HOLMDEL – The St. Rose girls basketball team had to light up the scoreboard, withstand a furious comeback and catch a fortunate break in order to beat one of the nation’s top teams Sunday at Holmdel for the Coaches Choice USA NJ/NY Challenge, but the Purple Roses once again proved they are built for the big game.

Senior Lucy Thomas led five St. Rose players in double-figure scoring with 25 points and St. Rose overcame a game-tying three-pointer at the end of regulation and potential game-tying three-pointer that was ruled a long two at the end of double-overtime to beat nationally-ranked Long Island Lutheran, 84-83.

St. Rose senior Lucy Thomas goes up on Long Island Lutheran's Celeste Taylor. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
St. Rose senior Lucy Thomas goes up on Long Island Lutheran's Celeste Taylor. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

St. Rose (16-1) led by 17 points at one point in the fourth quarter and by 11 with under 1:30 left before L.I. Lutheran showed why they are ranked No. 19 in the latest USA Today national poll. The Crusaders rallied to send the game into overtime behind offensive outbursts by junior guard and University of Texas commit Celeste Taylor and senior Princeton commit Grace Stone.

Taylor led all scorers with 29 points and Stone added 21, including the game-tying three-pointer as time expired in the fourth quarter. Stone also hit a game-tying three in the first overtime that proved to be the final basket of the period.

St. Rose junior Sam Mikos scored five of her 11 points in the second overtime and a pair of free throws by senior teammate Mikayla Markham gave the Roses an 84-81 lead in the final seconds. Long Island Luthern got the ball to Kendal Miller in the corner on its final possession and Miller drilled a shot out of the corner, but it was ruled by the officials that she stepped across the three-point arc. The two-point shot made the score 84-83 and gave St. Rose the win.

Markham finished with 15 points and 12 assists, while senior Elizabeth Marsicano added 11 points and eight rebounds. Junior Lauren Lithgow also added 12 points on four three-pointers for St. Rose.


In other Coaches Choice Challenge Action

Manasquan 53, Rutgers Prep 42

Manasquan’s “big three” of senior Dara Mabrey and juniors Faith Masonius and Lola Mullaney combined for 47 points and the Warriors (14-2) avenged a regular-season loss to the Argonauts (12-3) last year by taking down Rutgers Prep Saturday in a showdown of two of the state’s top five teams.

Mabrey led Manasquan with a game-high 21 points, including eight in the fourth quarter and six in the final two minutes to help put the game on ice. Rutgers Prep cut Manasquan’s lead to 45-42 with exactly two minutes to go before the Warriors closed the game with eight straight points, including two baskets and two free throws by Mabrey and a layup by Mullaney.

The first half belonged to Mullaney, who poured in 13 of her 15 points before the break, including nine in the second quarter. Masonius scored seven of her 11 points in the first half.

Manasquan junior Lola Mullaney. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
Manasquan junior Lola Mullaney. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Senior Chiara Tibbitt also scored 21 points to lead Rutgers Prep, which played without junior standout and leading scorer Leilani Correa, who injured her ankle earlier in the week, according to NJ.com reporter Brian Deakyne.

All three of Rutgers Prep’s losses this season are to Shore Conference opponents. In addition to Sunday’s neutral site loss to Manasquan, the Argonauts lost road games to St. John Vianney and St. Rose.


Red Bank Catholic 51, Gill St. Bernard’s 37 - Photo Gallery by Paula Lopez

Senior Hayley Moore poured in four three-pointers and scored 16 points to help the Caseys (12-4) cap a wild week with a win over the Knights (6-5).

Red Bank Catholic’s week included a win over Manasquan – the No. 1 team in the state heading into the game – at home, followed by a stunning loss on the road at Wall (6-9).

Senior Katie Rice added nine points and classmate Rose Caverly chipped in eight for Red Bank Catholic.


St. John Vianney 84, St. Anthony (N.Y.) 53 - Photo Gallery by Paula Lopez

The Lancers – currently ranked No. 1 in the state by NJ.com – continued their red-hot start to the season by dominating St. Anthony of Long Island to improve to a perfect 15-0.


Notre Dame 62, Holmdel 52 - Photo Gallery by Paula Lopez

Holmdel senior Christina Antonakakis scored her 1,000th career point, but the Hornets (11-6) could not keep up with the Irish (11-4). Antonakakis finished with a game-high 29 points.