Since 2016, the Red Bank Regional High girls’ basketball team has been unable to ring up a victory against Colts Neck High School.
As the two teams met for the first time this season on Jan. 3 in Colts Neck, Red Bank finally ended that drought.
Red Bank rallied from three points down with 1:54 remaining in the fourth period and gained a 44-41 victory over Colts Neck in a Shore Conference B-North Division game.
“To beat such a talented and well coach team like Colts Neck takes a team effort,” said Red Bank coach John Truhan. “This was a tremendous basketball game. It took a total team effort for us to come out with more points than they did.”
The victory lifted Red Bank’s record to 5-1. Colts Neck, which held the Buccaneers’ to a season-low 44 points in the contest, dropped to 3-2. Red Bank was averaging 67.2 points a game coming into the contest.
Playing four strong Shore Conference opponents to start the season, coach Steve Jannarone of Colts Neck has been pleased with his performance to start the season.
“Red Bank Regional is such a tough team to defend because the shooters they have, so to hold them to 44 points is something I can’t be too upset about,” Jannarone said. “I was really happy with our team’s effort. Our goal to be a better team at the end of the year than we were at the beginning of the season.”
Defense was the key to help Red Bank defeat its nemesis.
It all started with under a minute to play with the Buccaneers down one and Lulu Attia blocking Colts Neck guard Jessica Thesing’s second chance shot at the hoop.
It allowed teammate Caitlyn Decker to retrieve the loose ball for the steal and then throw a perfect outlet pass to teammate Chloe Teter running up the right side of the court.
Teter drove hard to the basket and made the layup while getting fouled by Colts Neck’s Madison Hunt. The junior went on to knock down the free throw to complete the three-point play and give the Buccaneers a 41-39 lead with 37 seconds left to play.
“It was such a perfect pass by Caitlyn (Decker), “ Teter said. “She saw me running up the court and we were able to have a good connection to make it work out. Overall, myself and my teammates making big plays at the end really got us hyped up and helped us come together to get the win.”
Teter finished with a team-high 21 points in the victory.
Decker stepped up with a huge defensive play again in the final seconds to help Red Bank hang on for the victory.
With Red Bank only up three points with five seconds left, senior Camryn Foltz dashed down the court to try to get a shot off to force overtime for Colts Neck.
As Foltz drove past half court and was about to pull up for the three-point shot, Decker stuck her right hand out to steal the ball and seal up Red Bank’s first victory over Colts Neck since the 2016-2017 season.
“I was trying to keep her in front of me and not let her score,” Decker said. “Once she put the ball out, I had to pick the right moment to steal it without fouling. It felt pretty good to get the steal and have that reassurance that the clock was going to run out and she wasn’t going to get a shot off.”
Decker also produced six points in the victory when teammate Amelia Medolla scored nine points.
Foltz scored a team-high 21 points for Colts Neck. The senior has scored over 20 points in each of the first five games of the season.
The Dartmouth College commit helped anchor Colts Neck’s comeback in the second half, when the Cougars rallied from eight points down to start the third quarter to be up 39-36 with under two minutes to play.
Thesing contibuted six points for Colts Neck. Hunt and Kiera Jacobs each hit a big three-pointer during the Colts Neck rally.
Chance Gagliardi gave Colts Neck its first lead since the first quarter with a great offensive rebound, and then knocking in the put back to give the Cougars a one-point lead with under six minutes to play.
“We’re a young team. We have some inexperienced players that got caught up in the moment during the first half and showed what they could do in the second half,” Jannarone said. “We’ve been trying to establish an identity of playing hard for a full 32 minutes and that’s what our players did.”
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports