By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
TRENTON, NJ — For the second straight year, the Manasquan High School Warriors suffered a loss in the Tournament of Champions championship game. However, this loss may be worse than last year’s double-overtime game.
Franklin High School Warriors needed a game-winning basket from Kennady Schenck with 0:01 seconds left with a baseline jumper to get the win. Schenck’s shot game gave Franklin it’s first-ever Tournament of Championships at the Sun National Bank Center on Monday night.
“Have you ever seen freshman with the nerves that these girls have?” Franklin head coach Audrey Taylor said. “They don’t carry any nerves whatsoever, it’s amazing to me. So for her [Schenck] to do that and turnaround after everybody screaming with literally everything we had, ‘Shoot!’ She turned around and she did just that. Once it left her hand, we knew it was good.”
This was the third-time in the past four-years that Manasquan lost in the Tournament of Champions. They tie Saint John Vianney — who defeated them last year — with the most Tournament of Champions runner-ups with three.
Manasquan’s lone Tournament of Champions championship under head coach Lisa Kukoda came in 2015. They won 59-55 over St. Rose.
There were two lead changes late in the final two minutes. Manasquan’s Dara Mabrey — who had 15 points — made one of two free throws to tie the game at 46.
Following a basket by Diamond Miller, Faith Masonius tied the game at 48. Then, for the final 1:07, the ball was in the position of Franklin.
“We wanted to make sure we had the last shot,” Taylor said. “We wanted the ball in Diamond’s hands. Based on that, I told Camille (Gray) to come and set a screen and make sure she rolled to the basket to be there for a rebound. Diamond was going to have to make a decision – she was either going to go to the basket or she was going to take the shot and everybody had to be there, available for that rebound.”
Miller — who had 18 points — missed a three-pointer late, then Schenck got the rebound and put the ball back up for the win.
Stella Clark — who added 17 points — gave Manasquan a seven-point lead right out of the third quarter. Then, Schenck tied the game at 30 after making her first free throw.
“We obviously did not shoot as well as we have in the past couple of games,” Kukoda said. “That’s a testament to the defense that they played and the things that they gave us. It’s a big game, it’s a big arena, that takes some adjusting. They were able to get us to take certain looks and unfortunately, the ball wasn’t falling for us.”
Manasquan had a 10-point lead in the first quarter. But Miller made a three-pointer in the second quarter at 4:21 to tie the game at 19.
“In a game of this caliber, you don’t expect the lead to stay too long,” Kukoda said. “They did a great job of adjusting and taking away some of that transition stuff. They were able to defend us in the half court pretty well. You look forward to this game and you know it’s going to be a great game. We saw some great competition.”
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