Shore Sports Network Girls Basketball Player of the Year: Marina Mabrey
Perhaps the only thing more impressive than Marina Mabrey's talent this season was the sheer force of her will.
The Manasquan senior was determined to lead her team to the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions title after coming up one game short as a junior, and she delivered in a major way. The Warriors finished 29-4 and achieved their goal by beating rival St. Rose for the second time to win the TOC thanks to one final 36-point outburst by Mabrey that included scoring 26 in the second half and the last 13 of the game for Manasquan.
“We accomplished our goal, so I don’t have to say we tried our best, this and that,” Mabrey said. “We did it. We got where we wanted to get.”
"She just really pushed it out of everybody and was kind of the driving force behind the season,'' Warriors coach Lisa Kukoda said. "I think it raised everybody to the next level.”
A no-brainer selection as the Shore Sports Network Player of the Year, Mabrey led the state in scoring at 26.1 points per game and also averaged 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.5 blocks and only 1.7 turnovers per game. Mabrey shot 60 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range (71-for-142) and 78 percent from the foul line. She also often guarded the other team's top player and several Division I talents in big tournament games and shut them down.
Her relentless drive also pushed her team to become the first public school squad from the Shore Conference to win multiple TOC titles and only the second in state history besides Shabazz. Mabrey all but guaranteed a victory in the TOC final after beating Franklin in the semifinals, and she backed it up with one of the greatest performances in the history of the TOC finals, which began in 1989.
“We were going to back it up,” she said. “It was coming. I know the first half it seemed like we were going to really not get there, but we got there. I kept telling them, there’s 1:08 left, there’s 49 seconds left, there’s 49.8 seconds left, and we’re going to stick with it, and we’re going to win this. I promise we’re going to win this.”
Mabrey also is a McDonald's All-American and has been named the Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year. She will join her older sister, Michaela, at Notre Dame next season after finishing with more than 2,500 points in her career and twice earning Shore Conference Player of the Year honors.
She is the only public school player in the history of the Shore Conference to play in four Tournament of Champions in her career, three with Manasquan and one with Point Beach as a sophomore after helping lead the Garnet Gulls to their first Group I title. She also was named the Player of the Year by the Shore Basketball Coaches Association for the second straight year.
Mabrey played in three TOC finals in her career, with her team winning two of them. The Warriors won their first Shore Conference Tournament title since 1983 during her junior season and then won back-to-back titles for the first time this season by beating St. Rose, whose only two losses in the season were to Manasquan. Mabrey also led the Warriors to consecutive Group II championships and a share of the overall Class A Central title. During her three seasons at Manasquan, the Warriors never lost a single home game.
Her combination of individual accolades and team success has put her squarely in the argument as one of the greatest girls basketball players in Shore Conference history.