Tag: Mary Klinger

Rutgers’ WRSU celebrates 40th anniversary of Lady Knights’ AIAW National Championship with Grentz, Coyles and more

As the NCAA tournament rolls on, Monday will mark 40 years to the day since Rutgers won a hiostoric national championship.

On March 28, 1982 at the Palestra in Philadelphia, the Lady Knights – led by players like Mary and Patty Coyle, Chris Dailey, June Olkowski, and trailblazing head coach Theresa Grentz – beat heavily-favored Texas to win the final AIAW national title, in a year that was a crossroads for the sport.

That was also the first year the NCAA sponsored a national women’s basketball tournament, and women’s basketball programs were split. Some went with the NCAA, others stuck with the AIAW.

The Rutgers Lady Knights won the AIAW National Championship 83-77 over Texas at The Palestra in Philadelphia in 1982. (Source: Rutgers)

Since then, RU’s national title has largely been ignored. The NCAA, obviously, doesn’t recognize it, and Rutgers never really embraced it, particularly after Grentz left for Illinois in the mid-’90s (Athletic Director Fred Gruninger let her walk) and C. Vivian Stringer promised “the Jewel of the East.”

But in 2017, Rutgers’ campus radio station WRSU had the good fortune to connect with Jim Berman, Class of ’82, who had a cassette of the original audio broadcast. A few interviews and a lot of research later, the station aired a documentary – written and narrated by WRSU Sports junior Dom Savino – featuring the full game broadcast on Rutgers Day that year.

From that project, Berman and his classmates Jon Newman and Geoff Sadow had the idea to produce a film documentary on the team, calling it “Forgotten Champions.” The film would be completed over several years, narrated by U.S. National Soccer star (and Rutgers alum) Carli Lloyd, and it was set to debut this Winter at a gala in New Brunswick, but those plans were waylaid by the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Rutgers women’s basketball coach Theresa Grentz (back, left) and some of her players pose with their 1982 AIAW national championship trophy, nearly 40 years later, at The Palestra in August, 2018. (Photo by “Forgotten Champions”)

This Monday, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the historic title, WRSU will rebroadcast the original documentary, which includes the full game broadcast, at 6 pm. Immediately following, at 8:30 pm, a special “Alumni Knightline” will follow, hosted by Newman and Sadow, along with Berman and Savino, and they’ll be joined in studio by Grentz and the Coyle twins. Several other teammates and prominent figures from the era will phone in. And listeners are invited to share their memories by calling in at 732-932-8800.

To listen, tune in to 88.7 FM or click on wrsu.org.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko – Rutgers Class of ’00 and WRSU’s full-time faculty advisor – talk with 1982 alum Jim Berman about Monday’s show and the “Forgotten Champions” documentary:

Rutgers Prep falls to St. John Vianney in last-ever TOC final

St. John Vianney certainly wasn’t 39 points better than Rutgers Prep. Everyone knew that after the first time the two girls’ basketball teams met in February up at Kean.

In the end, the Lady Lancers were 20 points better.

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Third-seed Rutgers Prep fell behind big early, rallied from 15 points down to get to within six late in the first half, but could never get any closer as top-seed St. John Vianney claimed its record eighth Tournament of Champions crown, with a 72-52 win over the Lady Argonauts.

It was the third TOC win for 14th-year head coach Dawn Karpell, who won in her first season (2009) and in her program’s last trip (2016).

It was also the final Tournament of Champions event in basketball, as the NJSIAA has decided to scrap the tourney – which isn’t played in all sports – for the sake of uniformity between seasons, and allowing student-athletes some time off in between seasons.

Short of a brief spell midway through the second quarter when they rallied, Rutgers Prep never really got going, falling behind 8-0 out of the gate before Mary Klinger called a time out to stop the bleeding. But the deficit climbed to 15 beforfe the Argos showed signs off offense.

Trouble was, they couldn’t get a good long-distance look thanks to SJV’s pesky perimeter defense, and every time they were able to get a ball in the paint, the Lady Lancers had two defenders on the ball.

