Manasquan rolls past RBC in SCT semifinals
The number illuminated below Manasquan on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter magnified the point differential.
The one below Red Bank Catholic told the story.
While an offensive onslaught that embodied all of the finest qualities that make the Warriors such a handful to contain was accentuated through balance and recognition, the production emanated from an active 2-3 zone flexible in its shape, energetic in its pursuit toward disruption and denial on along the arc and impenetrable in its structure.
The lethal combination of dominance at both ends of the floor empowered second-seeded Manasquan, which seized immediate control by running off the game’s initial 15 points and the Warriors never looked back, cruising to a 55-37 verdict over third-seeded Red Bank Catholic on Tuesday night in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals at RWJBarnabas Health Arena in Toms River.
With the win, Manasquan (23-2) extended its win streak to 13 and advanced to the SCT final for the fourth time in five years. It will face top-seeded St. John Vianney on Saturday at Monmouth University at 6 p.m. in a rematch of the ’16 title game, won by the Lancers, 59-48.
More often noted for the ferocity of its man to man, Manasquan didn’t lose an ounce of tenacity working in its zone, which addressed Red Bank Catholic by seamlessly morphing into various forms while maintaining its rigidity. The choice predicated on its last encounter with the Caseys, one that saw RBC inflict significant damage from long distance with eight 3-pointers at the root of a 62-57.
This meeting took are a far more similar look to the first time the two crossed paths, back on Dec. 19, when Manasquan rolled to a 60-37 triumph.
“Taking away 3-point shots,” said Manasquan senior guard Dara Mabrey of the defensive point of emphasis, one that limited Red Bank Catholic to five threes, including two in the first half when Manasquan established a 32-14 cushion. “RBC is basically like a machine with five good players on the floor at all times. We had to take their perimeter shooting away and make them put it on the floor.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Manasquan vs. Red Bank Catholic by Paula Lopez
The Caseys (20-5) suffered through a chilly 0-for-5 start from the floor, compounded by four turnovers against a defense adamant in denying it the chance to strike a rhythm. Conversely, Manasquan couldn’t have choreographed a more ideal opening quarter.
The Warriors hit six of their first 13 shots from the field and got four of the five starters in the scoring mix within the 15-0 run, led by junior guard Lola Mullaney, who netted seven of her 16 in the first quarter, which concluded with Manasquan constructing a 17-2 lead.
”Playing in that zone brought us so much energy and that’s how we built such a big lead early,” said Mullaney. “We were playing together and communicating. When we’re like that, it feels like no one can stop us.”
Mabrey pumped in a game-high 18 points and dished out five assists, junior forward Faith Masonius collected 13 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals and senior guard Carly Geissler scored eight.
“Last time we played them, it wasn’t our best defensive performance,” noted Masonius. “We let them hit a lot of threes. Building that cushion early helped us a lot. Every possession counts and you have to value each one of them. But, our defense created our offense.”
Senior guard Rose Caverly deposited a layup with 1:28 left in the first quarter for Red Bank Catholic’s first field goal and she ended with a team-high 14 points. Senior guard Hayley Moore added nine on three 3-pointers.
Red Bank Catholic (20-5) 02 12 12 11 --- 37
Manasquan (23-2) 17 15 13 10 --- 55
Red Bank Catholic: Sophia Sabino 1-0-1-3; Fab Eggenschwiler 0-1-0-3; Katie Rice 2-0-1-5; Julia Setaro 0-0-0-0; Hayley Moore 0-3-0-9; Rose Caverly 5-0-4-14; Amanda Hart 0-0-0-0; Eliza Srinivasan 0-0-0-0; Antonia Panayides 0-0-0-0; Nicole Stanford 0-0-0-0; Maddie Fagan 0-1-0-3; Grace Wilson 0-0-0-0. Totals: 8-5-6---37.
Manasquan: Lola Mullaney 5-1-3-16; Dara Mabrey 5-2-2-18; Faith Masonius 5-0-3-13; Carly Geissler 4-0-0-8; Emma McMenaman 0-0-0-0; Abby O’Shea 0-0-0-0; Maci Black 0-0-0-0; Ryan McCarthy 0-0-0-0; Sharon Marks 0-0-0-0; Katie Montalto 0-0-0-0; Allison Waters 0-0-0-0, Annie Mako 0-0-0-0. Totals: 19-3-8---55.