Tag: girls basketball

Rutgers Prep girls leave no doubt about it; they’re No. 1 in Bellamy & Son Paving final top ten of the year

When Central Jersey Sports Radio began its coverage of high school basketball last season, in the pandemic-shortened year, Rutgers Prep was the preseason No. 1 team. The went wire-to-wire with it last year, finishing 13-0, winners of the one-off Skyland Conference top pod.

To challenge themselves, they even played Saddle River Day the next day, after winning the pod final, and won that game, too.

They didn’t go undefeated in 2021-22, but they were by far the best girls’ team in the area, again, and once again, have gone wire-to-wire to finish No. 1 in the final Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, to be CJSR’s Team of the Year.

They finished 29-3, going all the way to the Tournament of Champions title game, where they fell for a second time this season to the state’s undisputed No. 1 team, St. John Vianney. Winners of the Somerset County Tournament, the Non-Public South B and the Non-Public Group B state titles, their only other loss came out of state, early in the season, to Westtown (PA).

That’s a run of 17 straight polls where the Lady Argonauts were No. 1, the only team to have that ranking in the entire – albeit brief, so far – existence of Central Jersey Sports Radio.

While Prep was no surprise this year – and would be a safe bet at a preseason No. 1 next year with key players like sophomore Mikayla Blakes and junior Katie Ledden returning – one surprise was Hillsborough.

The Lady Raiders made a late run in 2022, going all the way to the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 finals where they lost to eventual Group 4 champion Westfield. They got their first ranking of the season in the final top ten, at No. 4.

Below are the final Bellamy & Son girls’ basketball rankings for the 2021-22 season:

INSTANT REPLAY-Girls’ TOC Final: (1) St. John Vianney 72, (3) Rutgers Prep 52

Click the ad above for more on Kean University’s next open house.

The 3rd-seeded Rutgers Prep Lady Argonauts fell to top-seeded St. John Vianney, 72-52, as the Lady Lancers won their eighth TOC title, and third under head coach Dawn Karpell.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko call all the action from Rutgers University’s Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway on Sunday, March 20, 2022:

INSTANT REPLAY-Girls’ TOC Semifinals: (3) Rutgers Prep 64, (2) Manasquan 48

Click the ad above for more on Kean University’s next open house.

The 3rd-seeded Rutgers Prep Lady Argonauts beat the 2nd-seeded Manasquan Warriors 64-48, behind 17 points Rutgers-bound senior Antonia Bates, and nine team treys. Rutgers Prep moves on to the TOC Finals for the first time ever, and will face top-seed St. John Vianney, which beat 4-seeed Sparta in the other semifinal Friday night, 75-54.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko call all the action from Toms River North’s RWJBarnabas Health Arena on Friday, March 18, 2022:

Argonauts come out hot, lead wire-to-wire in 64-48 TOC semifinal win over Manasquan

Rutgers Prep came into its Tournament of Champions semifinal game with Manasquan as the lower seed, the Warriors also ranked above them in the statewide Top 20.

The Argonauts had something to say about that.

Click the ad above for more on Kean University’s next open house.

With only one tie, at 2-2, the third-seeded Lady Argonauts led virtually wire-to-wire, coming strong out of the gates, and beat 2nd-seed Manasquan 64-48 in the Tournament of Champions semifinals, to give them their first-ever birth in the TOC title game, in the event’s last season.

They will play top-seed St. John Vianney at 4 pm Sunday at Rutgers for the Tournament of Champions title. The Lady Lancers were 87-48 winners over the Argonauts back on Super Bowl Sunday as part of a girls’/boys’ doubleheader at Kean University in Union.

While the whole team came up big offensively, finding open threes and hitting them to the tune of seven in the first half – and nine in the game – Rutgers-bound senior Antonia Bates hit three of them and led all scorers in the game with 17 points. It was her fourth time leading the team in scoring this season, her second time in the postseason, also scoring 17 to lead the Argos’ in a Somerset County Tournament semifinal win over Bound Brook.

Now, Bates will get to play her last scholastic game on the same court she’ll call home in college, at Rutgers University’s Jersey Mike’s Arena. Central Jersey Sports Radio will have the game at 4:00, with pregame set for approximately 3:40 pm.

