No-Doubt No. 1: St. John Vianney Routs Red Bank Catholic for Jersey Shore Supremacy
HOLMDEL - The Red Bank Catholic girls basketball team entered Saturday as the No. 2 team in the Shore Sports Network Girls Basketball Top 10 and No. 5 in the state, according to NJ Advance Media. When the Caseys ran into the top team in both rankings on Saturday morning, it only illustrated just how large the gap is between No. 1 and the field.
St. John Vianney - the No. 1 team at the Shore and in N.J. - blitzed Red Bank Catholic in the second half and finished off a 63-32 win Saturday to leave no doubt about who the best team in the Shore Conference is - at least before a champion is decided in the Shore Conference postseason starting on March 2.
Junior guard and Princeton University commit Madison St. Rose led the Lancers with 18 points and three assists to earn Player of the Game honors and was one of four St. John Vianney players to reach double-figure scoring.
Senior Katie Hill turned in a complete all-around effort, posting 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals, while senior Emma Bruen and junior Mehan Cahalan each poured in 10 points for St. John Vianney, which celebrated its Senior Day prior to the game and - in the case of Hill and Bruen - during it.
Red Bank Catholic - which played without 6-foot-2 junior standout Justine Pissott - stayed within striking distance through the end of the first half. Sophomore Casey Prior scored six of her team-high 11 points in the second quarter and senior Antonia Panayides scored the last four RBC points of the second quarter to draw the Caseys within 26-19 at the break.
St. John Vianney broke the game open in the third quarter, during which the Lancers outscored RBC, 22-5. Hill took over in the second half after scoring just three in the first half, with seven of her points coming during the third-quarter run.
The story of St. John Vianney's season to date is that the Lancers have been a fighting champion. After winning the Shore Conference Tournament and finishing No. 1 in the state in 2019-20 (albeit with no Tournament of Champions to certify it), the Lancers have faced five state-ranked opponents (No. 14 Rumson-Fair Haven twice, No. 4 Saddle River Day, No. 6 Paul VI and No. 5 RBC) in their eight games and three in their last four.
That gauntlet continues at the end of this coming week, when the Lancers will close their regular season Friday against No. 2 Trenton Catholic and Saturday vs. Marlboro, which just upset Saddle River Day on Saturday.
PHOTO GALLERY: Red Bank Catholic at St. John Vianney by Tom Smith