With one well-conceived dish to start the overtime, senior guard Morgan Arnott wanted to send a distinct message to sophomore forward Grace Fallon.
“She is an amazing player and only a sophomore,” Arnott said of the 5-11 Fallon, who is quickly emerging as an instrumental piece to Red Bank Catholic’s halfcourt offense. “She’s tall, quick and athletic. You can’t guard her.”
With that in mind, Arnott fed Fallon as she cut to the hoop out of the high post, resulting in a three-point play that gained Red Bank Catholic, No. 6 in The MSG Varsity New Jersey Top 15, a lead it didn’t surrender on the way to a 71-60 victory over No. 7 Jackson on Sunday at The Hoop Group Boardwalk Showcase in Long Branch.
Fallon dropped in a career-high 22 points, stamped by five in the extra session. And, the show of faith by her teammates wasn’t lost upon her.
On Wednesday night against No. 3 St. Rose, Fallon was nothing short of sensational in collecting 13 points and 11 rebounds. But, she misfired on a potential-game tying bucket in the waning seconds of a 43-41 setback and, took this missed opportunity hard. Thus, explaining why Fallon was so eager to get back on the floor and make amends.
“I wanted to get back our here and prove myself,’’ Fallon admitted. “Everyone was coming up to me (at the end of the St. Rose game) saying it was no one’s fault and we lose together. You have no idea what that meant to me. I’m very competitive and missing that one hurt.”
Fallon was aggressive in finding her shot from the outset, hitting a runner as well as a 3-pointer in the opening quarter to announce her offensive presence. Caroline Corcoran sank eight of her 13 points over the final 4:49 of the second quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers that helped Red Bank Catholic (10-2) to a 36-29 lead at the break.
Stephanie Mason, who pumped in 21 points, engineered a Jackson rally in the third with eight points as the Ocean County school fought back to tie the game, 42-42. Red Bank Catholic reclaimed the lead before the end of the period and owned a 57-54 advantage with 1:16 left in regulation before junior Hannah Missery (18 points) drained the last of her six 3-pointers with 57 seconds showing to forge a 57-57 tie and sent the contest to overtime.
Arnott complemented Fallon with a career-best 19 points, including seven in overtime, where she converted 5 of 6 from the foul line. Tiffany Montagne scored 14 for Jackson.
Gregg Lerner covers girls basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner