Campbell's Clutch Free Throws Seal the Win
By Mike Ready
HOLMDEL – After a frustrating first half which saw them shoot a dismal 8-for-28 (29 percent) from the field, Saint John Vianney’s shooting improved to 10-of-22 (45 percent) in the second half, including a game changing 4-for-6 from 3-point range in their 64-54 comeback win, Tuesday night in Holmdel.
With all the pre-game hype surrounding the encore performance of junior Marina Mabrey - a first team All-State selection and Shore Conference Player of the Year after leading Point Pleasant Beach to the NJSIAA Group I title last season – the Lancer’s seemed a bit distracted and off their game in the first half.
As a freshman, Mabrey was instrumental in leading the Manasquan to a state record 32 wins, the Tournament of Champions trophy and the No.1 ranking in the state.
Manasquan (10-5) shot a sizzling 12-of-22 (55 percent) from the field in the first half forcing Saint John Vianney (14-3) to play catch up most of the half. Senior forward Katie Beriont kept the Lancers within striking distance with seven second-quarter points and sophomore point guard Kelly Campbell hit two free throws with 21 seconds remaining in the half to pull the Lancers to within four points at intermission.
“We were like 21 percent (shooting) in the first half, none of our shots were falling,” Campbell said. “But we just kept shooting and did a little better in the second half.”
Trailing 27-23 at the half, sophomore guard Emily Uribe sank two consecutive shots in the first minute of the third quarter, including a pretty jumper from the top of the key, to tie the game 27-27. That was the start of an 18-9 third quarter run for the Lancers, who would not relinquish the lead again.
At 3:40 of the third quarter, Campbell made a move to the basket before kicking out a pass that fellow sophomore guard Kellie Crouch buried from beyond the arch for her second 3- pointer of the game and a 35-31 lead.
With 57 seconds left in the third and up 37-36, Saint John Vianney scored the final six points of the quarter. Campbell hit both ends of a one-and-one then dished to senior guard Jackie Gallagher for another 3-pointer, and 40-36 lead. Sophomore forward Zoe Pero hit the front end of a one-and-one to end the third quarter with a 41-36 lead.
Gallagher and Uribe each hit 3-point shots to start the fourth quarter building their lead to 47-40 with 5:15 remaining in the game. But things got interesting as the Warriors closed the gap to three points with 2:33 remaining in the game.
Campbell then put the game away by going 9-of-10 from the foul line (14-of-17 overall) in the final 2:29 of the game, displaying incredible calmness at the line in such a pressure-packed situaton. Campbell scored 14 of her game high 18 points in the second half and added six rebounds, six steals, three assists and a blocked shot in an awesome all-around game.
“I just want to have the ball in my hands the last couple minutes so I know I can be at the foul line,” Campbell added. “We have a lot of tough games in our division and we play one of the best schedules in the state. So we’re prepared for all the things we’re going to see, and we have a lot more experience in close games against good teams then most teams do.”
“Nobody practices more or harder than Kelly Campbell,” Lancer head coach Dawn Karpel said. “In those situations that’s the player we want at the foul line; hitting 9-of-10 is really hard to do in non-game situations.”
Beriont had 12 hard-earned points with six boards and two steals while Gallagher finished with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Uribe chipped in with seven second-half points.
Mabrey compiled 18 points, 13 in the second half, with 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Senior forward Sam Sullivan added 10 points and nine rebounds while freshman guard Stella Clark chipped in 13 points with 11 of them coming in the first half.
“It’s a lot of fun being back with my old team,” Mabrey said. “We just need a little more time to work on chemistry, once we get a few games under our belt we’re going to be hard to beat. I think we have a chance to win the Shore Conference Tournament.”
There’s no doubt the addition of Mabrey make’s Manasquan a very dangerous team. Once the team chemistry improves and the players become more familiar with each other this is going to be a team no one wants to see come tournament time.
“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well tonight,” Lancer head coach Dawn Karpell said. “We just kept encouraging the girls and we did enough to keep ourselves hanging around, and enough so when the shots started to fall it gave us that boost in the arm we needed. Once we seized momentum a little bit we started to play our game; I don’t think this will be the last time we see them this season.”