For the first time in their careers, the cast of Red Bank Catholic Seniors have reached the Tournament of Champions. Advancing to the TOC with a 55-41 Non-Public A Final win over Immaculate Heart Academy, the outcome was never truly in doubt for the Caseys from the Pine Belt Arena on Saturday.
Katie Rice led the way with 18 points, connecting on 4 of 5 three pointers. It was the three point shot that kept the Caseys comfortably ahead throughout the day.
Tied at nine in the first quarter, RBC would end the quarter on a 10-0 run to create their first separation. Five quick points from Rice started the spurt, as the Caseys were able to get whatever they wanted on the offensive end of the floor both with their guards and post players like Maureen Coakley.
“They’re all special. To do what these kids just accomplished is amazing. We have a really good group of kids that all care about the team first in there” – Head Coach Joe Montano.
Katie Jones would do her best to keep IHA in the game, finishing with 15 points, and the Blue Eagles also got a solid performance in the paint from Anna Morris.
Morris started the 2nd quarter with her first four points of the game, and IHA was within six. As was the case for four quarters though, the Caseys calmly added to their lead with timely shots and stellar team defense.
For every play Walsh made for IHA, Coakley or Amanda Hart answered. Josie Larkins and Rice would also take matters into their own hands, as Rice and Eliya Herriott traded threes in the final minute of the half.
After 16 minutes of play, RBC’s lead was just eight. These Seniors were going to have to earn their way to the Tournament of Champions, and they did just that in bringing Coach Montano his eighth state title – particularly on the defensive end of the floor.
Scoring a total of 18 points off of turnovers, the third quarter would see only 12 total points. Eight of these points went to RBC, with Tia Montagne chipping in with a clutch three.
Now just eight minutes away from the Non-Public A Championship, RBC took their largest lead at 19 with just over a minute to play.
“I think the Senior group is great. The Juniors feel like they are actually Seniors too and it is one big group. The Seniors sensed that they had an opportunity here and did a great job” – Coach Montano.
Katie Rice would score eight of her 18 in the final quarter, as the Caseys continuously beat IHA’s trapping defense and won on the offensive glass.
“We never know when our last game is. We really want this and we want to move forward – being on the other end of it the past three years. Now it really is our last chance” – Senior Katie Rice.
Red Bank Catholic will likely be the 3rd seed in the upcoming TOC. Wherever and whenever they take the floor, these Seniors aren’t ready to go out just yet, as they carried the Caseys past the Blue Eagles of IHA with a gutsy 32 minute performance.