Toms River, NJ- From the moment Saint John Vianney lost to Saint Rose in last years Tournament of Champions Semi-Final game, the Lancers have been on a mission.  Saturday afternoon at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River, Saint John Vianney wasted no time making a statement and finished off Immacualte Heart with a 72-31 win in the NJSIAA Non Public A Championship game.

For the second year in a row it was Saint John Vianney getting the best of Immaculate Heart.  This year however, the Lancers jumped out early and often on the Blue Hens with a 20-5 first quarter and 40-9 halftime leads.  This was a dramatic difference to last years final where Saint John Vianney had to overcome a 14 point halftime lead before they outscored Immaculate 31-16 in the second half for a 50-46 win.

The win saturday added to the legacy and excellence at Saint John Vianney as they have now added to their resume 13 Shore Conference Tournament Championships, numerous division titles, 16 Non Public Group A Championships, 1 Non Public Group B Championship and 6 Tournament of Championship titles.  This year group is looking to close out their run with the schools first Tournament of Champions title since 2009.

SJV's Sarah Karpell looks to drive against Immaculate Heart's Katie Jones (photo Eric Braun)
SJV's Sarah Karpell looks to drive against Immaculate Heart's Katie Jones (photo Eric Braun)

The Lancers opened the game on an 10-0 run when Vanessa Pinho scored the games first points just a minute into the game when Kelly Campbell found her for a wide open three.  Campbell would add her first of side three pointers in the game to extend the lead to 6-0.  Tina Lebron would force the Blue Hens into and early timeout after she hit her first basket of the day to make it 8-0 and then Campbell added to the lead with a field goal to make it 10-0 with five minutes to play.

Little in height but big in heart Pinho continues to reck havoc on opposing ball handlers and today was no different as she was able to come up with 2 steals and create another 5 turnovers.  Afterwards she added "“I know I am not an offensive weapon so I take great pride in my defense and doing what it takes to help my team win."  Pinho also added "it is very exciting to win but losing last year in the Tournament of Champions we have unfinished business, our goal is to win it all, this is exciting for the time being, but once we are back in the gym, it’s time to look at our next opponent and get that done too.”

It was the defensive pressure in the first half that converted so many scoring chances for the Lancers.  In the first half Saint John Vianney's backcourt press resulted in 9 steals between Pinho, Gigi Camponegro, Lebron and Sarah Karpell.  The aggressive defense did not let up in the second half as the Lancers would finish the game with 15 steals and force Immaculate into 26 combined turnovers.

Kelly Campbell defends against Immaculate Heart (photo Eric Braun)
Kelly Campbell defends against Immaculate Heart (photo Eric Braun)

After an impressive first half of basketball, Saint John Vianney came out in the third a little sluggish holding a 40-9 lead and the Blue Hens opened the quarter on a 7-3 run.  With just under five minutes to play the veteran leadership took over once again and the Lancers closed the quarter on an 8-5 run and finished the third up 51-21.

Saint John Vianney would close out the NJSIAA Non Public Group A Finals with their third 20-point quarter of the day (20, 20, 21).  For the seniors Campbellm Caponegro, Kellie Crouch, Megan Furch, Lebron, Pero and Pinho, their season continues on in search of one more trophy to raise hopefully on Monday March 21st in the Tournament of Champions final at the Sun National Bank Arena in Trenton.

Afterwards Coach Karpell commented on her teams success against Immaculate "“We knew going in that JordanWilmoth was their primary ball handler so we tried to trap them early and force turnovers from players who aren’t comfortable with handling the ball, I think our players executed that quite well, we had them frazzled and playing a little faster than they wanted.”

No one had more of complete game then Campbell who finished the day with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists and added to the list of greats to come out of Saint John Vianney.  Most importantly was her leadership in poise throughout this run so far.  In the Sectional Final against Gloucester she was predominantly quiet on the scoreboard but it was her ball handling and leadership that was the difference.  Today against Immaculate Heart it was an all-around game for her that showed why she will one day be in the Lancers Hall of Fame.

Afterwards a humble Campbell commented on her hot start to the game by adding "I felt like I was open a lot early and unlike the other day I took the shots, but that was a credit to my teammates who ran the plays and opened lanes for me to get good looks."

Kely Campbell against Immaculate Heart (photo Ray Richardson)
Kely Campbell in action against Immaculate Heart (photo Ray Richardson)


15Kimi Evans40010
20Kelly Campbell61120
25Gabrielle Camponegro3440
31Tina Lebron4246
33Vanessa Pinho2028
4Courtney Dobrzynski3102
5Kellie Crouch00012
21Zoe Pero5202
12Julia Ramos1015
13Sarah Karpell3233
14Riley Kehoe0100
22Madison Doring0002
3Abby Anderko0000
50Jada Bonner2000
32Megan Furch1100
44Sarah Furch0000
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