Rumson battling familiar foe for state sectional title

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By Warren Rappleyea

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s girls basketball team bounced back from its loss to Manasquan High School in the Shore Conference Tournament finals and was set to meet the second-seeded Warriors again in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group II championship game.

The contest, which was scheduled for March 8, marks the fourth time this winter the two teams have matched up. After splitting a pair of regular-season games, Manasquan (23-6) took the Shore Conference semifinals in overtime, 61-58.

Rumson-Fair Haven coach George Sourlis was hoping for a rematch in the state sectional.

“It was a great game,” Sourlis said of the Shore Conference Tournament contest. “We definitely wanted another shot at them, and we were hoping all along it would work out that way.”

Rumson-Fair Haven (22-6), the fourth seed, is coming off of a solid performance in a 71-41 victory over top-seeded New Providence High School (21-7) March 5 in the semifinals. Katie Foos led the way with 15 points, including four 3-pointers, as 11 players scored for the Lady Bulldogs. Rumson-Fair Haven took control with a 27-5 run in the second quarter and never looked back. Hannah Scanlan added 12 points and Nicole Morris posted 10 points for the winners.

The Lady Bulldogs were dominant in the quarterfinals as well, besting fifth-seeded Delaware Valley Regional High School (19-6), 79-47. Scanlan led Rumson-Fair Haven with 22 points, and Steph Lesko added 10 points. Fourteen players scored points for Sourlis’ team.

Rumson-Fair Haven had a relatively easy time with 13th-seeded Bordentown Regional High School (13-13) in the first round, coming away with an 84-35 success. Scanlan had 14 points and Lesko added 10 in the victory, as Sourlis again made liberal use of his bench

“It’s always nice to win your conference tournament, but it’s even better to win a state tournament,” Sourlis said. “We wanted to put ourselves in position to do that.”

Meanwhile, Rumson-Fair Haven’s boys team (21-6) fell to second-seeded Manasquan (24-3) in the Central Jersey, Group II semifinals March 5. The Warriors raced out to a 14-4 lead in the first quarter and rolled from there to a 65-46 win. Brendan Barry topped the Bulldogs with 20 points and Elijah McAllister had six points.

Third-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven soared past 11th-seeded Arthur L. Johnson High School (12-13) in the semifinals March 3, with Barry knocking back 30 points. McAllister picked up 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win. The Bulldogs put the game away in the third quarter, outscoring Johnson, 25-6.

Barry’s 24 points propelled his team past 14th-seeded Holmdel High School (11-13) in the opening round. Mickey Schluter contributed nine points to the victory.

Red Bank Catholic’s (RBC) girls (21-6) earned a berth in the Non-Public, South A semifinals by downing fifth-seeded Notre Dame High School (25-5) March 4. The fourth-seeded Caseys appeared in control, but a furious Irish rally put Notre Dame up by four points halfway through the fourth quarter.

RBC settled down and regained the lead, forcing Notre Dame to foul, and the Caseys were strong from the line as Katie Rice drained a pair of free throws. Josie Larkins, who had 12 points, added another on a technical foul. Maureen Coakley led RBC with 15 points and Rose Caverly scored 10 points.

Coach Joe Montano’s team was slated to meet top-seeded St. John Vianney High School (26-1) in the semifinals March 7. The Lady Lancers bested the Caseys, 84-43, in a regular-season matchup.