Seraphs look to mix of veterans, newcomers to get back into division race


Share post:

By Wayne Witkowski

Mater Dei Prep’s girls’ basketball team is what coach Brian Laux calls a “bookend squad.”

- Advertisement -

Five seniors and four freshmen comprise much of the current version of the Seraphs that look to bounce back into the Shore Conference B Central Division race in January after an up-and-down 2-3 start.

They helped themselves over the holiday break by beating Bloomfield Tech High School, 51-31, Dec. 27 in the opening round of the Lady Lions Holiday Tournament at Lincoln High School in Jersey City and then lost, 56-29, to New Providence High School (4-1) Dec. 29 in the championship game.

The starting back court has two seniors in point guard Sam Napoli, a solid defender who is dangerous shooting from 3-point range, and Jayme Lewandowski. But Laux said he is going to his freshmen back court of Kate Zoda and Taylor Crystian early in games, as they have been vested with a lot of the ballhandling duties.

“They’ve helped elevate the play of the seniors, and the seniors have been bringing them along well,” Laux said. “I like to play up-tempo but when we put in the young guards, it’s tough to push the ball as much as I’d like to. They’ll do better as the year goes on.”

Cassidy Stimpson, a 6-foot forward, is starting her fourth season and has shown accuracy from long distance while ringing up nine points a game. Jill Williams, a junior, is a truly small forward at the three-spot, but her athleticism and quickness has made up for her lack of height at 5 feet 4 inches tall. Her quickness has helped her as a tenacious defender and in getting to rebounds. Jen Quigley at 5 feet 7 inches tall plays solid defense and while not a big scorer, she is a proven passer.

Junior Val Zoda, who is Kate’s older sister, backs up Williams as a 5-foot-6 small forward.

Balanced scoring has made up for the loss of Maggie Klatt, a first team All-Shore Conference and all-division player who dropped in a dozen points a game. Klatt, a four-year starter, helped last year’s 14-9 team reach the Shore Conference and state tournaments, where the Seraphs suffered early-round losses.

Stimpson scored 15 points and Kate Zoda sank 10 against Bloomfield Tech. Both players and Crystian each average about 10 points.

Mater Dei got a solid test Jan. 3 at Asbury Park High School and will see another Jan. 6 at home against Middletown High School North.

The Seraphs again will play Hudson Catholic Regional High School in the Valerie Fund benefit game in late January, as they did last season. Hudson Catholic girls’ basketball coach Pete Vincent and Laux co-coach the Central Jersey Hawks AAU girls’ team in the offseason.

Stay Connected


Current Issue

Latest News

Related articles

Lions skate past Monroe Township; gear up for conference tournament

The Middletown North High School hockey team is finding its stride on the ice with the 2022-23 postseason...

Eagles soar to six-game win streak with 57-52 victory over Colts Neck

MIDDLETOWN — There was no panic among the members of the Middletown South High School boys basketball team...

Lions defeat rival Eagles, 40-27, in Middletown wrestling showdown

MIDDLETOWN — The latest chapter on the mat between the Middletown North High School and Middletown South High...

Middletown South graduate Cranwell takes reins as Eagles’ coach

MIDDLETOWN — There has been a changing of the guard for the Middletown South High School girls basketball...