The Monroe girls’ basketball team won its first seven games of the season, and has won five straight since a 49-41 loss at St. Thomas Aquinas on February 16th.
The Trojans have gone 3-3 in that timespan.
Don’t pay any attention to that.
Even though Middlesex earned the top seed in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament’s Somogyi Family Pod by knocking off Aquinas on the night before the playoffs were seeded – they’re out due to COVID – the two teams in the final are the two most people anticipated might be there as far back as the last time they met: in the finals of last year’s more traditional, pre-COVID GMC Tournament.
The Trojans won that game 64-61, and this game might just be as close.
They square off in the Somogyi pod title game this afternoon at 4, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving. Air time is 3:45; click here to listen.
Central Jersey Sports Radio’s coverage of the county tournaments will continue at 6 pm with the top Skyland Conference Tournament pod’s final, the Blue Division title game, featuring top-seed Rutgers Prep (11-0) and 2nd-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (12-1). After the game, we’ll join the 7 pm GMC Boys’ Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod final in progress, featuring top-seed St. Thomas Aquinas and (9-4) and 2nd-seed Colonia (10-4).
Third-seed Monroe (12-1) is led by senior Nina Branchizio’s 14.2 points per game, and has played solid defense, holding opponents to fewer than 30 points in seven of their 13 games; two teams have scored in the teens.
The defense for 2nd-seed Aquinas (9-4) has not been as constricting, allowing an average of 46 points per game, but they’ve also played a tougher schedule with more non-conference opponents. But they can also put up points. The 49 they scored the first time they played Monroe was the most the Falcons had allowed all season.
Senior guard Akyia Baker is the team’s leading scorer at 17.5 points per game.
Click below to hear both coaches talk about the matchup: