When SJV started this season ,everyone knew it was going to be a difficult one. Leading scorer Emily Uribe went down with a torn ACL and was lost for the year. This was going to be tough, but one thing about Dawn Karpell is that she is always up for any challenge. Dawn Karpell will play anyone, anytime, and anywhere. Karpell’s teams always play the toughest schedule every year. She always knows how to rally her team and get the best out of her players at the right time. Sophomore Courtney Dobrzynski would replace Uribe in the starting lineup and has played excellent defense for SJV all year. The Lancers led by DePaul commit and star point guard Kelly Campbell would roll to a 21-3 regular season record. Sophomore Kimi Evans has been awesome for SJV in the paint all year. Kellie Crouch has been knocking down shots, and Vanessa Pinho and Tina LeBron have contributed in a major way off the bench. SJV would finish in the SCT final four, but now they are looking for something better. There is no doubt that a possible TOC Championship is on their mind.
Today was a renewal of a great rivalry between two of the best Non Public programs in New Jersey. What else can you expect in a Non Public A South Semifinal playoff game ? Red Bank Catholic was coming into the Lancers gym and looking to play spoiler. RBC has a team that features only one senior in all star guard Alex Barazotti. RBC has some big time talent at the guard positions with freshman point guard Rose Caverly and sophomore shooting sensation Josie Larkins. Maureen Coakley takes care of the middle for the Caseys and she is very strong inside. The Caseys are young and very talented. If the Lancers were going to get to the sectional championship, they would have to bring their “A” game.
The game started off as a defensive dogfight. SJV tried to run early, but RBC was fighting hard. Alex Barazotti was able to come up with a few steals. Maureen Coakley was going up strong and getting to the foul line. RBC had come to play. With the pressure on the outside, Karpell would go to her bigs. They were able to respond in a big way. Kelly Campbell found Kimi Evans down low early and this would be the start of a great game for her. Evans would become a post up machine as she put up 12 first half points for the Lancers. She was grabbing rebounds on the offensive and defensive glass. Once this 6’3″ Sophomore gets going, she is like a machine underneath the basket. SJV would ride her to a 23-19 halftime lead. RBC was able to hang in there as Maureen Coakley was battling hard on the glass. Coakley and Barazotti would each have 6 points at the half.
Everyone knew the second half could go two ways. We would either see the defensive struggle in the first half, or the Lancers would do what they’ve done so many times and blow the game open. The Lancers went right to work in the third quarter and outscored RBC 16-7 in the period. This was the second half explosion that we have seen out of the Lancers so many times. Kelly Campbell started lighting it up with a three pointer from the corner, and another long shot. Vanessa Pinho came off the bench and hit a long three. Kimi Evans continued dominating, and Gigi Capanegro came up with some big rebounds for the Lancers. Overall, SJV would outscore RBC 38-17 in the second half. The Lancers would cruise to a 61-36 victory in their last home game of the year. Kimi Evans had one of her best games with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Every time Dawn Karpell went to Kimi, she was right there to make big plays for her team. Gigi Capanegro also chipped in with 13 points. Capanegro was huge on the offensive glass and came up with a few steals. This led to many second shot opportunities for SJV. Kelly Campbell scored all 11 of her points in the second half. One thing I can say about Kelly is that she has really brought her game to another level this year. She has become more than just a point guard, but a floor general. She has great vision, can make plays by passing the ball, and has really become quite the scorer this year. With Emily Uribe injured, Campbell has had to focus on scoring a lot more points, and she has done everything that has been asked of her. De Paul is getting a great one in 2016-17. The SJV bench has been spectacular as Vanessa Pinho and Tina LeBron both continue to make an impact for the Lancers. Both players finished with 5 points and were also great on the defensive end.
One of my favorite moments in this game was the very end. With just under 2 minutes to go, RBC senior Alex Barazotti would leave the court for the last time to a standing ovation. Both the RBC and SJV fans were all on their feet and it was a fantastic moment!! Alex has been a great player and teammate for the Caseys over the past four years. She has done everything Joe Montano has asked of her and more. She played with a very young team this year and did everything she could to help them grow. It is hard to find a player with those leadership qualities. Alex will be missed at the Shore! I wish her the best of luck at Loyola. Alex would finish the game with 10 points. She leaves with 1 SCT championship that she helped win in 2013. Maureen Coakley also finished with 11 points for the Caseys and really battled hard under the boards. One thing I will say about this Caseys team is that they have a bright future. They return 11 out of 12 players and will only get better in the long run. Joe Montano is building a solid foundation with Rose Caverly, Josie Larkins, Katie Rice, Maureen Coakley, Haley Moore, and others. The Caseys finished their season with a 22-6 record and a share of the Shore Conference Class B North Championship.
Next up for St John Vianey is the Non Public A South Sectional Championship against the Gloucester Catholic Rams. This will be a rematch of last year’s final that SJV won. The Rams are led by Junior Center Mary Gedaka and have a lot of talent on the roster. SJV is playing as well as they have been all year. If Kelly Campbell keeps leading the way she has been, and if both Evans and Capanegro continue to dominate inside, this team has an excellent shot at a TOC title. I cannot stress enough how much the bench production has also meant to this team. Vanessa Pinho, Tina LeBron, and Zoe Pero have provided quality minutes for this Lancers team. This team has a big game coming up, but Dawn Karpell will have them more than ready for it.