Lancers Secure No.1 Ranking in the Shore
By Mike Ready
MANASQUAN - Saint John Vianney (6-0), ranked No.3 in the state and No.1 in the Shore, defeated No.2 Manasquan, 58-38, Friday night in Manasquan to remain undefeated and secure its position as the team to beat in the Shore Conference and quite possibly the entire state.
Senior shooting guard Jackie Gallagher led all scorers with 17 points, hitting five three-pointers while going four-for-four on three’s in the first half. Gallagher’s big night gives her 14 three-pointers this season while averaging 9.3 points per game. She also averages two rebounds, two assists and three steals per game.
“We did a good job scouting them,” Gallagher said. “Our press in the second half really helped us take control of the game. I was just looking for the open shot and when saw the opportunity I just took it.”
The Lancer’s needed every one of Gallagher’s first-half three’s as Manasquan kept the game close with some good defense, timely rebounding and hitting high percentage shots. The Warriors had five steals in the first half and scored ten of the final 15-second quarter points to pull to with four, 32-28 at the half.
Seven players scored for Manasquan (5-3) in the first half with senior forward Sam Sullivan dropping in six points.
However, the Lancers depth and full-court press in the second half was too much for the Warriors to overcome as Saint John Vianney took control of the game in third quarter outscoring Manasquan, 11-3, to take a 43-28 lead. Gallagher had five of the 11 points, including her fifth three-pointer.
“Everyone on our team can play,” Gallagher said. “We substitute a lot because we like to run and press. If someone gets tired we have the advantage of giving them a rest and replacing them with a really good player; we trust everyone on our team.”
“Our players did a great job finding Jackie on the perimeter and she responded,” head coach Dawn Karpell said. “They had to respect our post play and we made the extra pass when we had it. I thought in the third quarter we came out and turned the defense up a little extra and that was what separated us. In the first half, we kind of let them dictate the tempo. We adjusted our press and got after them a little bit more in the second half and we imposed a little bit of our will.”
The Lancers outscored Manasquan 15-10 in the fourth quarter with three of the Warriors points coming in the final seconds. Sophomore guard Emily Uribe scored eight of her 13 points in the fourth quarter for the Lancers as they increased the lead to 20 points midway through the fourth.
Senior center and captain Katie Beriont added nine points and was a force in the paint grabbing 10 rebounds, including four off the offensive glass. Freshman forward Kim Evens had six points and five boards while sophomore guard Kellie Crouch added five points and one steal. Sophomore point guard Kelly Campbell and junior guard Claire Stefanelli each had four points with Campbell grabbing five boards and adding a steal, all in second half. Stefanelli also had two steals and two rebounds.
“We played really well at certain points of the game but we let off the gas at times too,” Karpell said. “We’re still trying to find that cohesiveness throughout. With our depth, we have a lot of different matchups we can go with depending on what the other team is bringing. For us it’s just what combinations are working so everybody can contribute; which is a great asset.”
The Lancers depth is about to get a little deeper in about 10 day’s when Secaucus transfer Zoe Pero becomes eligible to compete. Pero is a 5-foot-10 inch post-up player with all-around skills. She averaged 9.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2 steals and 1.6 assists last season for Secaucus.
Saint John Vianney’s last trip to the Tournament of Champions was in 2011 when they lost in the semifinals. This year’s team has the look of a team ready to make another run.
"We still have a lot of work in front of us, especially on defense end for us to get there (T.O.C.),” Karpell said. “But we do have the talent level that might be able to get us there if we can continue stay focused.”