Tag: St. John Vianney

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

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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:

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:


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


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.)


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

St. John Vianney gets big nights from St. Rose, Brooks, to beat Sparta; will face Rutgers Prep in TOC Final Sunday

Senior Madison St. Rose and junior Zoe Brooks did what they’ve been doing all year long – scoring a lot of points – and top-seed St. John Vianney – the No. 1 seed in the Tournament of Champions and the No. 1 team in the state – beat fourth-seed Sparta 75-54 to advance to the TOC Finals fir the first time since 2016.

St. Rose scored 23 and Brooks led the way with 24 for the the Lady Lancers, who now will face Rutgers Prep in the title game.

The two met on Super Bowl Sunday as part of a doubleheader at Kean University in Union, where SJV won 87-48, a result that left the Lady Argonauts wanting another crack at the top team in the state.

The Lady Lancers have been dominant. Now 31-1, their lone loss this season came on February 20th, to Sidwell Friends (DC), the top-ranked team in the country.

Like Rutgers Prep, both teams were undefeated last year, 14-0. And in 2020, Vianney was 28-1and had just beaten St. Rose of Belmar 67-54 in the Non-Public South A Final before the NJSIAA cancelled the remainder of the state tournament due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vianney’s last loss to a New Jersey opponent came in the 2019 Non-Public South A title game, where they fell 61-54 to St. Rose. That’s 62 straight against New Jersey competition, including 11-0 in Shore Conference Tournament/Pod play, and 8-0 in NJSIAA state tournament action.

Click below for postgame reaction from St. John VIanney head coach Dawn Karpell:

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:

Collins leads Rutgers Prep into matchup with Shore Conference foe St. John Vianney

Roselle Catholic has talent to spare.

So, when Jadin Collins left and decided to enroll at Rutgers Prep, head coach Matt Bloom welcomed him with open arms.

All Collins has done is lead Rutgers Prep – with his 18 points per game – to an 18-1 record, their lone blemish to Red Bank Catholic in the Jimmy V Showcase at the end of January.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Collins will lead the Argonauts against St. John Vianney, in game two of a girls/boys doubleheader between the schools at Kean University’s Harwood Arena in Union. Game time is set for 12:30, immediately following the girls’ matchup between the top two teams in the state – SJV is ranked No. 1.

Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call all the action, and you can listen live by clicking here.

Click below for audio previews of Sunday’s game:

Rutgers Prep head coach Matt Bloom
St. John Vianney head coach Ryan Finch

Connections, relationships bring Rutgers Prep games to Kean University Sunday, with revamped facilities providing the backdrop for big-time high school hoops

When the COVID pandemic hit, before the student-athletes started coming back to campus, Kean University administrators – from Athletic Director Kelly Williams all the way up to Dr. Lamont Repollett, the University President – wanted to “surprise” their kids.

The undertook a series of renovations to the school’s athletic facilites that continue to make it a leader among smaller D-3 schools in New Jersey.

The updated Harwood Arena is just one of the many facilities that have seen upgrades, and Sunday it will host a doubleheader between the girls’ and boys’ high school basketball teams of Rutgers Prep and St. John Vianney, with the first matchup being the girls’ tilt at 11 am, featuring the No. 1 (SJV) and No. 2 (Rutgers Prep) teams in the state.

READ MORE: Rutgers Prep girls get crack at NJ’s top team in doubleheader at Kean Sunday

You can hear both games on Central Jersey Sports Radio, starting with pregame at 10:45 am. Click here to listen live.

The big connection to Kean is with Dr. Repollett, the former New Jersey Education Commissioner whose daughter Taylor is a junior on the Rutgers Prep squad. Repollett played high school basketball at Carteret, while Williams played at Ewing.

Ironically, each played future teammates at Rutgers: Tom Savage of Ewing, and the late Keith Hughes of Carteret.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko speak with Kean University Athletic Director Kelly Williams and school president Dr. Lamont Repollett:

Rutgers Prep girls get crack at NJ’s top team in doubleheader at Kean Sunday

Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball coach Mary Klinger doesn’t shy her team away from a challenge. They’ve been one of the most successful teams in the area, even the state, especially in the last decade or so.

The Argonauts have been the No. 1 team in the Central Jersey Sports Radio/Bellamy & Son Paving rankings since its debut last season.

Sunday, they get their crack at the No. 1 team in the state, when Rutgers Prep (17-1) takes on perennial powerhouse and Tournament of Champions favorite (and past winner) St. John Vianney (21-0) Sunday at 11 am at Kean University in Union.

The game is part of a doubleheader, with the Rutgers Prep and SJV boys immediately following at 12:30. Central Jersey Sports Radio will broadcast both games live, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action. Click here to listen for free.

Click below to hear audio previews of the girls’ matchup with both head coaches:

Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Klinger
St. John Vianney head coach Dawn Karpell