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TOMS RIVER -- The St. John Vianney girls basketball team has not met an opponent in New Jersey that can hang with it over 32 minutes, but for the first 16 minutes of the Shore Conference Tournament championship game Sunday at RWJBarnabas Health Arena, the Lancers appeared to have encountered a worthy opponent.

In the second half, however, St. John Vianney showed why it is far and away the best team in New Jersey and one of America's best.

Senior Madison St. Rose scored 15 of her 21 points in the second half and junior teammate Zoe Brooks poured in 20 as the top-seeded Lancers pulled away in the second half to beat No. 3 Manasquan, 62-46.

PHOTO GALLERY: St. John Vianney vs. Manasquan by Ray Rich Photography

Photo by Ray Rich Photography.
Photo by Ray Rich Photography.
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"We had a slow start," Brooks said. "We were just trying to figure out their defense, but once we figured it out, that’s when we started to hit some shots and take the lead. I definitely think we wore them out in the second half with the defense we played."

Manasquan had St. John Vianney baffled for the first 12 minutes of the game and led 19-13 midway through the fourth quarter. St. John Vianney, however, closed the half on a 12-4 run to take a 25-23 lead into halftime and then scored the first four points of the third quarter to make it a 16-4 run.

"We were not satisfied how we were playing," St. Rose said. "We saw that Manasquan was pressuring us and controlling us on offense, but once we calmed down, we talked about it, came back out and we executed.

"Being up two is still an advantage, so we were still up, we still had a lead to work with, and I felt like we were calm just being up by two points. There is still no pressure."

Manasquan sophomore Hope Masonius hit a corner three-pointer to cut the Vianney lead to 29-26, but Brooks immediately answered with a drive to the basket and St. Rose connected on a three to give the Lancers their first double-digit lead, 36-26, with 4:45 left in the third.

Masonius was Manasquan's top scorer among its starters with 10 points, while junior Rylyn Orlando came off the bench to score a team-high 12 points. Senior Georgia Heine scored all eight of her points in the first half, hitting her first three shots of the game.

Manasquan's defense carried it to the championship game with a 51-30 win over Red Bank Catholic in Tuesday's semifinal and it worked to slow down St. Rose and Co. for the first half, but Brooks got going in the final four minutes of the half and put her team in front with two baskets, the second of which was a baseline drive for the final points of the first half.

Brooks has made an immense impact in her first year at St. John Vianney after transferring from Trenton Catholic. Having already been part of one of New Jersey's better programs as a freshman and sophomore, Brooks has fit in perfectly with St. John Vianney and adopted the team's winning expectations.

"I didn’t expect us to be this good," Brooks said. "Not just the best in the state but one of the best in the country.

"Dawn (Karpell) is a really good coach. They have definitely pushed me. We have a lot of good players and we compete at practice and it definitely helps us against our schedule."

PHOTO GALLERY: St. John Vianney vs. Manasquan by Ray Rich Photography

St. John Vianney junior Zoe Brooks. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)
St. John Vianney junior Zoe Brooks. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)
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After St. Rose and Brooks, junior Janie Bachmann was the next-highest Lancers scorer with six points, but St. John Vianney got points from eight different players and its deep rotation wore down Manasquan over the course of the 32 minutes.

"Manasquan, they play defense," St. Rose said. "They don’t let our first option get open. We have to keep running our offense, we have to keep finding new ways to score and I feel like that’s just really fun to see a team not let us get our first option and challenge us."

When Manasquan held a 19-13 lead, the Warriors had committed five turnovers up to that point in the game -- a span of approximately 12 minutes. After that, St. John Vianney forced them into 15 over the final 20 minutes.

PHOTO GALLERY: St. John Vianney vs. Manasquan by Ray Rich Photography

St. John Vianney senior Madison St. Rose. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)
St. John Vianney senior Madison St. Rose. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)
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St. John Vianney has now won three straight Shore Conference championships, which includes last year's unofficial title at the end of the shortened 2021 season. Officially, the Lancers now have a record 15 Shore Conference championships, which is eight more than the next closest team. Sunday also marked St. John Vianney's sixth straight appearance in the SCT final.

St. John Vianney Madison St. Rose holds up the MVP award presented by Thrive Spine & Sports Rehab (Photo: Ray Rich)
St. John Vianney Madison St. Rose holds up the MVP award presented by Thrive Spine & Sports Rehab (Photo: Ray Rich)
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"I expected to win this," Brooks said. "I was very confident in my teammates and I think we were all expecting to come out and get the win. We’re just trying to finish this season as strong as possible."

St. Rose leads a senior class that has played in four straight championship games and won the last three. While St. John Vianney has won far more SCT titles in its history than any other team, it had won just one of them since coach Dawn Karpell took over in 2007-08 and had not repeated since the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.

"It’s such an honor when I think about it," St. Rose said. "I got to come here and make an impact and to help this team win three SCT’s in a row, it’s honestly such a great feeling because I know coach (Karpell) wanted it and I wanted to do it for coach."