Girls Basketball – Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week: St. John Vianney
What subtly cascaded from the rafters of OceanFirst Bank Center on Saturday triggered the final impetus for what will go up in the rafters at St. John Vianney.
An eerie cloud of deja vu' descended upon the Lady Lancers. The 8-0 start to the Shore Conference Tournament final that put defending champion Manchester on its heels, the nine-point lead built during that opening quarter replaced by the haunting reality of a one-point deficit with just over two minutes left in regulation.
Once upon a time, St. John Vianney was synonymous with success in the SCT, but the stauncing competition the Shore annually offers was not kind to the Lady Lancers in recent years. Three consecutive setbacks in the title game did not sit well with a program counted 13 banners noting their championship stock in the event hanging in its gym.
Thanks to its resiliency, defensive tenacity and poise in the face of mounting crisis, St. John Vianney will add a 14th to its unmatched collection courtesy of a 57-50 triumph over Manchester, earning the Lady Lancers the Jersey Mike's Team of the Week honor.
In a clash that featured eight lead changes in the second half, SJV owned the most important one. Down, 48-47, the Lancers reclaimed the advantage for good on a putback by sophomore guard and tournament MVP Madison St. Rose with 1:49 to go, the trigger to a 10-2 closing tear that sealed the outcome.
St. John Vianney went 8 for 10 from the foul line down the stretch with St. Rose, who accounted for 23 points, going 4 for 4 and junior guard Katie Hill, who finished with 15, sinking 3 of her 4 attempts.
In between,Hill and junior guard Ashley O'Connor neutralized Manchester's voracious appetite on the offensvie glass with critcial defensive rebounds and St. Rose added a steal amid a conditioned defense that held Manchester without a field goal or a rebound over the final 2:47.