Turnovers – though not as much of an issue as the first meeting on Super Bowl Sunday at Kean University in Union – still plagued Rutgers Prep, which committed 21 to Vianney’s 12. That led to an all-important 25-14 SJV advantage on points off turnovers.

Sophomore Mikayla Blakes led Rutgers Prep with 18, finishing off a solid sophomore year. And she’ll be among a number of key returnees next year, including junior Katie Ledden – who had 8 – and 5′ 8″ sophomore Zahra Alexander, who had some nifty baskets en route to a 12 point game, two shy of a career high she set in a 75-15 sectional semifinal win against Holy Spirit, in nowhere near as big a game with as big an opponent as this one.

Vianney – which finishes the season 32-1 – was led by – who else? – senior Madison St. Rose and junior Zoe Brooks. The Princeton-bound St. Rose had a game-high 21, finishing her career with 1,747 points, while Brooks chipped in 14, and will have 1,260 heading into her senior year.

The Argonauts finish 29-3, with two of the three losses coming to St. John Vianney; the third was at the hands of Westtown (PA).

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Klinger:

The rematch: A preview of Rutgers Prep and St. John Vianney in the last TOC final

We’re down to the last two teams, and half of girls’ basketball in New Jersey probably hoped it would come down to this, because the first meeting never lived up to the hype.

That was at Kean University on Super Bowl Sunday, part of a girls’/boys’ doubleheader at their great gym in Union. But the result was anything but super for Rutgers Prep.

The Lady Argonauts played an ok first quarter, but didn’t do much of anything right from then point on, en route to a 39-point loss to the No. 1 team in New Jersey. Rutgers Prep was No. 2 at the time.

Head coach Mary Klinger is OK with people saying that about her team. She knows it. He players know it. They’ve used it as a turning point in their season.

Not that a team with two losses all year, and only one in New Jersey needs a turning point. But Klinger says it brought out “Mean Mary” for a few weeks, and if it brings her Lady Argonauts a championship, then all will be forgiven.

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Third seed Rutgers Prep (29-2) meets top-seed and No. 1 state-ranked St. John Vianney (31-1) Sunday at Jersey Mike’s Arena at Rutgers University in the last Tournament of Champions Final at 4 pm. You can hear the game live on Central Jersey Sports Radio with Mike Pavlichko calling all the action.

Pregame gets underway at 3:40 pm. Click here to listen for free, with no paywall.

Scroll down for a preview of the game with the head coaches of Rutgers Prep and St. John Vianney.

In the meantime, here are some more details on the game:

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

Rutgers Prep (29-2)

  • Non-Public South B 1st Round: bye
  • Non-Public South B Quarterfinals: def. 8-Holy Spirit, 75-15
  • Non-Public South B Semifinals: def. 5-St. Rose, 64-34
  • Non-Public South B Final: def. 2-Wildwood Catholic, 67-36
  • Non-Public Group B Final: def. North B champ Saddle River Day, 62-51
  • Tournament of Champions Quarterfinal: def. 6-Universit, 68-56
  • Tournament of Champions Semifinal: def. 2-Manasquan, 64-48

St. John Vianney (31-1)

  • Non-Public South A 1st Round: bye
  • Non-Public South A Quarterfinals: def. 8-Immaculata, 95-50
  • Non-Public South A Semifinals: def. 5 Camden Catholic, 79-93
  • Non-Public South A Final: def. 2-Paul VI, 690-50
  • Non-Public Group A Final: def. North A champ Immaculate Heart, 74-36
  • Tournament of Champions Quarterfinal: bye
  • Tournament of Champions Semifinal: def. 4-Sparta, 75-54

TOC HISTORY:

Rutgers Prep: The Lady Argos have made it twice before to the six-team field. In 2016, there were the 2-seed, earning a bye to the semifinals, where they lost to third-seed Manasquan, 59-50. ‘Squan then lost to top-seed St. John Vianney in the final, 65-58.

