SSN Girls Basketball Player of the Year: Faith Masonius
When Adelyn Kukoda gets a little older, her mother Lisa will most likely ask one favor of her daughter. If she plans to pattern herself after anyone other than her distinguished mom, may it be someone like Faith Masonius.
The list of her finest traits are endless and that’s before you dive into the impeccable basketball resume she authored over four years at Manasquan. Masonius was many things. She epitomized class, defined the true meaning of teammate and was among the most unassuming superstars to ever grace a Shore Conference basketball court.
Even in rare steps out of character, like the tug on the front of her jersey in the final seconds of the Warriors’ victory over Franklin in the 2018 Tournament of Champions final, she seemed somewhat sheepish about the act, all while accentuating the name of the town for which she served as an ideal ambassador.
“Talking to opposing coaches or people who aren’t close to our team but have seen us play, it’s apparent that everyone respects her and how she carried herself,” said Kukoda, who had the good fortune to spend the last four years coaching Masonius at Manasquan. “It was always about the team. She was an excellent role model. You look at her strengths and the person and player she is and you want your little girl to be just like that.”
Of all the accolades showered upon Masonius, Kukoda’s sentiments may pack the most powerful testimony. One of 10 kids raised by TJ and Ellen Masonius, Faith grew up in a unique environment that left no choice but to adapt to the various temperaments of siblings and understand attention is something best balanced.
“Being one of 10, you learn to deal with different personalities and characteristics,” said Masonius, the ’18-’19 Shore Sports Network Girls Basketball Player of the Year. “That definitely helped me to interact with people from different age groups because my brothers and sisters range from 27 to nine. Growing up, I’m not going to get everything I want. I have to work for it to earn it. Do something to receive something."
Masonius did plenty in her time as a Warrior and got in return a career jam-packed with notable treasures. She was a central figure in four Central Jersey, Group 2 sectional titles, three Group 2 state championships and a TOC crown as well as a Shore Conference Tournament trophy claimed as a junior. Manasquan boasted a 113-19 mark during her term and was annually considered among the state’s premier teams.
She was also a collective force who accumulated 2,032 points, 1,116 rebounds, 428 assists, 272 steals and 71 blocked shots for her career, one stamped by a senior year that saw her team with fellow senior Lola Mullaney to groom a young cast with hopes it can maintain the annual lofty standards the Warriors are held to.
Masonius, whose next stop is the University of Maryland, clicked for 19.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.6 steals, 4.0 assists and 0.5 blocks in her final season, pushing Manasquan to a 22-7 record that featured a second-place finish to St. Rose in the grueling A Central and a run to a sixth straight sectional championship. Even when her stellar tenure came to a harsh and unwarranted conclusion after she sprained the MCL in her left knee in the third quarter of a 64-48 loss to Manchester in the Group 2 semifinals, a setback that ended Manasquan’s six-year reign as state champion, only a person wired like Masonius could summon up the energy to fight back despair with a tearful smile while sitting on the mention as the final seconds of her remarkable career faded away.
All the victories, championships and personal glory handled with the same modest aplomb, defining of a maturity beyond her years.
“It comes from my parents and how they raised me,” Masonius said, once again deflecting praise upon anyone but herself. “My mom is a very humble person. She’s achieved a lot but doesn’t like to share it. To see her go through life and not feel like she has to brag about herself or her kids, you learn from that. My dad is always chilling on the side.
“I like to think I worked hard growing up. So finding someone who likes to work hard and wants to be like you is kind of inspiring to me to be a better person for them. Even with Adelyn…I want her to grow up and play basketball. My freshman year, coach was pregnant. I’ve been around her. It would be nice to know I was her role model. I can’t wait until she’s older to see what she’s like.”
If all goes as planned, she will uphold the values bestowed by heroine worth emulating.