Rutgers Prep (29-2) never put together a huge, blitzing run as they have often done. Instead, they slowly, steadily built a lead: as big as eight in the first quarter, 12 in the second quarter and at intermission, and 17 in the third quarter before winning it by 16.

Prep’s scoring also was nearly perfectly balanced.

After Bates’ 17, fellow senior Leyla Castro had 13 (including two treys), Katie Ledden had 12, Mikayla Blakes had 12 (including a triple) and Morgan Ryan had nine, all from downtown.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Rutgers Prep’s TOC semifinal win over Manasquan:

Rutgers Prep senior Antonia Bates
Head Coach Mary Klinger

INSTANT REPLAY-Girls’ TOC Quarterfinals: (3) Rutgers Prep 68, (6) University 56

Click the ad above for more on Kean University’s next open house.

The 3rd-seeded Rutgers Prep Lady Argonauts beat the 6th-seeded University Phoeniz 68-56, behind 23 points from Katie Ledden, and another 18 from Mikayla Blakes, winning their first ever TOC game in three tries. Rutgers Prep moves on to the semifinals against 2nd-seed Manasquan Friday night.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko call all the action from Toms River North’s RWJBarnabas Health Arena on Wednesday, March 16, 2022:

Rutgers Prep girls are playing at next level heading into Non-Public South B final tonight down the Shore.

There might be one team in the state the Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball team can’t beat this season, and even now, that’s not automatically a certain guarantee.

The Lady Argonauts got walloped by St. John Vianney, the top team in the state, on Super Bowl Sunday in a doubleheader up at Kean University. But head coach Mary Klinger says that loss was a wake-up call to her team, showing how much harder they needed to work to be at that elite level.

Her team seems to have taken the message to heart. That’s evident in watching them play of late, if you’ve seen any of their games. In a 64-34 home win over St. Rose Belmar (you can see some of the highlights here) Klinger’s squad was clearly playing with a purpose, and a sense of urgency they didn’t quite have against the Lancers a month ago.

Tonight, down at Long Branch, they’ll play in the Non-Public South B finals for the fifth time in program history (Prep only joined the NJSIAA for the 2012-13 school year, and played in the Prep postseason tournament before that). The top-seeded Argonauts (25-2) take on 2nd-seed Wildwood Catholic (23-5) play for the crown at 5 pm.

If Wildwood Catholic can’t stop super sophomore Mikayla Blakes, it’s going to be a long night, and a title for Rutgers Prep. Even if they can, Prep is still a heavy favorite, as they are pesky on defense and can get up and down the floor in transition. Wildwood Catholic hasn’t probably seen the likes of Rutgers Prep all year.

How they got here:

(1) Rutgers Prep: first-round bye, def. 8-Holy Spirit in the quarterfinals, 75-15; def. 5-St. Rose in the semifinals, 64-34

(2) Wildwood Catholic: first-round bye, def 7-Calvary Christian in the quarterfinals, 69-22, def. (3) Gloucester Catholic in the semifinals, 45-39

Defense wins championships: Since the St. John Vianney win, in seven games, Rutgers Prep has outscored its opponents an average of 71-35, and held five opponents under 35 points, three of them under 30.

Here is the NJSIAA Tournament history for the Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball team, with all games in Non-Public South B:

  • 2020: lost in the sectional final to Trenton Catholic, 53-48
  • 2019: lost in the sectional semifinals to Gloucester Catholic, 54-47
  • 2018: Non-Public South B champions, beat Trenton Catholic, 58-54; lost in Non-Public B final to Saddle River Day, 73-49
  • 2017: Non-Public South B champions, beat Patrick School, 79-60; Non-Public B champions, beat Queen of Peace, 58-46; lost in Tournament of Champions semifinals to Franklin, 66-57
  • 2016: Non-Public South B champions, bear St. Rose, 65-47; Non-Public B champions, beat Saddle River Day, 69-40; lost in Tournament of Champions semifinals to Manasquan, 59-50
  • 2015: lost in the sectional semifinals to St. Rose, 67-59
  • 2014: lost in the sectional quarterfinals to Roselle Catholic, 50-34
  • 2013: lost in the sectional first round to St. Rose, 63-42

Colonia girls visit Mercer County seeking first-ever sectional title

The undprecedented, historical run for the Colonia girls’ basketball team continues Monday night when the second-seeded Patriots travel to Ewing to face the top-seeded Blue Devils in the Central Jersey Group 3 championship game at 6 pm.

