Welcome back Girls Basketball Fans after a long Summer! Once again it is time for the Hoop Group Fall League. Coach Tiny Green and Carl Jordan both do a tremendous job bringing everyone together on Wednesday nights for some great action. Many times I feel like we have been basketball deprived since the Maroon and White Camp. The Fall League is like a reunion. It allows everyone around the Shore Conference to finally come back together.
There is a reason why the Shore Conference is the best in the State. The class of our players, coaches, and fans is second to none. How many conferences’ feature coaches like Joe Montano, George Sourlis, Lisa Kukoda, Tom Brennan, Dawn Karpell and many more? It’s truly an honor to be able to follow such outstanding basketball programs.
The Fall League competition definitely serves as a measuring stick. For eight weeks, we will have the opportunity to see how far the players have come throughout the year. Many of the girls will be bigger, stronger, and faster. Some will have developed lots of new skills on the court. Overall, this gives everyone a chance to work on any weaknesses, and tie up loose ends before the real show begins in December.
HERE ARE SOME QUICK OBSERVATIONS FROM THE FIRST NIGHT
THE MANASQUAN MACHINE IS STILL ROLLING
There are certainly a lot of questions surrounding the Warriors going into the 2015 season. Losing an All American like Marina Mabrey is a cause for concern. Season ending injuries to All Star Center Victoria Galvan, and sharpshooting Guard Gillian Black are very tough to overcome. However, Squan is still in business.
Manasquan squared off against Marlboro tonight. They began the game by going with a very fast lineup. The Warriors put Dara Mabrey, Stella Clark, Addie Masonius, and Carly Geissler on the court with Freshman Forward Faith Masonius. The ball movement of this four guard rotation was very difficult for any defender to keep up with. Can I say the speed of lightning?
Marlboro kept it close in the first half, but the speed and athleticism of the Warriors simply wore down the Mustangs. Dara Mabrey and Stella Clark picked up right where they left off in the backcourt. Dara was fantastic on the floor, hitting long shots with ease, and finding her way to the basket when needed. She also showed the classic Mabrey floor vision with outstanding passing ability. Stella Clark and Addie Masonius were unstoppable on defense tonight. Both players forced plenty of turnovers. Look out for this group as we get closer to the Winter.
RUMSON FAIR HAVEN WAS SMILING TONIGHT
You’ve got to love the potential of this Rumson Fair Haven backcourt. When you have a point guard like Tori Hyduke, the sky is the limit. Hyduke was sensational in action tonight against Donovan Catholic. The Sophomore just really has an excellent way to see inside the passing lanes. There was one play when Hyduke hit Hannah Scanlan in perfect stride. Scanlan finished off the play, and Rumson was firmly in control. Look for Tori to potentially lead the Shore in assists this year.
Stephanie Lesko was on fire offensively and defensively for the Bulldogs. Lesko ran the floor at will, even stealing a pass and scoring in transition. Lesko is really becoming quite the vocal leader on the floor. She really demonstrated an ability to motivate her teammates tonight. With the graduation of Grace Stant, Sam Sabino, and Janae Mayfield, it will be up to Lesko and Nicole Morris to set the tone.
Christina Antoniokakis is really going to be a great addition to this RFH team. Antoniokakis is a guard that can simply do it all. She’s got excellent shooting range, and can easily get around defenders. Donovan Catholic really had a hard time keeping up with her tonight. The next eight weeks will be great for the Sophomore. She will be able to develop more and more chemistry with her new teammates.
LOOK OUT THE CASEYS ARE COMING
Let me tell you one thing, the Red Bank Catholic Caseys were on autopilot tonight. Katie Rice, Josie Larkins, Rose Caverly, and Hayley Moore all appeared to be in mid-season form. The Caseys wasted no time, taking it to Neptune right from the opening tip. Shot selection was great. Defensively, Red Bank Catholic was always one step ahead.
