Manasquan, NJ-When it came down to it, it wasn't the senior Kelly Campbell from St. John Vianney, the junior Stella Clark or the sophomore Dara Mabrey from Manasquan that would be the game changer, but the freshman Sarah Karpell from St. John Vianney that would be the difference in the meeting of these two power house teams.  The Lancers freshman sealed the deal when she stole a pass from Manasquan's Stella Clarke with :11.3 seconds left in overtime drove the court and was fouled and went to the line and converted both free throws to give the Lancers a 51-48 lead.  Kimi Evans would add 1 more in the closing seconds to seal the deal for Vianney in a thrilling 52-48 win

The win improves St. John Vianney to (6-1 overall and 3-0 in A-Central) while Manasquan suffers their first loss of the season (7-1 overall and 2-1 A-Central).

The Manasquan gymnasium was packed with anticipation of seeing two of New Jersey's top girls basketball teams face off against one another and no one left disappointed.  There were multiple lead changes, last second shots, aggressive defense and great teamwork on display in this one.

The first eight minutes of play was not the prettiest ending 5-4 at the end of the quarter but that was in large part in both teams trying to push the pace.  Neither team could get anything to drop in the opening quarter with both missing easy layups and jumpers, but that may have had something to do with the aggressive defense on both sides of the court.

Coach Lisa Kukoda afterwards added "Vianney is a great team and play tremendous defense and force you into quick shots and passes which creates turnovers, but I thought we battled on both ends of the court tonight."

Coach Kukoda's group created 18 turnovers on the night in large part to the fast and tight marking from the Lancers.  It was ultimately the game changer in overtime that lead to Karpell's pick of Clark who came out of no where to intercept the pass in the closing seconds with Manasquan down two.

Karpell afterwards on her game changer added "we knew they wanted to push the pace tonight and on the final play it was just instinct that lead to me jumping in the lane to steal the pass from Stella to Addie."

The night started out with two different looks for each team on the young season.  Senior nominated McDonalds All American Kelly Campbell made just her second start of the season after and early injury sidelined her for the first five games for Vianney and for Manasquan they entered their first game for the next couple of weeks without one of their premier leaders in Dara Mabrey who is sidelined with her own injury suffered against Plainfield earlier in the week.

It took Campbell a little while to get into the flow in this one and coach Dawn Karpell afterwards admitted that she had to keep her off of guarding Stella Clark for most of the night.  Over the past couple of season the Lancers managed to contain Clark to an average of 8 points per game with Campbell guarding the talented guard.  Tonight Stella ended with 16 points 3 rebounds and 6 assists, but like any great competitor she will dwell on the two series that got away from her.  The first with time winding down in regulation the junior went to the line with a chance to put the Warriors up by four but missed on both.  The second came in overtime when Clark tried to hit an open Addie Masonious in the corner but was picked off by Karpell.

Afterwards coach Kukoda added "no one works harder or wears their emotions more then Stella and I would put the game in her hands again, the kid is a great competitor, tonight was just not our night."

Coach Karpell echoed the same about Clark "Stella is one of the toughest players you will find, a couple of breaks either way and the outcome would have been different tonight."

Tonights contest wasn't about missed opportunities or one team losing, it was about two great Shore Conference teams that showed why they are a combined 147-32 over the past four years.  These two programs strive on teamwork, hustle and dedication which was put on display once again tonight.

There were several turning points in this contest with the first coming from Addie Masonious who capped off the first half draining a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the half to bring life back into the gym and bring the Warriors to within one of the Lancers and went to the locker room down 19-18.  Then it was the combination of Zoe Pero and Sarah Karpell that kept the Lancers int the game late after the Warriors pushed the lead to 37-32 with just under four minutes to play, when Karpell showed no signs of freshman nerves and nailed a three and Pero cut the lead to 37-36 following one of two from the line.

The two teams would trade lead changes three more times down the stretch in regulation and it looked like the Lancers had sealed the deal when Kimi Evans and Pero convert back-to-back layups in the closing seconds and led Manasquan 42-40 with :19 second left.  After a timeout Manasquan went the length of the floor and Clark found the Warriors own freshman standout in Faith Masonious who is not afraid of the ball in the big moment and nailed a jumper as time expired to force overtime at 42-42.

In overtime it looked like the Warriors were on their way to putting the finishing touches on this one when Stella and Faith opened the scoring with two straight layups to go up 46-42. Momentum was squarely on the shoulders of the young Warriors, but then the veteran leadership of the Lancers turned the tables and converted their own layups and forced three straight Manasquan turnovers down the stretch.

With just under three minutes to play Campbell found a wide open Tina Labron open for three who cut the lead to 46-45 and then the Lancers forced the Warriors into another turnover in their own end which led to Campbell driving for the go ahead layup with just over a minute to play and put the Lancers up 47-46.  Manasquan would get one more basket and lead in the contest when Carly Geissler converted a layup with :50 second left to give the Warriors a 48-47 lead, but then the Lancers would finish off the scoring with four straight points, two from Evans and two clutch free throws from Karpell in the closing seconds.


Afterwards Kukoda added "I am not disappointed with the loss tonight as the girls never quit and battled all night long against a great Vianney squad, I told the girls in the locker room it does not go down as a win for us in the standings but tonight was a win for us tonight as the girls showed a lot of heart and many different players stepped up for us tonight."

Coach Karpell who had two hats on in the win tonight, one as a parent and the other as a coach stated afterwards "it was never me as a parent tonight as Sarah went to the line, she has been around this culture and program for the past ten years and I pulled for her the same as I would for any one of my players in that spot."

On the win coach Karpell added "I have nothing but the upmost respect for Manasquan who came into tonight without one of their leaders in Mabrey and still stepped up and took it to us tonight, the game could have gone either way but luckily for us we found a way late to come out on top."

Kimi Evans15
Kelly Campbell9
Gabrielle Camponegro5
Tina Labron8
Vanessa Pinho3
Julia Ramos2
Sarah Karpell5
Zoe Pero5
Addie Masonius7
Stella Clark18
Carly Geissler2
Faith Masonius15
Maggie Kelly2
Jackie Kurtz4
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