By Warren Rappleyea
With much of its lineup returning, Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School’s girls’ basketball team will look to raise the bar even higher after turning in a 21-7 mark last winter.
The Caseys reached the semifinals of the NJSIAA South Jersey, Non-Public A Tournament and were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament. Thus far, RBC is 1-1.
After opening the campaign Dec. 16 with an impressive 81-46 win over Middletown High School North, coach Joe Montano’s team lost a tough 66-62 decision to Manasquan High School Dec. 20.
RBC trailed for most of the Manasquan game before rallying in the second half. Josie Larkins pumped in 26 points, including six 3-pointers, as the Caseys took the lead twice before the Warriors went back on top for good midway through the fourth quarter.
“The good news is we have six players who have started for us and played a lot of varsity minutes,” Montano said. “Last year, we were a top 10 team in the state, and we want to improve on that. It’s tough to make the jump from being No. 10 to one, two, or three — and we have a very competitive schedule. Success will come down to how hard the girls play on a daily basis. If they pay attention to the little things, be accountable and focus on their jobs, we will be fine.”
Larkins, who averaged 10 points last season, will be a key component of the Caseys offense. The 5-foot-8 guard also averaged 3.5 rebounds and three assists while connecting on 30 3-point attempts. Forward Maureen Coakley, at 5 feet 11 inches tall, can score from the inside, where she averaged 9.8 points and seven rebounds a year ago.
Having Tia Montagne at full speed all season provides another option up front. A 5-foot-7 forward, she scored 13 points against Manasquan. Montagne played in just 18 games last winter as she recovered from a knee injury and still averaged five points and 2.5 rebounds. Junior forward Katie Rice averaged 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds and contributed 12 points in the loss to Manasquan. Lefty-shooting 5-foot-11 freshman Fabienne Eggenschwiler will also see time up front.
Montano is looking once again to Rose Caverly to run the offense. The junior point guard scored 16 points in the Middletown North win and is coming off a season where she averaged 7.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and nearly five assists.
Juniors Hayley Moore and Amanda Hart provide offense in the back court. Moore averaged 6.5 points and sank 28 3-pointers, while Hart averaged 5.1 points and added 22 treys. Eliza Srinvasan, a sophomore who saw some varsity time last year, is expected to play a bigger role this time around, the coach said.
“Our girls put in a lot of time on the offseason, and I can see the improvement,” Montano said. “I think they’re confident in their ability and they know that hard work will pay off. They’ve done the work to get to this point — now they have to keep doing it.”