They would return the following year, earning the top-seed, and again a bye to the semifinals. But they would lose in the semis to the fourth-seed and eventual champion, Franklin, 66-57. The Warriors beat 2-seed Manasquan in the final, 50-48, for their first of back-to-back TOC titles.

Incidentally, Franklin may have been on its way to winning an unprecedented third straight title in 2020 had COVID-19 not shutdown the state tournament in the Group semifinal stage. Only three teams have won more TOCs than Franklin: Manasquan (3), Shabazz (6) and St. John Vianney (7).

St. John Vianney: The Lady Lancers have a ton of it, although this is their first trip since 2016, so anyone on that team is pretty much through college at this point. But their history in the event goes way back to the second edition of the TOC.

They’ve been to the season-ending tournament eleven times, and won seven of them, more than anyone else in the state on the girls’ side. Their first berth came in 1990, and they won it all the next year, beating Ridgewood. They also won in 1995, 1997 (beating Piscataway in the final), 1999 and 2009. In 2016, they beat Manasquan, one of this year’s final four teams.

In five appearances as the No. 1 seed, SJV is 4-1. Those wins came in ’91, ’95, ’97 and ’16; the lone loss came in the 1992 semifinals to Egg Harbor Township, 50-48 in double overtime.

RUTGERS PREP IN THE NJSIAA: Rutgers Prep was an independent until the 2012-13 school year. Since then, the Lady Argos have had great success under coach Mary Klinger, who is in her 38th year at the school, with a record of 583-234. Prep won three straight South B titles from 2016-2018, beating North champs Saddle River Day in 2016 and Queen of Peace in 2017 for the group title and TOC bids. They lost in 2018 to Saddle River Day.

Overall, Mary Klinger’s squad is 27-8 in NJSIAA Tournament games, over a span of 9 postseasons. (There was none in 2021 due to COVID-19.)

SUPERLATIVES

While Rutgers Prep is led by sophomore Mikayla Blakes and junior guard Katie Ledden, it was Rutgers-bound senior Antonia Bates stepping up in the TOC semifinals Friday night against Manasquan. She had 17 points, including three treys, and it was just the fourth time she has led her team in scoring all season long. Of course, she plays great defense in the post, so her effort doesn’t always show up in the stat sheet, but she’s another example of how it could be anyone else on a given night being the difference-maker. She was that against Manasquan.

That takes pressure of the sophomore Blakes, a 5′ 8″ guard who’s averaging 18.3 points per game, leading the team with 56 treys, and gets to the line when she attacks the basket; she’s hit a team-leading 105 free throws this season. She can also dish it and swipe it, averaging a team-leading 3.6 assists per game, and 3.4 steals.

It also takes pressure off the junior Ledden, who is having a fantastic postseason. She’s a veteran who’s really come into her own, and is leading the team in the state tournament, averaging 17.6 points per game. She had a double-double against Saddle River Day, with 16 points and 14 rebounds, then followed it up in the TOC quarterfinals with 23 points against University, all coming in the first three quarters. Though she “just” had 12 against Manasquan, that’s the point. When Bates can contribute like she did, Ledden and Blakes don’t have to go gangbusters for Prep to win.

And there’s the rest of the supporting cast: Chloe Escanillas had a big seven-point fourth quarter off the bench against Saddle River Day. Zahra Alexander saw key time – even if she didn’t fill the stat column – against gritty University. All that adds up.

For St. John Vianney, look out for Princeton-bound Madison St. Rose, averaging 21.7 points a game the whole season, and 20 in the states. She knows the score, and is uber-reliable for the Lady Lancers. With 1,726 career points, she likely would have reached 2,000 had it not been for the COVID-shortened 2021 season.

Junior Zoe Brooks completes the one-two punch, scoring nearly 21 a game to lead the team in state tournament play. The transfer from Trenton Catholic is a phenomenal passer, and also leads the team in assists (with 118) and steals (with 119), and won’t be far behind St. Rose, already with 1,246 career points in three seasons.

