Girls Basketball Top 10 (Feb. 6)
Shore Sports Network Girls Basketball Top 10
1-St. John Vianney (17-1, 13-0) Last week: 1
The Lady Lancers have rattled off 11 straight wins and took care of some initial business along the way. An 82-27 victory over Neptune on Monday wrapped up the B Central title for SJV and, barring a misstep before Sunday, most likely landed it the top seed for the Shore Conference Tournament. Its senior nucleus of point guard Sarah Karpell, off guard Rahmena Henderson and forwards Sajada Bonner and Brelynn Bellamy are firing on all cylinders at the right time.
2-St. Rose (19-1, 13-0) Last week: 2
There was plenty of interest in how the Purple Roses would handle a step up in class, moving from the B Central, where it dominated, into the rugged A Central, one of the most difficult divisions in the state if not the country. Their response? Quite nicely, thank you very much. St. Rose knocked off No. 4 Manasquan, 57-46, on Friday night keyed by a second-half switch to a 1-3-1 zone and the strong offensive play of juniors Makayla Andrews and Brynn Farrell, senior Maggie Stapleton and sophomore Abby Antognoli, and topped Raritan, 66-45, on Monday to wrap up the division crown. However, it wasn’t all peaches and cream last week. In between the wins, the Roses suffered their first loss, bowing to Rutgers Prep on Sunday, 66-51.
3-Manchester (19-2, 13-0) Last week: 3
A year after sharing the B South title, the Hawks nailed down the outright championship with divisional victories over Point Boro, Barnegat and Lakewood, running their win streak to 11 in the process. Spreading offensive prosperity has defined Manchester, which can count on senior forward Dakota Adams, senior guard Leilani Correa, junior guard Kemari Reynolds and sophomore swing Destiny Adams to deliver a bucket when needed. Junior Serenity Anderson has shined as a jack-of-all trades while the bench has become a formidable asset.
4-Manasquan (15-4, 11-2) Last week: 4
The Warriors rebounded from their loss to No. 2 St. Rose by storming past No. 5 Red Bank Catholic, 60-39, on Tuesday. Senior swing Faith Masonius backed 18 points with 12 rebounds, including the 1,000th of her career, and senior guard Lola Mullaney fired in 25. Of its four losses, two have come at the hands of rival St. Rose.
5-Red Bank Catholic (13-7, 9-4) Last week: 5
A young cast has benefitted from the growth process that comes with competing in the A Central. Sophomore Sophia Sabino has blossomed into a heady playmaker at the point and freshmen Justine Pissott and Ally Carman have proven immune to the pressure of the big game, commodities that should serve the Caseys well in the upcoming Shore Conference Tournament.
6-Rumson-Fair Haven (12-8, 7-6) Last week: 6
Like Red Bank Catholic, Rumson-Fair Haven has groomed a stable of talented underclassmen against the rigors of A Central. What the Bulldogs have received in return is the rapid development of sophomore guards Grace Munt and Cortland McBarron, junior guard Sophia Passalaqua, sophomore forward Chase Boyle and freshmen Charlie Rosen and Kaila Scarpa. Teamed with veteran junior forward Lucy Adams, this cast shouldn’t be overlooked in the post season.
7-Marlboro (16-4, 10-1) Last week: 8
Not many teams are hotter than the Mustangs, who are riding a six-game unbeaten streak. They picked up a huge 61-49 decision over No. 8 Middletown South that put them in position to gain at least a share of the A North title with the Eagles if they can defeat Howell on Thursday. The perimeter pop of senior Theresa Besso, sophomore Sammy Jay, junior Sam Nocco, sophomores Laura Morehead and Jessica Riepe and freshman Danielle Schlesinger opens lanes for senior guard Gisella Romeo to exploit.
8-Middletown South (14-3, 9-1) Last week: 7
The Eagles flip-flop with Marlboro after bowing to the Stangs, marking South’s first loss against an A North opponent in divisional play in 67 games. Middletown South can still claim at minimum a share of the division title with a win over Freehold Twp. on Thursday. The Eagles’ defense, keyed by senior guard Isla Brennan and junior swing Kayla Richardson, is surrendering 37.6 points per game. South has allowed 60 or more points just three times, all against Marlboro, which holds a 2-1 edge in their meetings this winter.
9-Toms River North (16-3, 12-1) Last week: 9
The Mariners, who earned coach Vicki Gillen her 300th career win with a 56-47 decision over Pennington, will host Round 2 with No. 10 Jackson Memorial on Friday with a carrot dangling under the basket. A win earns North outright supremacy in A South. In their first meeting on Jan. 14, senior point guard Brielle Bisogno pumped in 22 and senior forward Jenna Paul netted 19 to pace a 58-53 victory.
10-Jackson Memorial (14-5, 10-2) Last week: 10
Brimming with poise and confidence, the Jaguars will take a nine-game win streak on the road to tangle with No. 9 Toms River North. A victory would position Jackson Memorial for at least a share of the A South crown as long as it can topple Central on Monday. While the production of senior forward Dani Evans, junior guard Kristina Donza and junior playmaker Bianca Giordano is often noted, sophomore Rachel Capua has quietly emerged as a consistent point producer. She has scored in double figures in nine straight.
On the bubble
Toms River East (13-5, 10-3): The Raiders presented coach Kevin Cohen with his 200th career victory by upending Lacey and have won eight of their last nine.
Donovan Catholic (15-4, 11-2): Since Dec. 26, the Griffins are 13-2 with the only setbacks coming at the hands of No. 3 Manchester and state power Trenton Catholic.
Colts Neck (13-6, 10-3): After absorbing back-to-back losses to Middletown North and No. 1 St. John Vianney, the Cougars got back in the win column by beating Wall.
Red Bank (13-6, 9-4): The Bucs have won two straight while seeing senior guard Meghan Murray continue her scoring output, but also welcoming the contributions of sophomore guards Chloe Teter, Caitlin Decker and Amelia Medolla.
Middletown North (12-9, 8-5): The record is deceiving. A better indication of how dangerous the Lions are is better represented by its 44-43 upset of Colts Neck, a win that touched off a string of three straight triumphs.
Raritan (9-9, 6-7): The Rockets deserve praise for keeping themselves in the neighborhood of .500 all season despite grinding in the A Central with No. 2 St. Rose, No. 4 Manasquan, No. 5 Red Bank Catholic and No. 6 Rumson-Fair Haven.