Category: Girls Basketball

Rutgers Prep steamrolls everyone, runs wire-to-wire with No. 1 ranking to be named CJSR Girls’ Basketball Team of the Year

Here are the two numbers you need to know: 31 and 45.

Want us to use them in a sentence? OK.

The Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball team allowed a paltry 31 points per game this year, while beating teams by an average of 45 points.

And we did not just pull those numbers out of a hat.

En route to a perfect 13-0 season, and the Skyland Conference Tournament’s top pod title, Rutgers Prep blitzed all comers this season, and finishes 2021 where it began: as the Number One team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, earning them the honor of our 2021 Girls’ Basketball Team of the Year.

No one even came close.

How good was Rutgers Prep?

Let’s put it this way. No disrespect to any other team, but if you actually ranked the teams in terms of how good they were, Rutgers Prep would be No. 1, and the next team behind them might be at No. 3.

The Argonauts are also ranked No. 21 in the nation – not the state, the nation – by ESPN, behind No. 13 St. John Vianney, but a spot ahead of Trenton Catholic, which is scheduled to close after this academic year, and to whom Rutgers Prep lost last year in the Non-Public South B finals.

LISTEN: An audio retrospective on Rutgers Prep girls’ dominance in 2021, with Mary Klinger, Christina Dalce, Belle Pellecchia

Monroe – the winner of the Greater Middlesex Conference’s top bracket, the Somogyi Family Pod – checked in at No. 2, avenging its only loss of the season in the Somogyi Pod title game, using a second half rally to beat St. Thomas Aquinas in their second meeting of the year.

Below are the final girls’ basketball rankings for 2021, including postseason achievements:

An audio retrospective on Rutgers Prep girls’ dominance in 2021, with Mary Klinger, Christina Dalce, Belle Pellecchia

We’ve already told you the numbers: Rutgers Prep outscored its opponents by more points than they allowed to those opponents.

It was a truly remarkable season for Mary Klinger’s squad.

But why let us tell you. Let them tell you.

Let them tell you how it all started with last year’s sectional final loss to Trenton Catholic, how they dealt with COVID, how they kept their eyes on the prize all year, and delivered in the clutch when their biggest star went down.

Click below to hear head coach Mary Coyle Klinger, and seniors Christina Dalce and Belle Pellecchia talk about their remarkable 2021 season:

READ MORE: Rutgers Prep steamrolls everyone, runs wire-to-wire with No. 1 ranking to be named CJSR Girls’ Basketball Team of the Year

Friday Championship Recap: A look back at titles for Colonia boys; Monroe, Rutgers Prep and Bound Brook girls (with audio and photos)

It was a big night for high school basketball in the Skyland and Greater Middlesex Conferences, as the Skyland crowned girls’ pod championships, while the GMC held its boys’ and girl’s finals all on the same night.

Central Jersey Sports Radio covered four title games Friday night; here’s a audio look back at coverage from CJSR’s Mike Pavlichko, Dom Savino and Justin Sontupe:

No Dalce? No problem. Rutgers Prep girls cruise to win top Skyland Tournament pod

With little fanfare, Villanova-bound Christina Dalce missed Wednesday’s 73-18 semifinal pod win over 5th-seed Hunterdon Central. You wouldn’t have noticed unless you saw the box score, and no line with her name on it.

She missed top-seed Rutgers Prep’s championship game as well in the league’s top Blue Division pod, but the Argonauts still won.

They beat 2nd-seed Gill St. Bernard’s in yet another dominant performance, 69-41, to win the Blue title, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Senior Belle Pellecchia had a game- and career-high 25 points, including 12 free throws, more than making up for the absence of Dalce. Freshman guard Mikayla Blakes added 11, and dished out three assists.

The win moves Rutgers Prep to 12-0, with one more game to play. They host a “regular season” game against Saddle River Day Saturday afternoon at 1, after which the Rutgers Prep boys play in the top boys’ pod against Watchung Hills, a surprise winner over top-seed Gill St. Bernard’s in the semifinals.

The Gill girls drop to 10-2.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Rutgers Prep’s win in the Skyland Conference Tournament’s Blue Division title game:

Rutgers Prep senior guard Belle Pellecchia
Rutgers Prep freshman guard Mikayla Blakes
Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Coyle-Klinger

Bound Brook girls take Skyland Gold pod title with victory over Watchung Hills

There may not have been a state tournament for Bound Brook to win its sixth straight Central Jersey Group 1 crown, but no matter. They went out as champions anyway.

In fact, for the second year in a row, the Lady Crusaders went out with a win.

Last year, their season was cut short by COVID, when the NJSIAA shut down the state tournament. Bound Brook found out when they got back from their Group 1 semifinal road win over Woodbury.

This year, the end was more definitive, and they were all smiles.

Senior guard Arianna McCleod capped her stellar career with a season-high 24 points, including a game-high 11 field goals, as top seed Bound Brook took the title in the Skyland Conference Tournament Gold Division Pod with a 60-49 win over 2nd-seed Watchung Hills.

