The Saint John Vianney High School girls’ basketball team kept alive its strong chances to win a state championship this season.
Second-seeded Saint John Vianney advanced to the final of the NJSIAA South Jersey, Non-Public A Tournament for the second year in a row with a 50-43 victory over sixth-seeded Saint Thomas Aquinas High School on March 9 in Holmdel.
Saint John Vianney is now 27-1 on the season and will play Saint Rose High School in the state sectional final on March 11.
Saint Rose upset top-seeded Red Bank Catholic in the other state semifinal on March 9.
Saint Thomas Aquinas got off to a hot start to end the first quarter with a 12-8 lead.
Both teams battled back and forth in the second period, but Saint Thomas Aquinas remained on top with a 20-14 lead at the half.
Madison St. Rose exploded with a crucial eight-point third period for the Lancers to help put Saint John Vianney up one point.
Akiya Baker, though, knocked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to put Saint Thomas Aquinas up by a count of 33-31 going into the fourth quarter.
Some clutch free throws by St. Rose and junior Katie Hill iced the game for Saint John Vianney in the fourth period.
St. Rose led the Lancers with a game-high 18 points, while Hill finished with 10 points in the victory.
Senior Emma Boslet scored a team-high 13 points for Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Kelsey Ransom put in 10 points for the Trojans. The Edison team, which won the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament this year, ended the season with a record of 25-5.