Tag: girls' basketball

Rutgers Prep, Gill St. Bernards girls play a big one Tuesday, with top seed in SCT on the line

To be clear: there is no disputing what single team has been the best in Somerset County for the last several years.

Since losing to Franklin in the 2019 Somerset County Tournament Final, Mary Klinger’s Rutgers Prep squad has not lost a single game against a Skyland Conference opponent. The streak is at 50 games and counting, and should it stretch to 51 Tuesday night, the Lady Argonauts will all but have sewn up the top seed in the upcoming Somerset County Tournament.

Again.

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Standing in their way when they meet at 3:45 Tuesday afternoon – in a game you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio with Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas on the call (click here to listen) – will be Gill St. Bernard’s. The third-ranked Knights (11-3) could at least make a case for the top seed in this year’s SCT if they are to knock off No. 1 Prep (10-3) in a Skyland Conference Delaware Division game. A win would be monumental.

Gill is 39-11 since the start of the COVID-shortened year, but three of those loses have come to the Lady Argonauts, and none by closer than 28 points, which came in the final of the top Skyland Conference pod in 2021.

Rutgers Prep, meanwhile, has won eight of its ten games this year by 10 points or more, and the only two that weren’t double-figure margins – came two weeks ago to non-Jersey opponents Pickering Central of Ohio and South Shore out of New York.

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They are led by junior Mikayla Blakes at 22 points per game, and backed up with Rhode Island-bound senior Katie Ledden’s 15 point per game average, while getting significant contributions from freshman Gigi Battle (9.2 ppg) and Ava LaMonica (4.8) among others.

Gill has no one pouring in points like Blakes, but they have a balanced scoring attack, with four players averaging over 7 points a game, including standout junior Brooke Baisley (11.6) and sophomore Maya Abramson (9.4 ppg).

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko’s preview interviews with both head coaches:

Rutgers Prep Head Coach Mary Klinger
Gill St. Bernard’s Head Coach Mark Gnapp

Three teams out, two new ones join Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Rankings

It was a week of losses, some more impactful than others, in the Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten. Week Four saw the top five remain the same, but there were many changes in Week Four after that.

Rutgers Prep (6-3) continues to hold the top spot; their third loss of the season came by ten to McDonogh of Maryland. St. Thomas Aquinas (8-2) had a 3-0 week, while Gill St. Bernard’s (6-3) remained in third, despite a two loss-week; one came to top-ranked Rutgers Prep, which has not lost a Skyland Conference regular season game since a December 2018 loss to Franklin. The other came to statewide No. 1 St. John Vianney.

South Brunswick (8-2) holds at No. 4, while Edison (10-0) remains No 5.

Franklin (4-4) moves up from seventh to sixth despite a 2-1 week. Their two wins came in-league over Hunterdon Central and previously-6th-ranked Hillsborough.

Bernards (6-3) – which was tied for tenth with Middlesex last week – moves up to No. 7, while the Blue Jays (7-1) rose to No. 8. Mount St. Mary joins the rankings at 7-4 and in the nine-spot, while Old Bridge (6-3) debuts in tenth.

Dropping out were No. 6 Hillsborough, No. 8 Monroe, and ninth-ranked Colonia. The Raiders (4-4) went 0-3 last week against Rutgers Prep, Franklin and Watchung Hills. Colonia was 2-1 with a division loss to Old Bridge. Monroe dropped a pair of games to St. Thomas Aquinas and Colonia.

Below are the full Week 4 Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Rankings:

Girls’ Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten takes out-of-area losses, but top remains mostly unchanged

Rutgers Prep lost once, St. Thomas Aquinas lost twice, and South Brunswick lost, too. But with all those defeats coming out-of-area or out-of-state, they failed to drop in the Week Four Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten.

While Colonia dropped, it was their fourth loss of the season, and the Patriots’ are the only team below .500 in the rankings, though three of those losses – including their most recent – are out-of-area.

Gill St. Bernards (5-1) was the only team that went unbeaten over the Christmas break, and the Knights check in third, behind Prep (4-2) and Aquinas (5-2), with the Vikings (6-2) behind them.

The Vikings are followed by Edison (7-0) in fifth, then Hillsborough (4-1), Franklin (2-3) and Monroe (4-1) with Colonia (2-3) in ninth. There was a tie for tenth, with Bernards (5-2) holding court, and Middlesex (5-0) debuting at No. 10.

Below are the full Week Three Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Rankings:

Super sophomore Mikayla Blakes is Central Jersey Sports Radio Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year

It’s rare that a senior – sometimes even a junior – isn’t named Player of the Year, in just about any sport, whether in high school or college.

But when someone is as good as Mikayla Blakes, just a sophomore at Rutgers Prep, the class year gets thrown out the window.

And so, Blakes is the inaugural Central Jersey Sports Radio Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year, an honor that’s well-deserved.

The numbers are impressive. Consider that as a frosh in the short COVID year she scored double figures in seven of 13 games – and in each of the season’s final five games – her encore was even more impressive: 18.3 points per game, and double figures in all but three games – two of which were blowout wins, while the other was a loss to Westtown, PA.