And while they also have a solid supporting cast – with Holy Cross commit Meg Cahalan (a post player who can step out and make shots) ad the coach’s daughter, Julia Karpell, who hits about four of every ten shots from three – it comes down to pressure defense, even moreso than Rutgers Prep likes to do. While the Argonauts are a little more content to play a half-court offense, Vianney will pressure you and try to get in transition. Holding onto the ball will be huge for the Argos’ Sunday.

Click below to hear previews of the game with both head coaches:

Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Klinger
Rutgers Prep head coach Dawn Karpell

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.

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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

Rutgers Prep survives, advances, with first-ever Tournament of Champions victory; will face Manasquan Friday night in semis

NOTE: The time of Rutgers Prep’s TOC semifinal game has been corrected below to 5:00 pm.

Rutgers Prep surely wanted to be here, but after the first 24 minutes of play, they could be forgiven if they just wanted to get out of the damn building

Against a pesky 6th-seeded University team out of Newark, the third-seeded Lady Argonauts built a 20-point fourth quarter lead, but saw it shrink to 12 after Destiny Johnson bombed up trey after trey – and made them.

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With the season on the line, why not? She hit them from everywhere, even banked them high off the window outside the box, hitting four fourth-quarter treys.

But they were still not enough to counter Rutgers Prep’s high scorer, Katie Ledden, who – despite not scoring at all in the final stanza – tied Johnson for game-high honors with 23.

It was a monster night for Ledden until Prep got out of its offensive game, something head coach Mary Klinger said after that game she’d have to figure out why, in hopes of avoiding a repeat Friday night.

She knows Rutgers Prep (28-2) will need a much better effort in the semifinals here at Toms River North’s RWJBarnabas Health Arena, when they play second-seed Manasquan (30-4) at 5 pm. That game will be followed by the other semifinal at 7:00, featuring top-seed St. John Vianney (30-1) and 4th-seed Sparta, which beat 5th-seed Westfield Wednesday night, 55-47, in the early quarterfinal.

Click below for postgame reaction from the Rutgers Prep TOC quarterfinal game against University:

Junior Katie Ledden, 23 points
Head coach Mary Klinger

CHAMPS!! Rutgers Prep girls survive Saddle River Day, win third Group B title, earn berth in NJ’s last TOC

Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Klinger knew her team would face adversity, somehow, at some point, against Saddle River Day in the Non-Public Group B title game. It was just a matter of what form it would take.

In the end, the Lady Argonauts were winners, 62-51, down at the RWJBarnabas Health Arena at Toms river North High School, clinching their third berth in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, which is in its last season.

But it was not easy, not by a long shot.

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To the fans in the stands, it looked like it might be over early. Prep sophomore Mikayla Blakes scored 17 points in a monster first quarter – going 8-of-8 from the foul line – to get her team out to a 31-21 lead. But Saddle River Day got back in the game with a slow and steady 15-2 run to close the half.

And yet, Rutgers Prep still led at halftime by seven, at 33-26. The momentum continued for the Rebels in the second half. UNC-bound Paulina Paris – who had 12 first-half points, and was the only one scoring for a while, along with Blakes for Prep – had an eight point third quarter, and her team took the lead by three late in the period. Rutgers Prep got it back quickly, and ended the third with a 41-40 advantage.

In the final eight minutes, when Klinger reminded her team that she told them they would face adversity in this morning’s game, they overcame that adversity.

And it was another sophomore who had a huge contribution. Chloe Escanillas had seven fourth quarter points, including a trey, to help build a double digit lead, and give Prep an 11-point win in the end.

The only question remaining for Rutgers Prep (27-2) this weekend is whether the Argonauts will get a first-round bye in the Tournament of Champions, which begins back down in Toms River on Wednesday. St. John Vianney – playing in the second game against Immaculate Heart Academy at RWJ, should they advance, will get the top seed. It’s up for debate whether Rutgers prep or Manasquan – should ‘Squan move on Sunday in Toms River in the public finals – would get the second seed and the other bye.