Hayley Moore continued to prove why she will take a major leap in her sophomore year. Moore was a punishing defender within the RBC press tonight. She was also constantly fighting for rebounds. It doesn’t matter if she has to go against bigger players. You cannot see any fear in her game. Defensively, Moore has really grown a lot over the Summer. Expect Hayley to get significant minutes in December.
If you have to rebound against Maureen Coakley or Katie Rice this year, all I can say is best of luck to you! Rice has gotten much stronger and has really worked on her technique in the post. Coakley is crashing the boards and following shots like a pro. The next eight weeks will really give both players an opportunity to be in rare form.
EARLY SHORE CONFERENCE TOP 10 FOR FUN
1 – ST JOHN VIANNEY – I don’t think there is anything more to say. Who is honestly going to beat this team? Kelly Campbell will be a Player of the Year Candidate. The DePaul Commit simply just makes things happen! Kimi Evans may be the best Center in the State. Zoe Pero would start on just about any other team. You also cannot forget clutch shooters like Kellie Crouch, Tina LeBron, and Vanessa Pinho. There is no deeper team at the Shore. SJV has everything that they need to fight for a TOC Championship.
2 – ST ROSE – The No 2 spot can certainly be debated, but right now I have to give it to the Roses. Losing Jess Louro and Kat Phipps will certainly make an impact, but the Roses have the athletes to get the job done. Younger sister Jen Louro is ready to have a huge year. The addition of Luciana Thomas will add a lot to the inside game along with Loving Marsicano. Mikayla Markham is also ready to take another step forward. Joe Whalen will have this team in a great position.
3 – RUMSON FAIR HAVEN – If anyone can match SJV depth wise, it has to be the Bulldogs. Rumson is full of talent at the guard position. Tori Hyduke is a rare talent as a point guard. Nicole Morris brings lots of experience to the team. Sydney Sabino may very well be the best three point shooter in the Shore. Transfer Christina Antoniokakis is an excellent shooter and passer. Stephanie Lesko and Hannah Scanlan are big time in the post. Finally, Katie Foos, Megan Voker, and Lindsay Morris give the team a quality bench.
4 – MIDDLETOWN SOUTH – The Eagles have really shown a lot of improvement going into 2015-16. The Eagles have three quality freshman that are going to take a lot of pressure off of Stephanie Karcz and Haley Dalonzo. Isla Brennan, Eve Piri, and Samantha Keenan are all ready for prime time. Piri and Alexandra Balsamo will give the Eagles a strong presence underneath the basket. Tom Brennan has to be excited about the potential of this team. Middletown South will fight their way up the rankings.
5 – RED BANK CATHOLIC – Could this be the year that the babies finally put it all together? Joe Montano has to be excited about this group of young players. Rose Caverly, Jose Larkins, Tia Montague, and Hayley Moore are all extremely talented guards. Maureen Coakley, and Katie Rice bring a lot of intensity to the inside game. Caitlin Carroll, and Jennifer Bagnell will also both contribute in a big way. The Caseys are No 5 for now, but could move up throughout the season.
6 – MANASQUAN – Now the first question will be, “Why is Manasquan all the way down at No 6”? The loss of Marina Mabrey, and injuries to Victoria Galvan and Gillian Black will make the beginning of the season a bit tough. However, the Warriors have lots of talent to compensate. Dara Mabrey is ready to take her game to another level. Faith Masonius is the best incoming Freshman player. When you have guards like Stella Clark and Addie Masonius, it is really just unfair! Who will step up off the Squan bench and provide an inside presence? Emma McMenaman and Maggie Kelly are two post players who will get a lot of work in the Fall.
THE 7-10 POSITIONS CAN BE DEBATED, BUT HERE IS A QUICK START.
7 – NEPTUNE
8 – SOUTHERN REGIONAL
9 – COLTS NECK
10 – DONOVAN CATHOLIC
All in all, we will have a great time over the next eight weeks. December cannot get here any faster! If I had it my way, the season would start tomorrow!
Hoop Group Fall League Schedule
NJSR will be on hand as the Hoop Group Fall League continues