Their opponents are having a similar kind of year.

At 25-4, Colonia already has set a program record for wins, and has never progressed this far in a season before.

READ MORE: Colonia girls are already the best in program history, and soon they’ll have a banner to prove it

Ewing (24-1) also is having a historic run. They’re ranked 13 overall in the state, and are the Mercer County Tournament Champions, winning the title for the first time in 30 years with a victory over Notre Dame, 51-46. They have won 16 straight since an 85-51 road loss to Saddle River Day – one of the top teams in the state, currently ranked third in New Jersey – on January 17th. They’re looking for their first sectional title since 2018.

Colonia has been led all year long by the young dynamic duo of junior Mattison Chiera and sophomore Taylor Derkack, who each have scored four times as many points as anyone else on the team. Chiera averages 17.1 points per game; Derkack 17 even, to go along with 10.6 boards.

MORE COVERAGE: Colonia girls move on to Central 3 semifinals, while Woodbridge Academy is bounced

Ewing has a similar one-two punch: the combo of sophomores Te’Yala Delfosse and Joi Johnson, behind leading scorer Rhian Stokes, also a sophomore, who leads the team in scoring at 18.3 points a game. Delfosse and Johnson each chip in about 15.5 per contest.


First Round: def. 15-Steinert, 60-23
Quarterfinals: def. 7-Neptune, 47-39
Semifinals: def. 3-Wall, 58-55

First Round: def. 16-Brick Memorial, 69-33
Quarterfinals: def. 8-Robbinsville, 63-23
Semifinals: def. 4-Colts Neck, 52-46

Colonia girls move on to Central 3 semifinals, while Woodbridge Academy is bounced

It was a light night on the girls’ basketball schedule in the state tournament for CJSR-area teams, as second-seed Colonia advanced in Central Jersey Group 3, while Woodbridge Academy was sent home.

The Patriots – now 24-4 on the year – rallied from a 26-22 halftime deficit to take a 34-33 lead after three, and held 7th-seed Neptune to just 6 points in the final quarter, en route to a 47-39 win in the CJ3 quarterfinals.

It was Mattison Chiera and Taylor Derkack delivering the one-two punch, as they have all season long, with Chiera leading the way with 21, and Derkack chipping in 12 points and 11 rebounds for her 19th double-double of the season, and the ninth in her last ten games. Kennedy Goncalves chipped in 10 rebounds as well.

Click below to hear Colonia head coach Sandi Chiera talk about the win:

Colonia will host 3rd-seed Wall Saturday at noon in the Central Jersey Group 3 semifinals with a trip to Monday’s title game on the line. Wall was a 56-42 home winner over 6-seed Allentown Thursday night.

The other semifinal will be 4-seed Middletown South at top-seed Hightstown. Monday’s sectional final will be hosted by the higher seeded team.

Meanwhile, in Central Jersey Group 1 action, 2nd-seed Woodbridge Academy was upset at home by 7th-seed Burlington City, 38-22.

Hillsborough, Franklin girls win again, setting up rare fourth matchup this season, 6 advance, Bound Brook bounced on Day 3 of girls’ state tournament

The third time was a charm this year for the Hillsborough girls’ basketball team, which lost twice to Franklin in the regular season, but beat them in the Somerset County Tournament quarterfinals just a week ago.

So what happens when they play for a fourth time?

That will be the case Friday, as both teams won their sectional quarterfinal games Wednesday night, two of six teams that advanced on the girls’ side in Day Three of the NJSIAA state tournament.

It’s also the first “guaranteed finalist” game of the tournament so far, meaning at least one of those local teams will be in the finals.