But she was so much more than the numbers showed. A double-threat, she could get hot from downtown – hitting five times in a game twice, including against Gill St. Bernard’s in the Somerset County Tournament final – but was devastating off the drive as well.

And as she explained to Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko this week, there’s a reason for that.

Click below to hear Rutgers Prep’s Mikayla Blakes talk about her 2021-22 season:

CJSR Girls’ Coach of the Year: Everybody played, everybody scored, everybody won in a dominant year for Mary Klinger’s Rutgers Prep

Please scroll down to the bottom of this post for more coverage on Rutgers Prep’s 2021 season:

Everyone wants to play flashy. Everyone wants to score. Everyone wants the basket seen ’round the world.

Often, that’s basketball these days.

For the Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball team this year, everybody played defense. And that allowed everybody to get in the games – all 14 players on the varsity roster. Sometimes, everyone scored in a game. And in the end, they all hoisted a trophy: for winning the Skyland Conference’s Blue Division pod.

With a balanced Argonauts squad that was dominant all year – including their final two games when the biggest name on the team, Villanova-bound Christina Dalce, was out with a knee injury – Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Coyle-Klinger was able to instill her trademark trait in her players: defense.

And defense got it done. Her team allowed an average of 31 points per game, while winning by an average of 45. That’s remarkable, no matter how you slice it.

And for all of that, Mary Coyle-Klinger has been chosen as the 2021 Central Jersey Sports Radio Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year.

Click below to hear Mary Klinger talk with CJSR’s Mike Pavlichko:

MORE ON RUTGERS PREP:

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

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

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

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

Dalce, Klinger talk dominant Rutgers Prep win in battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2

No. 2 Franklin girls get their crack at No. 1 Rutgers Prep in rematch of 2019 SCT final

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:

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

GMC Wrap: Boys and Girls Results, Friday night title games are set in postseason pods

The top pods on both the girls’ and boys’ sides of the GMC postseason will feature the top teams.

For the boys, the Karl-Anthony Towns/Jay Williams Pod top-seed St. Thomas Aquinas will meet 2nd-seed Colonia Friday night at 7, in a game you’ll hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio immediately following the completion of our coverage of the Skyland Girls’ Blue Division final between Rutgers Prep and Gill St. Bernard’s.

On the girls’ side, after top-seed Monroe had to bow out of the Somogyi Family Pod due to COVID, only one semifinal was played, resulting in 3rd-seed Monroe visiting 2nd-seed St. Thomas Aquinas at 4 pm. That game can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio as part of a tripleheader, with Rutgers Prep-Gill at 6 and the Aquinas boys versus Colonia at 7, joined in progress.

Below are the results in all GMC action from Wednesday night, starting with the boys, then the girls, and then the championship matchups for Friday night in each pod:

Continue reading “GMC Wrap: Boys and Girls Results, Friday night title games are set in postseason pods”

Mount St. Mary’s stellar season continues as Lions face big challenge in Skyland Blue semis

There’s Rutgers Prep. There’s Franklin. There’s Bound Brook.

Now, there’s Mount St. Mary.

The Lions might not be the surprise team in the Skyland Conference to anyone in the locker room, which they can’t use because of COVID-19, but they’ve turned more than a few heads this year.

And for a small school in its first year in the Mountain Division, to have the year they’re having – one of 13 undefeated teams left in the final week of this wacky season in New Jersey, sitting at 13-0 – is a major accomplishment.

They’re No. 17 in the NJ.com statewide rankings.

They have their sights set on something bigger, though. Throw out the record, because they just knocked out – in the first round of the Skyland Conference Tournament’s top pod, the “Blue Division” – the mighty Franklin Warriors.

Next victim? Might be second seeded Gill St. Bernard’s. Sure, they’ve got Ella Fajardo and big Caileigh Walsh, but 13-0 is 13-0.

Click below to hear Mount St. Mary Head Coach Ryan Shellhammer and senior point guard Natalie Mathern talk about the Lions, and their stellar season so far:

Aboulkhier, Cassidy power Dunellen past Spotswood on Senior Night, 47-19

Much can be made of Salma Aboulkhier’s senior season, in which the 5-9 forward/center is averaging a double double, 10 points and nearly 11 points per game.

But was the defense she and her teammates played Friday night that was just as valuable, in a 47-19 drubbing of GMC Blue Division opponent Spotswood heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Aboulkhier scored a game-high 16 points in a balanced effort, while fellow senior Chloe Cassidy scored 12 – nearly spot on her average – including a pair of three-pointers. She also had a 4-of-4 night at the foul line.

But on a night when Dunellen honored it four seniors – including Meghan Green (2 points) and Isabel Parcells (4 points) – the youh of the program shined as well; sophomore forward Alexa Castro chipped in 11 for the Destroyers, who improved to 7-6, 6-5 in the GMC Blue Division.

Spotswood (4-8, 4-7 in the Blue) was held to its lowest point total since a January 4, 2019 loss to at South River, 30-19. Junior forward Ally Clarke was the Chargers leading scorer with 8 points.

Click below to hear the entire Spotswood-Dunellen game from February 26, 2021, with Mike Pavlichko calling all the action: