A cross-town rivalry was the perfect start to the scholastic girls’ basketball season.
Toms River High School North and Toms River High School East launched the 2018-19 season when the Shore Conference Class A South rivals took to the court at Toms River East’s gym on Dec, 14.
Toms River North gained the opening bragging rights when it posted a 37-27 victory.
Toms River North coach Vicki Gillen was pleased, of course, with the victory. But she felt that the squad still needs to work.
“I want to see us grow. You could see our youth a bit at times. I was really happy with some of my younger girls tonight. They stepped in with a lot of confidence. Faith Wavershack, Sydney Howell, Brandi Manna and Jackie Bevenuto gave us great minutes. That is sign for us that if we can move forward on certain things this season will turn out well,” Gillen said.
She said she wants to see her players control more of their emotions.
“Tonight we had to have missed 10 layups tonight. It is expected because we have nine brand new players on this varsity team. I tip my hat to East, they are a veteran team. They came back and gave us problems in their zone. We just tried to do way too much dribbling tonight. We just got a little too emotional tonight,” Gillen said.
Toms River North senior guard Brielle Bisogno led all scorers with 18 points. Senior guard/forward Kristina Johnson contributed to the victory with eight points and senior guard/forward Jenna Paul delivered six points.
“Brielle (Bisogno) is one speed. You do not want to take that away from her. Sometimes it is hard to hold that back. That is what makes her so good at times. You do not know what she is going to do and it is hard to defend that,” Gillen said.
Bisogno said the freshmen really stepped up on opening night.
“I am so impressed with my team, especially with five freshmen coming in. I was just so impressed with all of them. They went out there and gave East all they had. That is really all we could ask from them,” Bisogno said.
She said knowing that this was her last first game as a Mariner player, helped fuel her performance against Toms River East.
“We just need to keep growing as a team and competing everyday in practice. We are going to continue to do that going forward,” Bisogno said.
Toms River East received balanced offensive scoring on the night. Senior guard Adriana Hart led Toms River East with six points, while senior forward Kamryn Lister and junior forward Emily Maire each finished with five points.
“I saw a whole lot of fight out of my team tonight. The team had a lot of hustle and played really good defense. We shot 15 percent from the field that is what is it comes down to. We were 8-55 from the field. We just could not shoot tonight. This team did hustle tonight,” Toms River East coach Kevin Cohen said.
He said he hopes his players realized from the game that they can compete with Toms River North.
“We are a good team. We just need to score. This is a really scrappy team,” Cohen said.
Junior guard Jordyn Madigan helped spark the Raiders with four steals in the game.
“It was great competition tonight. I believe it should have been closer and we could have pulled out the victory. Otherwise we really played well as a team and everyone was scrappy which was good,” Madigan said.
Toms River North, which played against Brick Township High School on Dec. 18, will be back in action on Dec, 20 when it faces another local rival, Toms River High School South, at 6:30 p.m.
Toms River East, which met Southern Regional High School on Dec. 18, will play Donovan Catholic High School in the 35th annual WOBM Classic on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. The game will be played at Toms River North’s RWJ Barnabas Health Arena.