If Rutgers Prep gets it, they would open Friday in the TOC semis. Otherwise they open Wednesday.

And next, the Rutgers Prep boys will try and win the Non-Public A title this afternoon at Jersey Mike’s Arena at Rutgers University. If they take the title, Rutgers Prep will be the first school in Middlesex or Somerset County to have both its boys’ and girls’ teams make the Tournament of Champions in the same year.

Click below for postgame reaction from Rutgers Prep’s win in the girls’ Non-Public B Championship Game:

Sophomore guard Mikayla Blakes (game-high 27 points, 1 trey, 14/16 from the foul line)
Rutgers Prep’s Mikayla Blakes
Junior guard/forward Katie Ledden (16 points, 12 in the first half)
Rutgers Prep’s Katie Ledden
Head coach Mary Klinger

Rutgers Prep girls a win away from trip to the last Tournament of Champions

The Hoffman girls’ basketball teammade the very first Tournament of Champions in 1989, and won it all. St. Peter’s-New Brunswick won it two years later. In 2017, half the six teams in the TOC were from Somerset County, with Franklin, Bound Brook and Rutgers Prep in the mix. Franklin has won it twice, in 2017 and 2019.

This year, it’s the final Tournament of Champions – as the NJSIAA has decided to do away with it to lengthen the season for the other hundreds of teams that don’t make it every year – and Rutgers Prep is seeking its third overall trip in 12 years of NJSIAA postseason play, the only representative from Somerset County this year.

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The Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball team just needs to win one more game to get there – the Non-Public Group B finals. They Argonauts (26-2) face North B champion Saddle River Day (25-1) down at the RWJBarnabas Arena at Toms River North High School at 10 am Saturday.

You can hear the game on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with pregame set for approximately 9:40 am, as Mike Pavlichko calls all the action. Click here to listen.

The two games being played at Toms River North on Saturday originally were scheduled for 2 and 4 pm. With the Rutgers’ Prep boys also in the group finals – and set to play at one of those times up at Rutgers University’s Jersey Mike’s Arena, the NJSIAA this week decided to move up the girls’ games to allow prep fans to travel back and forth and make both games. That put Prep-Saddle River Day at noon.

Around 1:00 Friday afternoon, the NJSIAA moved the two girls’ games two more hours earlier, to 10 am and noon, with the Argonauts playing first, due to high winds and snow/flash-freezing rain exected to make things messy and dangerous Saturday afternoon.

All that settled, Mary Klinger’s squad will face its toughest challenge in Saddle River Day since getting “embarrassed” – as Klinger put it – by the state’s No. 1 team, St. John Vianney – up at Kean University on Super Bowl Sunday.

Klinger also has called it a wake-up call, and her team has responded sever since. In seven postseason games – Somerset County Tournament and the NJSIAAs – they are winning by an average 38 points a game.

Saddle River Day is a little similar to the Argonauts; the defense fuels the offense. (They were also both the top seeds in their respective playoff sections.) The Rebels have been without two key players all year, Penn-bound senior Saniah Caldwell, and junior Mia Walsh, both of whom suffered ACL injuries, but Paulina Paris has more than made up for it; the senior guard is headed to North Carolina next year.

Click below to hear from both head coaches, previewing tomorrow’s girls’ basketball Non-Public Group B title game:

Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Klinger
Saddle River Day head coach Danny Brown

“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

Gill St. Bernards, Rutgers Prep girls advance to Saturday’s Somerset County Tournament final

Second-seed Gill St. Bernard’s successfully fended off a tough challenge from 6-seed Hillsborough Thursday night, beating the Lady Raiders 41-33 in a home semifinal game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The teams traded the lead a few times in the first quarter, but in the second Gill went on a 10-0 run to take a 16-8 lead. And yet and the end of the half, they only had a two point advantage, at 20-18.

