The Quarterfinal Round and the Semi-Final Round had no upsets, but some exciting plays kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.
The 2nd Seeded Immaculate Heart Academy (IHA) defeated the 7th Seeded Pascack Valley, 61-32. A match up between IHA’s center Anna Morris and Pascack Valley’s center Sofia Battista came highly anticipated.
Both players went neck-and-neck for rebounds, but Morris came on top out-scoring Battista 20-0. PV kept the game close the first half, trailing only 9 at the half, 26-17. Brianna Smith had 15 pints, which included three 3-point shots. Smith was known for raining down threes last year, but this year she also does a great job of driving to the basket. She drew several fouls throughout the game and made foul shots. IHA was consistent in the second half, scoring 18 points in both the third and fourth quarters. Emma Matesic had 21 points for IHA, all of which were scored from inside.
The 3rd Seeded Old Tappan defeated the 11th Seeded Ridgewood, 45-41. Old Tappan’s Jackie Kelly and Ridgewood’s Jackie Wolak battled back and forth. Both players are athletic, quick, make good passes to teammates, and can score. Wolak has a quicker first step and can explode to the basket. She finished with 12 points. Kelly is deadly from the three-point line, adding four outside shots. She finished with 20 points. Ridgewood consistently scored 9 points in the first, second, and third quarters. They made a run in the fourth quarter, out-scoring Old Tappan 15-7, but it was not enough to earn the lead.
The 4th Seeded Paramus Catholic defeated the 12th Seeded Westwood, 42-31. Westwood’s Rachel Bussanich scored her 1,000th point during this game.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the first quarter score was very low with PC leading 6-2.
Up 27-23 leading into the fourth PC had a great game strategy for the fourth quarter. They held the ball for one minute before putting up a shot. They did this on their first three possessions and were successful with all three shots. As a result they extended their lead as the final minutes ticked down.
The 1st Seeded Saddle River Day defeated the 8th Seeded Immaculate Conception (Lodi) 92-37. Saddle River Day had a monstrous first quarter leading IC, 26-4. SRD is tough to match up with due to Division 1 bound Sydnei Caldwell (17 points), younger sister Saniah Caldwell (10 points), Jaida Patrick (17 points), Michelle Sidor (24 points), and power-forward Jenna Jordan (6 points). IC settled down in the second quarter and scored 18 points, but allowed 26 again. Jariah Patterson had 11 points.
IHA defeated Old Tappan, 57-47. Both teams are so similar in the sense that they both play tough man-to-man defense. They are consistent with boxing out, switching, hedging, and knowing when to provide help. They both make their opponents earn every shot. Old Tappan led at the end of the first quarter 15-13, but it was the last time during the game they had the lead. IHA out-scored Old Tappan in the second quarter, 20-13. They lead at the half-time 33-28.
Anna Morris finished with 18 points.
Noelle Gonzalez played a great game for Old Tappan. She led the team in scoring and finished with 17 points.
Saddle River Day defeated Paramus Catholic, 82-52. Paramus Catholic had the lead at the end of the first quarter, 16-15. They did this by running the floor with Saddle River Day and matching them basket for basket. Aria Myers led the team with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Saddle River Day’s speed and endurance cannot be matched for long. They out-scored PC 19-8 in the second quarter and had the lead at the half-time, 34-24. SRD’s Jordan Janowski did a good job of face-guarding PC’s Janel Moore baseline to baseline.
SRD’s Jaida Patrick caught several rebounds and tipped them back into the basket without landing. She has great velocity and can finish from anywhere. She had 21 points. Michelle Sidor used her speed to dominate the fast-break in the second half. She is not a player who rests on defense and works hard to steal the ball from anyone she is guarding. She finished with 30 points.
IHA will take on Saddle River Day on Sunday, February 17th at Ramapo College. Will Saddle River Day have a 4-peat? Or will IHA end their streak?