Lady Lancers prove to be champions once again

first_img By warren rappleyeaStaff Writer SJV ends Immaculata By warren rappleyea Staff Writer FARRAH MAFFAI St. John Vianney’s Courtney Calderon shoots over an Immaculata defender during the Lancers’ Parochial A championship game win on Saturday in Elizabeth. ELIZABETH — So much for a down year. The St. John Vianney High School girls’ basketball team upended Immaculata on Saturday to win the NJSIAA Parochial A title, earning its 10th trip to the Tournament of Champions (TOC) as the fourth seed. All of this after the Holmdel Lancers cruised through the regular season as somewhat of an afterthought locally (at least by their own standards), as both Marlboro and Red Bank Catholic dominated the headlines as the Shore’s top teams. But when the Lancers upset RBC in the Parochial South A finals last week, they immediately earned the respect they’ve been looking for all season. And now they’re on a roll, and back in the TOC. FARRAH MAFFAI St. John Vianney’s Shannon Coyle is fouled by an Immaculata defender during the Lancers’ Parochial A championship game win. The Lancers were scheduled to open the TOC last night against Group I champion Butler, the fifth seed, at the Dunn Sports Center in Elizabeth. St. John Vianney has won the TOC five times. Coach Bob Ward’s team earned the TOC berth by edging Immaculata, 54-46, in a furious finish that saw his team seize control with 3:30 to go. Immaculata, which saw its 25-game winning streak halted, was clinging to a four-point, 43-39, lead with just under four minutes remaining. Propelled by a huge three-pointer by senior Shannon Coyle, the Lancers then scored 15 of the next 18 points. Coyle scored nine points in the final stanza and the senior was a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. Overall, the Lancers canned 22 of 29 free throw attempts and were 14-17 in the fourth quarter. Sophomore guard Shantel Brown scored a game-high 21 points, including three, three-pointers and canned 10 of 12 shots from the charity stripe. Following the game, she put into words what everyone on the Lancer squad had to be feeling. “Nobody thought we would even get to this game,” said the sophomore standout. “We proved everybody wrong.” Freshman forward Courtney Calderon turned in another exceptional effort, scoring 10 points and pulling down 13 boards, and gave yet another indication that she will be one of the Shore’s top players over the next three seasons. But it was the strong team defensive effort in the second half that propelled the Lancers to the win. They go the stops when they needed them, and were clutch from the foul line down the stretch. It was the same formula for success that we’re used to seeing from the Lancers. The victory upped the Lancers’ record to 20-5 and set up the meeting with Butler (23-3), which downed Wildwood 43-37 on Sunday in the Group I championship game behind a 19-point effort by Jessica Smith. The winner will meet Group III champion, and top-seeded, Shabazz in the semifinals on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Dunn Center. Marlboro, the second-seeded Group IV champ, will meet the winner of last night’s Sacred Heart-Northern Burlington game on Friday at 6 p.m., also at the Dunn Center. Sacred Heart is representing Parochial B, while Northern Burlington won the Group II crown.last_img

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