Donza, Capua lead Jackson Memorial past Howell in girls’ hoops

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Jackson Memorial High School girls' basketball player Rachel Capua steals the ball from Howell High School's Grace Leary during a game played on Feb. 8. Capua scored 31 points to help Jackson Memorial defeat Howell, 89-70.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Jackson Memorial High School girls' basketball player Kristina Donza dribbles the ball at the top of the key during the team's game against Howell High School on Feb. 8. Donza scored a game-high 32 points in the contest. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Howell High School girls' basketball player Caitlin Gresko looks to drive to the basket during the team's game against Jackson Memorial High School on Feb. 8. Gresko scored a team-high 26 points in the contest.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Jackson Memorial High School girls' basketball player Ally Vella tracks the down the loose ball before Howell High School's Cassie Conte during a game played on Feb. 8. Jackson Memorial is 17-2 on the season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Howell High School girls' basketball player Mackenzie Bruno tries to drive past Jackson Memorial High School's Ally Vella during a game played on Feb. 8. Bruno scored 10 points in the contest.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Jackson Memorial High School girls' basketball player Rachel Capua steals the ball from Howell High School's Grace Leary during a game played on Feb. 8. Capua scored 31 points to help Jackson Memorial defeat Howell, 89-70.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Jackson Memorial High School girls' basketball player Kristina Donza dribbles the ball at the top of the key during the team's game against Howell High School on Feb. 8. Donza scored a game-high 32 points in the contest. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Howell High School girls' basketball player Caitlin Gresko looks to drive to the basket during the team's game against Jackson Memorial High School on Feb. 8. Gresko scored a team-high 26 points in the contest.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Jackson Memorial High School girls' basketball player Ally Vella tracks the down the loose ball before Howell High School's Cassie Conte during a game played on Feb. 8. Jackson Memorial is 17-2 on the season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Howell High School girls' basketball player Mackenzie Bruno tries to drive past Jackson Memorial High School's Ally Vella during a game played on Feb. 8. Bruno scored 10 points in the contest.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

The Jackson Memorial High School girls’ basketball team showed how lethal its offense can be by recording a season-high 89 points in its victory against Howell High School on Feb. 8 in Howell.

Senior Kristina Donza and junior Rachel Capua both poured in over 30 points for the Jaguars, who extended their winning streak to 12 games with a 89-70 victory.

Jackson Memorial’s victory moved its record to 17-2 on the season.

“We take things one game at a time, one practice at time,” Jackson Memorial coach Rachel Goodale said. “That’s our mentality. Offensively, these girls fight and found a way to get on a great run coming out of the half. I thought we did a good job in the second half and I was pumped up about that.”

Howell put together its best offensive performance of the season to try to stay with the Jaguars, scoring a season-high 70 points in the loss.

Junior Christina Gresko recorded a team-high 26 points for Howell, while teammate Grace Leary had a monster fourth quarter, scoring 13 of her 19 points to finish the game.

Howell coach Joe Santopietro is hoping the great effort by his squad, which is now 10-9 on the season, will continue to stay consistent going into postseason play.

“We understand that if we bring the same intensity as we did against Jackson Memorial in the state or the Shore Conference tournament, that the outcomes could be different than some of the games we lost this season,” Santopietro said. “That intensity seems to be turning the corner. We’re starting to see some of our juniors step up and be leaders both vocally and with their actions on the court.”

Capua led the Jackson Memorial charge in the first half, sinking two three-pointers and scoring 12 points in the first quarter to put the Jaguars out to a 22-16 lead.

The junior showed off her nifty ball handling skills with just under 2:30 to go in the first half, slicing through the Howell defense for a layup to give her 18 points in the half and Jackson Memorial a 36-26 lead.

“I had a lot of energy coming out,” Capua said. “It’s always a competitive environment playing at Howell and everyone had a lot of energy to start the game. Feels good to score 31 points.”

Howell was able to cut the Jackson Memorial lead to 38-31 going into the half.

Jackson Memorial stormed out on a 10-2 surge to begin the second half, and climb all the way up to a 59-39 lead with about two minutes to go in the third period after Donza knocked home her second three-pointer of the quarter from the top of the key.

Donza had a terrific second half of play, scoring 18 of her game-high 32 points, 10 of which coming in the fourth quarter to put a stamp on the team’s season-high mark of 89 points. The senior was perfect from the free-throw line in the victory, going 10-of-10 from the strike.

One of the best players in the Shore Conference, Donza has scored over 30 points in two of the last three games and is averaging 27.1 points a contest this season.

“One of the things I had to work on in the offseason was offensive rebounding and that’s where a lot of my points come from,” Donza said. “It’s my senior season, so I’m trying to go out with a bang. We’re a very confident team and we’re showing who we are as a Jaguar team.”

Freshman Zoie Maffei gave Jackson Memorial three players in double figures, recording 11 points in the victory.

Jackson Memorial knocked in a total of seven three-pointers in the contest.

Howell had four players in double figures as Mackenzi Greene and Mackenzie Bruno each had 10 points in the game.

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports