Girls Basketball Top 10 (Feb. 20)
1-St. John Vianney (21-2, 14-0) Last week: 1
The top-seeded Lady Lancers rallied from an 11-point deficit to upend defending champion and fourth-seeded Manasquan, 53-51, in the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament. A 16-0 run in the second half, triggered by an array of timely contributions from freshman guard Madison St. Rose, helped SJV gain a measure of revenge for 70-52 loss administered by the Warriors in last year’s championship game. Senior forward Brelynn Bellamy hit five threes, shot 6 of 12 overall from the floor and supplied 17 points. Up next, a date with red-hot Manchester Saturday in the SCT title game at Monmouth University.
2-Manchester (24-2, 14-0) Last week: 3
A convincing 62-45 semifinal victory over second-seeded St. Rose on Tuesday vaulted the Hawks into the program’s first-ever appearance in a Shore Conference Tournament final. Manchester, which will come to West Long Branch riding a 16-game winning streak. Senior guard Leilani Correa flirted with a quadruple double in the semis, finishing with 30 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and nine steals while 6-3 sophomore Destiny Adams and 5-9 junior Serenity Anderson scored 11 apiece. The Hawks are all set to face top-seeded St. John Vianney on Saturday for all the marbles.
3-St. Rose (23-2, 14-0) Last week: 2
After posting decisive victories over Donovan Catholic and Marlboro to reach the semifinals, the second-seeded Purple Roses were eliminated from the Shore Conference Tournament by third-seeded Manchester, 62-45. St. Rose have time to regroup before embarking on defense of its South Jersey, Non-Public A title on Feb. 28 as the top seed in the field.
4-Manasquan (18-6, 12-2) Last week: 4
Despite a yeoman effort from 6-1 senior swing Faith Masonius, who accounted for 33 points, a dozen rebounds and five assists, the defending champion fell to No. 1 St. John Vianney, 53-51, in the SCT semifinals. The Warriors will turn their attention to the NJSIAA tournament as they begin pursuit of a fifth consecutive Group 2 state title.
5-Red Bank Catholic (16-8, 10-4) Last week: 5
The fifth-seeded Caseys were victimized by neighboring and 12th-seeded Red Bank, which sprung a 65-62 upset in the Round of 16 of the Shore Conference Tournament. Red Bank Catholic primed for the South Jersey, Non-Public A tournament by picking up wins over Roselle Catholic and Bridgewater-Raritan.
6-Rumson-Fair Haven (15-10, 8-6) Last week: 6
A young club marched to the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament before running into third-seeded Manchester, which pinned the Bulldogs with a 67-33 loss despite 12 points from sophomore Cortland McBarron. Rumson-Fair Haven is the second-seed in Central Jersey, Group 2 and opens play on Monday by hosting 15th-seeded Delaware Valley.
7-Marlboro (20-6, 11-1) Last week: 7
The Mustangs made a run into the SCT quarterfinals before absorbing an 88-49 loss to second-seeded St. Rose. They will regroup and begin pursuit of their first Central Jersey, Group 4 crown since 2004 as the two-seed in the field. The A North champs host 15th-seeded West Windsor-Plainsboro South on Monday in the first round.
8-Middletown South (19-5, 10-2) Last week: 8
Middletown South bounced back from a 66-38 loss to St. John Vianney in the quarterfinals of the SCT by topping No. 6 Rumson-Fair Haven, 48-37, in a tune up before the state tournament. The win avenged a 43-41 loss on Jan. 26 and got the Eagles prepared for Central Jersey, Group 4 where they are the top seed and entertain Hightstown on Monday.
9-Toms River North (19-5, 13-1) Last week: 9
A heartbreaking 53-52 loss to No. 8 Middletown South in the Round of 16 eliminated the Mariners from the Shore Conference Tournament. Senior forward Jenna Paul dropped in 24 in the setback and backed that with 17 points and 12 rebounds on Tuesday as North prepared for South Jersey, Group 4 with a 55-43 victory against Middletown North.
10-Red Bank (17-8, 9-5) Last week: NR
The 12th-seeded Bucs were the surprise of the Shore Conference Tournament, upsetting fifth-seeded Red Bank Catholic, 65-62, in the Round of 16 to snap a 23-game losing streak against the Caseys dating back to the 1998 SCT semifinals. Sophomore guard Caitlin Decker converted 17 of 25 free throws en route to a career-high 26 points. In the quarterfinals, Red Bank took fourth-seeded and defending champion Manasquan to the brink, before falling in overtime, 61-58. Red Bank is playing some of its best basketball heading into the state tournament.
On the bubble
Colts Neck (16-7, 11-3)
Toms River East (16-7, 11-3)
Donovan Catholic (18-6, 12-2)
Jackson Memorial (17-7, 11-3)
Trinity Hall (16-8, 13-1)
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