The Crusaders finish the season 12-1; the Warriors fell to 7-8.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Bound Brook head coach Jen Derevjanik and senior guard Arianna McCleod:

Bound Brook Head Coach Jen Derevjanik
Bound Brook senior guard Arianna McCleod.

Monroe avenges regular season loss to Aquinas to win GMC Girls’ Somogyi Family Pod championship

There it was, hanging out there: one loss, to the two-time defending GMC Tournament Champions.

Aquinas also beat them in last year’s GMCT final.

Oh, and don’t forget that the Monroe girls’ basketball team, which prides itself on its defense, gave up the most points it had all season in that game, in a 49-41 loss.

Don’t worry, they didn’t forget it either.

While third-seeded Monroe didn’t ever have a lead in the first half, they used a 12-1 early second-half run and a 23-7 third quarter to power past and hold off second-seed St. Thomas Aquinas, 46-40, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving. The win gave the Falcons (13-1) the Somogyi Family Pod Trophy, given to the winner of the GMC’s top four-team girls’ pod.

St. Thomas Aquinas (9-8) had the game’s leading scorer in 5-4 freshman Amarilis Shubick. She’s the second-leading scorer on the team, but was the only Trojan in double-figures, scoring 16, nearly six over her average. Shubick had four treys, including two in the second half that helped Aquinas’ effort to get back into it.

Senior co-captain Akyia Baker was held to just seven points, all in the second half.

For Monroe, senior forward Rosie Regan led the way with 14 points, eight of which came after intermission.

Click below to hear postgame comments from Monroe head coach Leigh Vogtman and senior forward Rosie Regan:

Monroe head coach Leigh Vogtman
Monroe senior forward Rosie Regan

Bound Brook girls have won 5 state CJ1 titles; tonight they go for the only ultimate prize in a COVID-shortened season

Bound Brook was on its way to the Group 1 final last year when COVID shut down the world, including the NJSIAA state tournament.

To a man or woman, everyone is thankful to be playing a season.

Bound Brook is doing more. The top-seeded Crusaders – who have just one loss – will play Watchung Hills tonight for a chance to win the Skyland Conference Tournament’s Gold Division Pod Championship. Game time is 5:30, and Central Jersey Sports Radio will have postgame reaction when it’s over.

Click below to hear Bound Brook head coach Jen Derevjanik talk about the Crusaders’ season and tonight’s game:

Watchung Hills girls won’t shy from the challenge of Bound Brook in tonight’s Skyland Tournament Gold Division title game

Here’s a math problem for you, but don’t ponder it too long.

Add one new head coach, and take away eight seniors. What do you get?

Apparently a 7-7 team that’s better than its record and is playing for a title.

Really, don’t ponder it too long.

Instead, ponder what the Warriors have done, and what they’ll face tonight at 5:30 when they square off against Bound Brook in the Skyland Conference Gold Division’s title game. Central Jersey Sports Radio will have live updates during the Rutgers Prep-Gill Blue Division title game, and postgame reaction from Bound Brook later in the evening.

Watching Hills has had a successful year, all things considered, thanks to the play of their three top scorers – junior Bella Murray (16.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and sophomores Morgan Groff (10.5 ppg) and Julia Puglisi (10.4 ppg) – and a cast of supporting characters.

It’s a young group going up against a Bound Brook squad that has won between 23 and 26 games each of the last five years, and winning the Central Jersey Group 1 title in each of those five seasons.

Click below to hear Watchung Hills first-year head coach Tim Corrigan talk about his team, and tonight’s title game against the Crusaders:

Rutgers Prep faces Gill St. Bernard’s for top Skyland girls’ title, with Dalce’s status up in the air

As a footnote to Rutgers Prep’s Blue Division semifinal win over 5th-seed Hunterdon Central – the third team in 11 games they’ve held in the teens – one player was missing from the box score.

Against the Red Devils, it didn’t seem to matter.

Senior Villanova commit Christina Dalce didn’t play in the game, and at least for now, Argonauts’ head coach Mary Coyle-Klinger is mum.

She might play, she might not.

It still may not matter.

Her team did what it does best: spread the ball around. A dozen different players scored, and a look at the box score could easily confuse it with any other game Dalce plays in.

No matter what happens, top-seed Rutgers Prep (11-0) will face 2nd-seed Gill St. Bernard’s (10-1) tonight at 6 pm, in a game that can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving. Dom Savino will call all the action, which you can hear by clicking here.

As part of a tripleheader on CJSR, the game will follow the 4 pm GMC Girls’ Somogyi Family Pod title game between 2nd-seed St. Thomas Aquinas (9-4) and 3rd-seed Monroe (12-1). And immediately after, we’ll join the GMC Boys’ Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod title game between top-seed St. Thomas Aquinas and (9-4) and 2nd-seed Colonia (10-4).

Click below to hear both head coaches talk about the game with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Dom Savino:

Rutgers Prep coach Mary Coyle-Klinger
Gill St. Bernard’s coach Mark Gnapp

Aquinas-Monroe girls lead off CJSR triple-header as Trojans and Falcons rematch for the GMC’s Somogyi Family Pod Championship

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:

Monroe head coach Leigh Vogtman
St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Joe Whalen