Trojans relishing under high expectations this winter

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St. Thomas Aquinas High School girls' basketball player Emma Boslet knocks down a three-pointer during the team's practice on Jan. 22. Boslet is averaging 17.8 points a game this season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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St. Thomas Aquinas High School girls' basketball player Trinity Upton drives down the baseline towards the hoop during the team's practice on Jan. 22. The Trojans are 12-2 to start the season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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St. Thomas Aquinas High School girls' basketball player Megan Herka grabs the rebound during the team's practice on Jan. 22. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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St. Thomas Aquinas High School girls' basketball player Dominique Geiger drives to the basket during the team's practice on Jan. 22.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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St. Thomas Aquinas High School girls' basketball player Emma Boslet knocks down a three-pointer during the team's practice on Jan. 22. Boslet is averaging 17.8 points a game this season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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St. Thomas Aquinas High School girls' basketball player Trinity Upton drives down the baseline towards the hoop during the team's practice on Jan. 22. The Trojans are 12-2 to start the season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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St. Thomas Aquinas High School girls' basketball player Megan Herka grabs the rebound during the team's practice on Jan. 22. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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St. Thomas Aquinas High School girls' basketball player Dominique Geiger drives to the basket during the team's practice on Jan. 22.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

Success continues to pour out onto the court this season for the Saint Thomas Aquinas High School girls’ basketball team.

Saint Thomas Aquinas returned all of its top-five scorers from last year, so expectations were high for this winter at the school in Edison.

And the Trojans have not disappointed.

Saint Thomas Aquinas has surged to a 13-2 record this season.

Their successful start to the season has the Trojans believing that they can not only score their second straight Greater Middlesex Conference championship, but also make a run at a NJSIAA Non-Public, South A title as well.

“We’re trying to build off what we started last year.” said Saint Thomas Aquinas coach Brittney Griffin. “We want to take care of business in Middlesex County and use every game as a step towards making a run in the state tournament. I think this year, people are taking us seriously as state contenders.”

Senior Emma Boslet has been nothing but stellar on the court this season. The Saint Joseph University of Pennsylvania commit leads the Trojans in scoring, steals and assists. She is second on the team in rebounds.

Boslet is averaging 17.8 points and 6 rebounds a game.

“Having a great season really has made my last season in high school super fun,” Boslet said. “My play making ability has really improved a lot since I have a lot of talented players around me. We all played with each other last year, so we all have a better idea what we can do as a team and what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are.”

Boslet averaged just under 22 points a game as a sophomore during the 2017-2018 season. Being the team’s leading scorer through her first three seasons, Griffin believes Boslet looks more comfortable leading the Trojans’ offense this season and that its helped her take her game to the next level in every way to help the team be successful.

Returning alongside Boslet are seniors Kelsey Ransom and Madison Ruddy.

Ransom was the team’s second leading scorer last season in her first year with the squad after transferring over from The Pingry School.

Before going down with a knee injury, Ransom was averaging 12.3 points and over 9 rebounds a contest for Saint Thomas Aquinas. Ransom has missed the last four games.

There is no timetable for Ransom’s return to the court, but the senior believes she’ll be back before the end of the season to help the Trojans have success in the postseason.

“The whole team is doing really well. They haven’t’ missed a beat,” Ransom said. “We have such a diverse range of personalities that what one person lacks, another person picks up, so we don’t have a downfall. We care about each other on an end that’s bigger than basketball. We can beat anybody and go as far as we want to.”

Ruddy and junior Akiyah Baker have both stepped up in the absence of Ransom as scoring threats.

Baker is averaging 9.2 points a contest the last five games, while Ruddy sits as the team’s second leading scorer.

Junior Melanie Mallari and senior Megan Herka have each provided strong contributions on the court to help the Trojans get out to a terrific start this winter.

A huge key to the Trojans’ success this season has been their defense.

The school from Edison is only giving up 33.3 points a game this season so far. Griffin credits the team’s success on defense to the hard work and attention to detail the squad has during its practices.

“We do shell drill for almost an hour each practice. It’s what we pride ourselves on,” Griffin said. “Our offense is based off our defense. Once we get a couple stops on defense, we’re like a runaway train on offense.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas suffered its second loss of the season in a 51-35 defeat to Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School on Jan. 20. It was the first time all season that the Trojans were held under 40 points.

Griffin believes the loss will set a fire into her team to get back to its winning ways against Colonia High School.

The Trojans improved to 13-2 with their 71-21 victory over Colonia on Jan. 23. Boslet recorded a double-double in the victory with a team-high 14 points and 14 rebounds.

A team that still plays with a chip on their shoulders in the eyes of their coach, Saint Thomas Aquinas believes they can compete with anyone they go up against if they play as one.

“We have more talent as a team than individually,” Ruddy said. “We play better defense than most teams. Most teams don’t have those two things. We just have to stay focused and work hard in practice.”

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports