The Saint Thomas Aquinas High School girls’ basketball team continued to stay perfect in Greater Middlesex Conference play on Jan. 30 in Sayreville, picking a 66-47 victory over Sayreville War Memorial High School to improve 16-3 on the season.
“We played really well and played a lot of team basketball,” said Saint Thomas Aquinas coach Brittney Griffin. “(Sayreville) threw a box and one at us and our girls were able to work with it. We had different girls step up to the plate and be successful.”
The Trojans are now a perfect 12-0 against GMC White Division opponents this season, while Sayreville drops to 9-3 in division play.
Before running into Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Bombers were on a roll, winning six of their last seven contests and coming in on a four-game winning streak.
Standing now at 11-7 on the year, Sayreville has found out what type of a team they are, says head coach Janet Cook.
“I think we finally realized who we are as a team and the girls have really started to gel on the court,” Cook said. “The girls really get along with each other. They have a good dynamic on and off the court. “
Leading 14-8 heading into the second quarter, St. Thomas Aquinas broke away from the Bombers with a 14-2 surge.
Senior Akiyah Baker helped anchor the Edison school’s burst, converting a three-point play with 4:42 to go in the half to put the Trojans up, 23-10.
Baker recorded 10 of her team-high 18 points in the first half.
Teammate Emma Boslet knocked home her only three-pointer of the night from the left wing to put the Trojans out to a commanding 28-10 lead.
Sayreville ended the quarter on a 6-2 run to cut the St. Thomas Aquinas lead to 30-18 at half.
Scoring in transition was the big key to help St. Thomas Aquinas get off to a hot start in the second
Boslet was a big facilitator in the Trojans’ transition offense, throwing two perfect outlet passes up the court to Baker for easy layups that led to Saint Thomas Aquinas earning a 44-27 lead with 1:38 to play in the quarter.
Just like a quarterback finding its open receiver down the field, Boslet didn’t stop getting the Trojans rolling in transition with great passes up the court.
The senior showed off her arm with a perfect pass that zoomed by two Sayreville defenders up the court to hit teammate Hailey Thompson in stride for another St. Thomas Aquinas layup that extended the Trojans’ lead to 57-39 with 3:54 left to play.
“We worked a lot on pushing the ball up the court in practice before this game,” Boslet said. “I try to see the play before it happens and set up my teammates to be in the right positions to score. You need those quick little baskets sometimes to boost the score.”
Boslet finished with 17 points in the victory. Freshman Jessica Cooper was solid down in the paint for the Trojans, making it three players in double figures on the night with 13 points.
The 18 points by Baker ties her season-high mark that was set during the team’s first victory of the season against Sayreville on Jan. 7.
“My teammates got me the ball and that’s how I scored,” Baker said. “Everything came off of fast breaks and defense. Getting out in transition and scoring easy layups.”
The Trojans are 4-1 in their last five games. St. Thomas Aquinas hasn’t lost a game this season when they hold its opponents to under 50 points.
Junior Stephanie Van Note tried to keep the Bombers in it by gutting out a team-high 18 points in the contest.
Van Note is averaging 19 points a contest during the last five games, and is scoring a team-high 15.1 points a game this season.
Brooke Holland racked in three three-pointers and finished with 17 points in the loss. Holland caught fire late in the final few minutes of the game, knocking in a pull up jumper and then racking in two straight three-pointers.
The sophomore has scored 17 or more points in Sayreville’s last four games.
Both Van Note and Holland have really stepped up for the Bombers during the last five games, said Cook.
“Stephanie (Van Note) has taken control of the our offense and when she finishes around the basket, it opens up a lot for our team,” Cook said.
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