Girls Basketball Top 10 (Jan. 2)
1-St. John Vianney (5-0, 3-0) Last week: 1
The Lady Lancers have instituted an offensive embargo on opponents, yielding a miniscule 27.6 points per game. That fierce defense, coupled with an offense that thrives off the balance of its components, keyed wins over Staten Island Academy and the Patrick School in the Lancer Joust over the holiday break. The even-handed scoring distribution dispersed amongst seniors Sajada Bonner (12.0 ppg.), Brelynn Bellamy (10.0 ppg.), Sarah Karpell (9.8 ppg.) and Rahmena Henderson (7.2 ppg.), along with freshman Madison St. Rose (10.0 ppg.), speaks to how effective and unselfish Vianney is with the basketball.
2-St. Rose (5-0, 3-0) Last week: 3
Another team thriving from its activity on both ends of the floor, the Purple Roses topped Gill St. Bernard’s and the Patrick School at the Lancer Joust. St. Rose concedes points sparingly (31.8 ppg.). Brynn Farrell (23.8 ppg.), a 5-11 junior swing, has scored no less than 20 points in all five contests and 5-6 sophomore guard Abby Antognoli (8.2 ppg.) exemplifies the hustle and headiness of the Roses with a team-best 6.0 rebounds per game.
3-Manasquan (5-1, 3-0) Last week: 2
The Warriors had a 25-game win streak snapped in a 47-43 loss to McDonogh (Md.) at the Boardwalk Classic but rebounded to storm past Camden Catholic, 66-35. Senior guards Faith Masonius (22.4 ppg., 12.2 rpg., 3.4 apg., 3.2 spg.) and Lola Mullaney (19.0 ppg., 3.8 rpg., 2.4 apg., 3.2 spg.) pace Manasquan’s attack with junior Kate Leturgez (5.8 ppg., 6.8 rpg., 2.0 spg.) and freshman Georgia Heine (5.6 ppg., 2.8 rpg., 2.2 apg.), a pair of newcomers, quickly growing comfortable in their roles.
4-Manchester (7-0, 3-0) Last week: 4
The Hawks cruised to their second straight WOBM Christmas Classic crown, downing Wall, Toms River East, Ewing and Marlboro by an average margin of 75.7 to 43.5. Sophomore Destiny Adams, who became just the second player in the tournament’s 35-year history to win back-to-back MVP honors, and senior guard Leilani Correa stamped the week by scoring 27 apiece in the title game, an 83-41 triumph over Marlboro.
5-Red Bank Catholic (4-2, 2-1) Last week: 5
The Caseys finished 2-1 at the Mount St. Dominic Holiday Festival, picking up wins against the host as well as Piscataway before falling to Rutgers Prep to end a three-game winning streak. Justine Pissott, a 6-2 freshman guard, averaged 16.3 points in the event, marked by a season-high 22 in the 76-34 decision over Mount St. Dominic.
6-Jackson Memorial (3-2, 2-0) Last week: 7
Idle since Dec. 22, the Jaguars are set to get back to work on Thursday at Toms River East. Sophomore guard Rachel Capua (11.6 ppg.) offers stout defense and a hand on the glass, junior guard Bianca Giordano (6.8 apg.) distributes with purpose, junior guard Kristina Donza (20.8 ppg.) is a picture of offensive consistency and senior guard Dani Evans (6.4 rpg.) toils under the boards to complement a dangerous perimeter game.
7-Marlboro (6-1, 2-0) Last week: NR
An impressive performance at the WOBM Christmas Classic vaults the Mustangs off the bubble and into the Top 10. Seventh-seeded Marlboro downed 10th-seeded Neptune, second-seeded Middletown South and third-seeded Toms River North before losing to top-seed and defending champion Manchester in the final. Senior Gisella Romeo and sophomore Sammy Jay, both First Team All-Tournament selections, set a feverish pace as the Mustangs fine tune "The System".
8-Middletown South (4-1, 2-0) Last week: 6
The Eagles rebounded from a 66-60 loss to Marlboro in the quarterfinals of the WOBM Christmas Classic to score a measure of revenge, toppling Colts Neck, which eliminated it last season in the state tournament, 46-36, in a consolation game. Junior guard Kayla Richardson (12.4 ppg.) scored at a 13.6 clip over three games.
9-Toms River North (6-1, 3-0) Last week: 8
A season-opening run of five consecutive wins came to a halt at the hands of No. 7 Marlboro, which upended the Mariners, 72-60, in the semifinal round of the WOBM Christmas Classic. Credit to North, which bounced back to roll past Ewing, 67-36, to claim third place. Senior forward Jenna Paul stamped a terrific tournament with 32 points in the consolation game and averaged 23.2 over four games as well as 8.7 rebounds.
10-Rumson-Fair Haven (3-3, 1-2) Last week: 10
The Bulldogs sport the wounds of arguably one of the most difficult early-season schedules of any team in the Shore. They countered losses to No. 3 Manasquan, No. 5 Red Bank Catholic and Staten Island Academy with wins over Monmouth, Chatham and Gill St. Bernard’s. Sophomore guard Grace Munt (10.8 ppg.) collected 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while junior forward Lucy Adams (12.3 ppg.) added 17 points and 11 boards in the 53-45 triumph over GSB at the Lancer Joust.
On the bubble
Colts Neck (3-2, 2-0): The Cougars dropped meetings with No. 9 Toms River North and No. 8 Middletown South at the WOBM Christmas Classic despite stellar play from junior guard Camryn Foltz (15.6 ppg.).
Red Bank (4-1, 2-0): The Bucs were gritty and smart while fashioning a 2-1 mark at the WOBM Christmas Classic. Senior guard Meghan Murray (19.0 ppg.) was named Second Team All-Tournament.
Howell (5-1, 2-1): Keep an eye on the Rebels, who’ve won four straight, including a 55-42 victory over Shore to capture the Blue Devil Tournament title. Seniors Jessica O’Brien (13.1 ppg.), who was named tournament MVP, and Alexis Post have developed a successful chemistry with sophomores Caitlin Gresko (13.5 ppg.), Mackenzie Bruno and Grace Leary.
Keyport (5-0, 3-0): A good deal of credit for the Red Raiders’ fantastic start belongs to a defense allowing 32.2 points per game. Senior guard Shannan Devlin (16.6 ppg.) teams with classmates Giana Piccini (10.8 ppg.) and Alexis Breen (13.2 ppg.) within a formidable halfcourt offense.