Manasquan Outlasts Newark Tech for Fifth Straight Group 2 Crown
TOMS RIVER – Manasquan knows it can count on Carly Geissler for just about everything that doesn’t transcend into an actual number on a stat sheer. Want hustle? The senior guard supplies it in abundancet. Need defense on the ball? Geissler will stick her nose into an assignment as if her life depends on it.
Scoring? For nearly 26 minutes, that was the one thing the Warriors were amply stocked with, provided by the usual scoring trio of senior Dara Mabrey and juniors Faith Masonius and Lola Mullaney. The threesome combined to account for all of the 74 points Manasquan compiled through three quarters and into the final period.
However, when Newark Tech crafted a third-quarter surge that shrank an 18-deficit down to five and was refusing to bow quietly, Geissler stepped up to embrace her moment of opportunity.
“Throughout the game, my confidence wasn’t in the best place,” Geissler admitted. “I blew three wide-open layups that no one should miss. But, I just had the team on my mind. I was going to do anything I could to help us win.”
Geissler restored her own faith as well as order to Manasquan with one fouth-quarter sequence that offered a reminder that the specialist who thrives at addressing the dirty work is fully capable of stepping to the forefront when allotted the opportunity to bury a clean look.
Her consecutive 3-pointers in a span of 45 seconds pushed a precarious lead back to double digits while her gutty willingness to step in front of a drive at the opposite end drew an energizing and inspiring charge that ignited Manasquan to finish its business and put away gritty Newark Tech for a 95-79 victory on Sunday for its fifth straight NJSIAA Group 2 state title at RWJBarnabas Health Arena.
Mabrey (35 points, seven rebounds), Mullaney (27 points) and Masonius (20 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, four steals) were the inarguable foundation of a Manasquan offense that erupted for a season-high output but Geissler was the mortar that pulled things together at a point when the Warriors sought a fourth option.
Masonius dropped in 19 in the first half and fed Mabrey for a triple early in the third as Manasquan built what seemed like a comfortable 53-35 cushion. Undaunted, Newark Tech (24-9) courageously battled back, fashioning a 21-8 surge in a matter of just over five minutes to shrink the margin to 61-56 with 1:47 showing in the third.
Saddled with foul trouble that compromised her defensive aggressiveness inside, Masonius found an alternate route to get involved in the resistance. Twice, she dove to the floor to retrieve loose balls. The first act gave way to a Mullaney layup off a Mabrey assist on a runout and the second led to Masonius knocking down a free throw as the Warriors pumped their lead up to 68-58 heading to the fourth.
With the lead sitting at 74-65, Geissler found a spot on the right wing and fired in a trey, the area so inviting, she perched there once more to drain another three, bumping the margin to 80-67 with 5:25 to play. Her subsequent charge took more steam out of Newark Tech, which got no closer than 12 over the balance of the contest.
“Newark Tech was on a bit of a run and gained some momentum,” said Manasquan coach Lisa Kukoda. “The end to that run was Carly knocking down those two threes and going down the other end and taking that charge. For someone who does the little things and will get very little notoriety for it, I couldn’t be happier or prouder for her big moment there.”
Prior to Geissler’s involvement, the Warriors rode the offensive prowess of its three most prominent figures, intergral in Manasquan shooting 54 percent from the floor (31 of 57) and a whopping 75 percent from long range (9 of 12 from behind the arc). Mullaney was a sizzling 11 of 15 shooting, including 3 for 4 from distance, Mabrey drilled 11 of 22 attempts to go with 11 of 12 at the stripe and Masonius complemented a 5-of-12 showing by sinking 8 of 12 foul shots.
Yet, the contributions of Geissler and their timeliness were not lost upon her teammates.
“When all three of us are playing at our best, it’s really difficult to stop,” said Mabrey. “Who are you going to help on? But, we needed that from someone else. They were face guarding me, pressuring Faith on the top and trying to take away Lola’s range. Once, Carly let the second go, I just ran back because I knew she was going to make it. I saw the confidence on her face. She was just blossoming with confidence.”
Another asset not to be overlooked was rugged senior forward Emma McMenaman, who grabbed four rebounds, including three critical boards in the second half, to balance her interior defensive presence.
Mariah Perez had 19 points and 17 boards for Newark Tech while Caitlin Townes added 19 points and six assists as all five starters scored in double figures for the Terriers.
Newark Tech (24-9) 18 13 27 21 --- 79
Manasquan (30-2) 23 24 21 27 --- 95
Newark Tech: Caitlin Townes 7-0-5-19; Nia Mallette 2-0-6-10; Jaylah Bennett 5-0-1-11; Abbey Lawrence 3-1-4-13; Mariah Perez 8-0-3-19; Bianca Glover 1-0-0-2. Totals: 26-2-21---75.
Manasquan: Lola Mullaney 8-3-2-27; Dara Mabrey 9-2-11-35; Faith Masonius 3-2-8-20; Carly Geissler 0-2-2-8; Emma McMenaman 0-0-0-0; Abby O'Shea 0-0-0; Maci Black 0-0-1-1; Annie Mako 2-0-0-4; Allison Waters 0-0-0-0; Kate Montalto 0-0-0-0; Sharon Marks 0-0-0-0; Ryan McCarthy 0-0-0-0. Totals: 22-9-24---95.