Holmdel 71, Bishop Loughlin 55
Getting to the rim was not the issue for Holmdel. Finishing there was.
The Hornets had no problems finding paths to the basket, whether penetrating from out high or off the elbows. But, the looming size and interior defensive quickness Bishop Loughlin prompted some haste at the completion of the routes, resulting in a number of quality opportunities being left at the rim.
Tori Cardaci addressed that issue with one strong, confident foray. The 5-7 junior peeled around a screen near the foul line, made a hard turn to the hoop and didn’t stop until her deposit at the end of her path.
The bucket was instrumental on two fronts. Cardaci’s drive handed the Hornets the lead at the outset of the fourth quarter and it also infused an assuredness among the Holmdel cast that a similar approach could yield the desired rewards.
As a result, Holmdel counted six layups among its seven fourth-quarter field goals that enabled it to pull away and post a 71-55 triumph over Bishop Loughlin on Sunday at the Coaches Choice USA Shore NY-NJ Challenge at Holmdel High School.
“We came out stronger in the fourth quarter,” said Cardaci, who scored all 10 of her points in the second half. “We knew we could take it to the basket. We were getting open looks. We just weren’t concentrating enough. Once, we emphasized on finishing, we started to do that.”
The opening basket by Cardaci sparked the kind of closing tear that Holmdel is capable of. The Hornets (12-4), who ran their winning streak to seven and are 11th in the MSG Varsity New Jersey Top 15, exploded on a 30-13 burst over the final eight minutes with senior guard Tara Inman netting half of her game-high 28 points in that span.
In the process, Inman became the all-time leading scorer at Holmdel, boy or girl, with 1,496 points, that coming on the heels of her establishing the career scoring mark for girls on Tuesday.
“After we beat St. John Vianney (47-30 on Jan. 8), our confidence went up,” said Inman, who is averaging 20.8 points per game. “Our defense has been so aggressive and, on offense, we are looking for each other.”
That balance Inman referred to regarding the offense was quite evident. Besides the points produced by Inman and Cardaci, Holmdel benefitted from 12 points by Cassidy Fontana and 14 out of Lauren Kelly.
Bishop Loughlin was paced by senior guard Imani Tate, who finished with 18 points.
Moore Catholic 48, Red Bank Catholic 41
The senior backcourt combination of Victoria Rubin (14 points) and Tori Crea (12 points) complemented the solid post presence of 6-3 sophomore Dina Montrechuk (eight points, 12 rebounds,, three blocks, two assists) as Moore Catholic (13-4) ended Red Bank Catholic’s run of 16 straight wins.
Rubin converted a pair at the line as well as a 3-pointer during a pivotal 7-0 run that bridged the final two quarters and staked Moore Catholic to a 33-26 lead early in the fourth. Junior forward Grace Fallon topped Red Bank Catholic (16-1), No. 3 in the MSG Varsity Tri-State Top 20, with 12 points and senior point guard Mary Kate Caverly added nine points and four steals.
Long Island Lutheran 54, Rumson 44
Boogie Brozoski pumped in 19 points to pace Long Island Lutheran (12-3), No. 8 in the MSG Varsity Tri-State Top 20. The scintillating 5-5 sophomore guard scored six points during a 12-4 rush that gave the Crusaders a 39-24 lead with 2:49 left in the third quarter. Katie Lavelle chipped in with 11 points in the triumph. Jess Harvey led Rumson (11-6) with 14 points.
Point Pleasant Boro 61, Archbishop Molloy 55
Senior guard Kelly Hughes pumped in 35 points and cleared 10 rebounds for Point Pleasant Boro (16-1), No. 13 in the MSG Varsity Tri-State Top 20. Jess Macchi was equally active on the boards, ripping down 10 rebounds while Kerry Malleck supplied 12 points, four rebounds and five assists and Lindey Havens scored nine to go with four steals.
Carolyn Gallagher scored a game-high 28 points for No. 6 Archbishop Molloy (11-6).
Ossining 106, St. John Vianney 100 (3OT)
Saniya Chong had a 43-point outburst that lifted the Pride, No. 2 in the MSG Varsity Tri-State Top 20, to a heart-stopping 106-100 victory over St. John Vianney at the Coaches Choice USA New York-New Jersey Challenge at Holmdel High School.
Gregg Lerner covers girls basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner