Girls Basketball – Manasquan and St. John Vianney March Into T of C Semis
NJSIAA Girls Basketball Tournament of Champions
Friday, March 18
At Pine Belt Arena, Toms River
No. 2 Rutgers Prep (29-1) vs. No. 3 Manasquan (27-6), 5:30 p.m.
Defending champion Manasquan is seeking its fourth trip to the Tournament of Champions final - all of which have come in the last five years. The Warriors won the Group II championship for the third time by defeating High Point in Sunday's group final, then rallied to beat Group I champion University in the T of C opening round on Wednesday.
Trailing 49-42 late in the fourth quarter, Manasquan closed the game on a 15-0 run to pull out a 57-49 win over the Phoenix. Sophomore Dara Mabrey led the effort with 22 points, including a pair of crucial threes during the closing surge. Freshman Faith Masonius contributed 15 points and nine rebounds and junior Stella Clark added 13 points and nine boards. Mabrey has 37 points in Manasquan's last two wins, while Clark and Masonius have each scored 33.
In order to reach a third straight championship game and keep its hopes of a T of C repeat alive, the Warriors will have to knock off a one-loss Rutgers Prep squad that has not lost to an NJSIAA Tournament-eligible team all season - losing only to Blair Academy. The Argonauts are led by 6-foot-3 senior and Drexel recruit Niki Metzel, as well as sophomore guard Jahsyni Knight and 6-foot-1 junior Gabi Redden.
No. 1 St. John Vianney (29-1) vs. No. 4 Lenape (30-2), 7:30 p.m.
The second game of Friday's T of C double-header is a rematch of a regular-season match-up at Lenape in January, which St. John Vianney won 62-43. The Lancers are looking to add to their record by reaching the T of C final for the 10th time and first since 2010. With two more wins, St. John Vianney would pass Malcolm X Shabazz for the most titles with seven.
After defeating Manasquan in the Shore Conference Tournament final, 59-48, the Lancers have dominated the field in the NJSIAA Tournament - which included their record 17th Non-Public group championship. After suffocating Gloucester Catholic, 39-25, in a low-scoring South Jersey Non-Public A final, St. John Vianney coasted to a 72-31 drubbing of Immaculate Heart Academy in the Non-Public A final. Senior point guard and DePaul recruit Kelly Campbell sank six three-pointers and scored 20 points in the win over IHA.
Lenape counters with 6-foot-2 Siena recruit Maddie Sims, who scored 14 points to lead the Indians to a Group IV final victory over J.F.K. of Paterson on Sunday - the program's first ever state title. Sophomore Kendall Keyes is the team's second-leading scorer and led Lenape with 15 points in its T of C quarterfinal win over Old Tappan on Wednesday.