucy Adams of Rumson-Fair Haven (Photo by Gregg Lerner)

Kudos to the Bulldogs, who refused to allow a rash of pre-season injuries to derail the season before it even began.  Seniors Paige Slaven, Lucy Adams and Sophia Passalaqua, along with junior Cortland McBarron, assured Rumson-Fair Haven had ample, tested experience while freshman Julia Corsentino headlined a group of talented underclassmen that emerged to offer some much-needed depth. The Dawgs handed RBC its first divisional loss by edging the Caseys, 51-50, on Jan. 30 and earned the top seed in Central Jersey, Group 2, advancing to the final where they fell to Manasquan.

7-Red Bank (21-7, 12-2)

Chloe Teter of Red Bank (Photo by Paula Lopez)

The Bucs rose to as high as No. 3 late in the season and were the top seed in Central Jersey, Group 3, only to be upset by ninth-seeded Jackson Liberty in the quarterfinals. However, the loss could not tarnish an otherwise stellar performance. Red Bank gave a hint of its capabilities by reaching the final of the WOBM Christmas Classic, where it fell to Manchester. Their paths crossed once more in the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament where the Bucs went toe-to-toe with the defending champion before bowing, 64-61. Juniors Chloe Teter, Caitlyn Decker, Amelia Medolla and Emma Moriarty united with senior Taylor Crystian to go 12-2 in B North, finishing second to St. John Vianney in the division chase but claiming the public school title. 

8-Marlboro (22-6, 12-0)

Erica DiSimone of Marlboro (Photo by Gregg Lerner)

The Mustangs secured their second straight A North title with a perfect showing against division foes and were the top seed in Central Jersey, Group 4, reaching the semifinals where they lost to eventual sectional champion Montgomery. In the process, Marlboro refined its style of play, relying on its perimeter punch and defensive pressure to put opponents in uncomfortable positions. The exterior shooting of senior Sam Nocco, juniors Jessica Riepe, Sammy Jay, Laura Morehead and sophomore Dani Schlesinger opened space for senior forward Katherine Sanchez to make an impact. The Stangs also got a boost from the emergence of freshman guard Erica DiSimone.

9-Jackson Memorial (23-4, 14-0)

Quite the season for the Jags. Senior guard Kristina Donza passed former Jackson Memorial star Hannah Missry to become the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,824 points, junior guard Rachel Capua bloomed into an offensive force and senior point guard Bianca Giordano dished out nearly 200 assists as the Jaguars rolled through an unbeaten charge to the A South title. Mackenzie Dackin and Ally Vella offered additional senior guidance that groomed sophomores Brooke McKown and Amber Williams as well as freshman Zoei Maffei to continue to uphold the Jags’ high standards.

10-Long Branch (17-6, 8-4)

For the first time since 1996, Long Branch posted a winning record. Coach Shannon Coyle built a sturdy foundation upon a talented senior nucleus, headlined by 6-0 guard Anyssa Fields, who established her rightful place among the best in the Shore Conference with 19 double-doubles. Madison Grayson provided a rugged interior presence as both a rebounder and finisher, Alanna Lynch blossomed into a deadly streak shooter and junior Jada Rogers grew into her role as a heady playmaker and timely penetrator. The Green Wave opened with five straight wins and answered a string of three successive losses by winning seven in a row and 12 of its final 15 contests.They knocked off Old Bridge in the first round of Central Jersey, Group 4 but lost to eventual sectional champion Montgomery in the quarterfinals. 

On the bubble: Holmdel (16-12, 7-7), Middletown South (15-11, 8-4); Toms River East (20-8, 10-4); Neptune (18-10, 10-4); Trinity Hall (17-8, 14-0); Donovan Catholic (18-9, 12-2).

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