MANASQUAN - During the first and fourth quarters of Tuesday's girls basketball rivalry showdown between state powers St. Rose and Manasquan, Purple Roses junior Brynn Farrell showed the kind of impact player she can be in a big game.

During the middle two quarters, St. Rose showed they are still an elite team even when its newly-minted 1,000-point scorer is not on the floor.

Farrell scored her 1,000th career point during a 15-point performance and sophomore Abby Antognoli poured in 15 of her own as St. Rose - the No. 2 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - handled No. 3 Manasquan, 52-36, in a battle between Shore Conference Class A Central front-runners.

St. Rose junior Brynn Farrell scored her 1,000th career point on Tuesday. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
St. Rose junior Brynn Farrell scored her 1,000th career point on Tuesday. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

"Being in this atmosphere is amazing," Farrell said of her first St. Rose-Manasquan rivalry game, which was played in front of a Manasquan gym that sold out via pre-sale tickets on Monday. "It's nothing like I have seen before - a sold-out gym from the day before the game. I know it's awesome playing in this rivalry. It's great to be in the Shore Conference."

Farrell topped St. Rose's scoring list Tuesday despite sitting most of the second quarter with two fouls and nearly the entirety of the third with three. The junior transfer from Metuchen also grabbed eight rebounds and upon returning to the floor in the third quarter, sank a free throw that pushed her into the 1,000-point club for her career just seven games into her junior season.

"It was a big stepping stone for me but I think both of my teams - St. Rose and Metuchen - helped me get to this point," Farrell said. "I wouldn't be here without them."

Farrell knows the frustration of watching action from the sidelines after missing nearly her entire sophomore season due to injury. She still reached 1,000 in early January of her junior year because as a freshman at Metuchen, Farrell averaged 28.1 points per game.

"Brynn brings a different element to the team - she is strong, she goes to the basket, she can hit outside shots," first-year coach Mary Beth Chambers said. "We are more organized with her on the bench and a little less organized when she is on the floor. The girls did a nice job of knocking down shots and not turning the ball over. We didn't give up easy baskets and we made (Manasquan) have to work really hard for everything."

"It was a little frustrating but it was okay," Farrell said. "I knew I had to sit on the bench for a little while. Mary Beth knows what she is doing - she made sure the foul trouble didn't get worse and got me back out there to finish the game."

St. Rose flashed its balance and depth throughout the game, particularly with its standout transfer on the bench. The Purple Roses polished off a 15-0 run that spanned the end of the first and half the second quarter. Antognoli scored nine points during the run, including seven of the first nine and the final basket.

"We tried to rally everybody together and tell them we are going to be okay," Antognoli said. "We are going to play as a team, push through and get this win.

"We have good team, Brynn coming just makes our team even better. We love her being here, we all love playing together and we all have each others' backs."

Senior Lauren Lithgow added nine points for St. Rose, which accumulated 13 assists as a team, with six players - Antognoli, Farrell, Maureen Stapleton, Maggie Stapleton, Sam Mikos and Mary Donnelly - handing out two each.

"We have a little bit of a problem sometimes playing too fast," Chambers said. "We have been making some bad decisions trying to play too fast. Today, we stayed more composed, even with the crowd."

The Purple Roses defense bottled up Manasquan's dangerous senior duo of Faith Masonius and Lola Mullaney for most of the game. Masonius finished with a game-high 21 points and 15 assists but did most of her damage in her 12-point fourth quarter, which began with St. Rose lead, 36-20.

"She is so strong and such a good teammate - I really respect her and her talents," Chambers said of Masonius, who is committed to Maryland. "Same with Lola. We were afraid once she got comfortable, Lola was going to go off. The game really wasn't over until it was over, in our mind. They are capable of a big comeback and Faith has done that before."

Mullaney was coming off a career-best 35 points against Archbishop Wood on Sunday but mustered only 12 points on 4-for-16 shooting against St. Rose's varied defensive looks.

Tuesday's performance against the defending NJSIAA Tournament of Champions winner is encouraging for St. Rose, not only because they dominated the Warriors on the road with Farrell in foul trouble for most of the night; the Purple Roses are also waiting on Neptune transfer Makayla Andrews, who will be eligible next week.

"It will be another adjustment period because we don't know what is going to happen," Chambers said. "We do have to adjust to new players playing with us for the first time, although we have been practicing together. The adjustment period, with referees and uniforms - they are high school girls and you don't always know what you are getting."


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