On defense, though, they held Hillsborough scoreless the first six minutes out of the locker room, and built a ten point lead that would shrink a bit, get back to ten, shrink a bit, and so on, until they eventually closed an eight point win.

In Saturday’s final at 1:00 – which can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio – Gill (17-4) will take on top-seed Rutgers Prep, which beat 5-seed Bound Brook at home Thursday 86-42, led by Rutgers-bound Antonia Bates, who had 17 points, and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career.

Rutgers-bound Rutgers Prep senior Antonia Bates celebrates scoring her 1,000th career point, which came in the SCT semifinals Thursday at home. (Photo: Chris Tsakonas)

The Lady Argonauts (22-2) did what they have done all season long: score early and often, and let their defense do the dirty work. That helped Prep build a 26-7 lead at the end of one quarter, and from there, they never looked back.

Four other players scored in double figures. Katie Ledden scored 15 points, while Mikayla Blakes, Zahra Alexander and Morgan Ryan each had a dozen.

Click below for postgame reaction from Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko in Gladstone and Chris Tsakonas in Somerset:

GILL ST. BERNARD’S over HILLSBOROUGH 41-33

Gill St. Bernard’s Freshman Maya Abramson
Gill St. Bernard’s Head Coach Mark Gnapp

RUTGERS PREP over BOUND BROOK 86-42

Rutgers Prep senior Antonia Bates
Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Klinger

No. 1 Rutgers Prep girls outdone by national power St. John Vianney, but No 3. Argo boys return the favor

The Rutgers Prep high school basketball teams split a boys/girls doubleheader Sunday at Kean University in Union, as the Argonaut girls – No. 2 in the state – lost big to St. John Vianney – No. 1 in New Jersey and five nationally – 87-48.

But in game two, the Rutgers Prep boys – third in the Bellamy & Son Paving Central Jersey Top Ten – turned the tables on their visitors from the Shore, beating the Lancers 90-43.

It was a balanced attack for Matt Bloom’s club, which is 12th in the statewide rankings, now 19-1, and has dates with Ridge Tuesday for Senior night and Camden – the No. 1 boys’ team in New Jersey – Thursday night this week before heading into the Somerset County Tournament.

Junior Jadin Collins scored 26 points, including three mammoth dunks and a pair of treys, while Cameron Piggee added 21, Ryan Pettit chipped in 12 and Ryan Zan contributed 11.

It was the first time this season the Argonaut boys had finsihed with a score in the 90s, and it was their third highest offensive output all season; they have ended up in the 80s three times, and twice eclipsed 100, maxing out at 105 in a road win at Bridgewater-Raritan back on February third. They also won at North Hunterdon 104-60 back on January 25th.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Collins and head coach Matt Bloom:

Girls: St. John Vianney 87, Rutgers Prep 48

Rutgers Prep’s Antonia Bates plays defense as St. John Vianney attempts a three. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Meanwhile, the Rutgers Prep girls hung in, but couldn’t get close enough against the Lady Lancers, who are ranked fifth nationally by ESPN, and now have won 49 straight games, the longest active streak in New Jersey. They had no answer for Princeton commit Maddie St. Rose – who finished with 26 points, including two treys – and Zoe Brooks, who finished with 24, including three from downtown.

It was only Rutgers Prep’s second loss of the year, as they fall to 17-2, and first against a New Jersey team since March 11, 2020, when they lost at Trenton Catholic in the Non-Public South B Finals. The margin of defeat, 39, was the biggest for Rutgers Prep going back at least beyond the 2006-07 season, the oldest year for which records are publicly available on either NJ.com or Maxpreps.com.

Sophomore Mikayla Blakes scored 19 as she tried to get her team back into it in the second half, scoring 15 of the Argos’ 25 points after the break. But both Blakes and junior Katie Ledden were held scoreless in the first quarter, and only managed six points between them in the first half; a single field goal in the second quarter was all Ledden could muster against a pesky SJV defense that denied good looks down low or around the perimeter.

Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk to RU Prep head coach Mary Klinger after the game: