Maroon and White girls hoops camp preview
The fourth annual Maroon and White Team Camp at Red Bank Regional has picked up a lot of momentum in a short amount of time, featuring some of the best teams from the fertile Shore Conference landscape.
But, this year’s event, which runs from Monday through Thursday, has an added attraction to go with the collection of star-studded programs that will be on hand. For the first time, the camp is NCAA certified, with Monday and Tuesday falling under the live period. As a result, college coaches can attend the first two days and assess potential recruits.
As for the fans, well, they will be treated to some high-end basketball within the field house, which will have three, one-hour games running simultaneously beginning each day at 3:30 and ending with the final contests at 8:30.
We know it’s the middle of summer, so why don’t we get reacquainted with the 16 teams that will comprise the field.
Coach Jeanene Healy has to be pretty excited about her Cougar squad. It returns plenty of experience and has nice variety on offense.
A full-season of 5-9 senior Rachel Krauss is grounds alone for enthusiasm. Krauss transferred from Red Bank Catholic prior to last season and provided a boost to the halfcourt game, particularly with her perimeter accuracy.
Her presence for an entire schedule with play nicely off reliable 5-10 senior Jessie Fifield, 5-9 senior Danielle Degroot, 5-10 junior Lindsey Bosland and the backcourt tandem of Lauren Zborovancik and Kaitlyn Healy.
2011-2012: 27-6, Group 4 state champion
Fans are almost always guaranteed to get their money’s worth from Hannah Missry. The 5-8 senior guard is arguably the state’s premier 3-point shooter (she topped the Garden State with 113 3-pointers as a junior). Missry, who has verbally committed to Fordham, figures to be the centerpiece for the Jaguars, who will play this week without the services of Rider-bound guard Stephanie Mason as she continues to recover from a torn ACL.
Coach Rachel Goodale will seize the chance to evaluate a group of newcomers who seek to fill the voids left by the graduation of Tiffany Montagne and Shannon Evans. Interestingly enough, two players to watch are a pair of eighth-graders who will be on hand: Tia Montagne and Kimmy Evans, the younger sisters of the aforementioned, can give Jackson supporters perhaps a glimpse of the program’s future.
2011-2012: 32-2, Group 3 champion and Tournament of Champions winner
Plenty will be made of the absence of MSG Varsity New Jersey All-Stater Katelynn Flaherty and forwards Marina Mabrey and Amanda Hagaman amid the swirl of speculation regarding their status following an off-season coaching change.
Yet, the primary concern for new coach Lisa Kuchinski, a former standout at Red Bank Catholic, where she recently served as an assistant, will be to assess the group attending. Junior forward Sam Sullivan will be the only returning starter on the roster and may get the chance to become a prominent offensive target this week to complement her rugged play under the boards. Ellie Masonius, Eva Hart and Bridget Ford, all reserves a year ago, will benefit from prolonged minutes this week against stiff competition.
Former Howell star Kristin Hein, one of three new coaches who will be getting acquainted with their respective teams this week, will be auditioning virtually an entirely new ensemble. Haley Unger, a durable 6-0 junior, is the lone starter back but has the game to anchor the halfcourt offense.
Kami Grewal, a 5-8 senior, has logged minutes in the past while junior Lindsay Marcus and sophomore Danielle Mark are a pair of six-footers that could give the Mustangs valuable presence in the frontcourt.
One of the better kept secrets in the Shore Conference last winter, the Lions feature a quality group of veterans that should make them dangerous in A North.
Senior Emily Lavin, a 6-1 forward, owns a very well-rounded game and plays with confidence in the halfcourt. Lavin is also rather active on the glass. Megan DeGrushe, a 5-6 senior guard, is a heady distributor with keen floor vision while 5-8 sophomore Mia Ehling has a smooth stroke from long distance.
Middletown North finished on a high note, going 7-2 over its final nine games, including a gritty performance in a 70-62 setback at Jackson in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament.
The Eagles return practically intact from a year ago, which should put a smile on the face of coach Tom Brennan.
At 5-10, senior Kiera Gannon has no problem looking over the top of the defense and working the ball into the blocks. There, 5-11 senior Jackie Dhuli, a proven commodity, and blossoming 6-1 sophomore Jill Falvey await to finish any entry passes steered their way. