Girls Basketball – Pt. Boro Rallys in WOBM 1st Round to Earn Shot at Squan
TOMS RIVER – Point Boro senior Lindsey Havens has played in enough big games to know when her team needs a boost of energy. After helping to rally the team after a poor first half Saturday against Brick Memorial during the WOBM Christmas Classic first round, Havens and the Panthers will get a chance to play in another big game.
Havens scored a game-high 17 points and the Panthers – the No. 9 seed in the Christmas Classic – rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat No. 8 Brick Memorial, 44-39. The win sets up a quarterfinal showdown with top-seeded Manasquan, last year’s NJSIAA Tournament of Champions runner-up and a consensus top-two team in the state.
Havens scored 10 of her points in the second half, during which Point Boro outscored Brick Memorial 26-13. Trailing 26-16 late in the second quarter, the Panthers scored the last points of the first half to trim the deficit to eight and spark a 19-2 run that spanned 12 minutes of the second, third and fourth quarters.
“The halftime locker room was really quiet,” Havens said. “Coach (Dave) Drew walked in and basically told us, ‘This is why we’re losing. We played a bad first half and nobody has anything to say.’ So Emily Henn and I got up and just told everyone to pull together and get on the same page. That’s what was going to get us through this.”
Senior center Brianna Skinner helped key the second-half surge as well, scoring 12 of her 16 points after halftime. Skinner hit two key shots late in the fourth quarter to put Point Boro back up by three on both occasions. Brick Memorial missed an opportunity to take the lead and Skinner came back and knocked down a short-range bank shot to put Point Boro ahead, 40-37 with under two to play.
“Brianna’s been progressing each year and she’s finally a senior now,” Drew said. “It’s good to see seniors have senior moments.”
Brick Memorial jumped out to an 11-point lead in the second quarter behind its trapping defense, led by senior guard Danielle Oakley, who finished with 14 points and six steals.
“We spend most of our practice time on press break, so it’s not something we’re uncomfortable with,” Havens said. “I think we just needed to focus and start making the right passes and at the end of the game, we were just rushing and not taking time to see the court.”
Point Boro will take on Manasquan in the final two years removed from playing in the Shore Conference Tournament final, when Havens was a sophomore.
“I’d like to see us be competitive,” said Drew, whose team notched a 12-point opening-night win over Central on Friday night. “Obviously, Manasquan is a tremendous team. They are the best team in the state, so it’s definitely an opportunity for us to learn about our team and show people what we can do. I’d like to see us compete for 32 minutes and we’ll see what happens.”