Below are Wednesday night’s complete scores for all sections in which CJSR-area teams remain:

Central Jersey Group 4:
1-Hightstown def. 8-North Brunswick, 50-47 (OT)
4-Middletown South def. 5-Marlboro, 58-29
3-Monroe def. 6-East Brunswick, 61-35
2-Jackson Memorial def. 7-South Brunswick, 66-57

North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4:
1-Westfield def. 8-Phillipsburg, 68-38
4-Bayonne def. 5-Ridge, 44-27
6-Hillsborough def. 3-Scotch Plains-Fanwood, 62-47
2-Franklin def. 10-Hunterdon Central, 66-49

Central Jersey Group 2:
4-Holmdel def. 5-Middlesex, 67-53
3-Rumson-Fair Haven def. 6-Bound Brook, 57-34

Non-Public North A:
9-Hudson Catholic def. 8-Pingry, 57-41

Non-Public South A:
8-Immaculata def. 9-Notre Dame, 54-52
12-Union Catholic def. 5-Camden Catholic, 67-35
4-St. Thomas Aquinas def. 13-Princeton Day, 85-16
6-Donovan Catholic def. 11-Trinity Hall, 59-48
7-Mount St. Mary def. 10-Our Lady of Mercy, 62-45

Non-Public South B:
8-Holy Spirit def. 9-Mater Dei, 55-31
5-St. Rose def. 12-Holy Cross Prep, 55-22
4-Bishop Eustace def. 13-Trenton Catholic, 62-22
6-Ranney def. 11-Moorestown Friends, 76-22
7-Calvary Christian (Old Bridge) def. 10-Timothy Christian, 48-23

Following are the full schedules for each section with CJSR-area teams remaining. Home teams are the higher seeds.

Central Jersey Group 4 Semifinals:
4-Middletown South at 1-Hightstown
3-Monroe at 2-Jackson Memorial

North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 Semifinals:
4-Bayonne at 1-Westfield
6-Hillsborough at 2-Franklin

Non-Public South A Quarterfinals:
8-Immaculata at 1-St. John Vianney
5-Camden Catholic at 4-St. Thomas Aquinas
6-Donovan Catholic at 3-Red Bank Catholic
7-Mount St. Mary at 2-Paul VI

Non-Public North B Quarterfinals (Opening Round):
8-St. Mary-Rutherford at 1-Saddle River Day
5-Lodi Immaculate at 4-Gill St. Bernard’s
6-Roselle Catholic at 3-Montclair Immaculate
7-Villa Walsh at 2-Morris Catholic

Non-Public South B Quarterfinals:
8-Holy Spirit at 1-Rutgers Prep
5-St. Rose at 4-Bishop Eustace
6-Ranney at 3-Gloucester Catholic
7-Calvary Christian (Old Bridge) at 2-Wildwood Catholic

“REPEAT”: Rutgers Prep cruises past Gill St. Bernard’s to win second straight SCT title, 5th of last 7

When you think about how good the Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball team was Saturday in the Somerset County Tournament final against Gill St. Bernard’s, it makes you realize how good St. John Vianney is.

They’re only the No. 1 team in the state, and blew out Prep on Super Bowl Sunday up at Kean, a “wake up call,” Argos head coach Mary Klinger told CJSR this week as to what her team needed to do to win a championship.

Lesson learned, goal achieved.

After a tight first quarter, where second-seeded Gill actually led 10-8 after the first eight minutes, the next eight were in a different stratosphere, leading top-seeded Rutgers Prep (23-2) to a 64-35 win over Gill St. Bernards (16-5).

Super sophomore Maikayla Blakes hit a trio of treys in a 30-6 run by Rutgers Prep, with their stifling defense fueling their high-powered offense, and all of a sudden, the teams went to the locker room with Prep ahead 38-16.

Rutgers Prep may be a bit on the young side, but GSB head coach Mark Gnapp’s team is, too. And he admitted this week maybe his team was a year ahead of schedule. Sunday’s result bore that out.

It was the second straight Somerset County Tournament title won by Rutgers Prep, which won the 2020 championship over Watchung Hills. They’ve now won five of the last seven tourney titles, having taken three in a row from 2015 to 2017.

Gill also has dropped three straight meetings with Rutgers Prep in the finals, losing in 2016 and 2017 as well.

Blakes led Rutgers Prep with 25 points, while junior Katie Ledden added 16. Sophomore Jennah Johnson led Gill in defeat with 17.

Click below for postgame reaction from the Rutgers Prep girls’ Somerset County Tournament win:

Sophomore Mikayla Blakes
Head coach Mary Klinger