As we get ready for the championship games in the Shore Conference Tournament let’s look back and forward.

Kristina Danella was recently named one of the greatest girls basketball players in Shore Conference history and her selection was no surprise. She helped Red Bank Catholic win back-to-back Shore Conference Tournament championships (2006-2007) and the following year as a senior led the shore in scoring (22ppg) and guided the injury-depleted Caseys into the finals where they lost to Colts Neck (more on that later). She won the prestigious Kerwin Award as the top player at the Jersey Shore and Danella ended her RBC career as the school leader with 1,733 points and 1,156 rebounds.

The 6’1 forward spent her first two seasons at the University of Massachusetts where she was selected to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team. Following her sophomore year, Danella transferred to Marist and as a senior was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Sixth Player of the Year when she led the conference in three-point shooting. The winning ways continued for Danella as the Red Foxes won two straight conference and tournament championships and twice advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

With her playing days over Danella is still making a name for herself as the head coach and Associate Director of Athletics at Caldwell University in New Jersey.

In her third season, the Cougars take a 23-4 record into the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament where they are the top-seed and will face Philadelphia University on Saturday. Caldwell will host the tournament and will likely face rival Bloomfield in the finals on March 5.

This year’s team has already set a program record for wins in a season with the previous record of 21 accomplished five times including last year under Danella who has a record to 63-24 in her three seasons with the Cougars. Prior to coming to Caldwell the Manalapan native was an assistant and interim head coach at Urbana University.

In the beginning of this article, I mentioned that in Danella’s senior year her RBC team lost to Colts Neck in the finals of the SCT. At that time John Truhan was the Colts Neck coach having come from Toms River South and he would later coach and teach at Central Regional High School. This year Truhan joined the coaching staff at Caldwell where he is working with a player he used to coach against. A New Jersey State Coaches Hall of Fame inductee, Truhan and Danella give the Cougars a true shore-area connection and success has followed both to Caldwell.

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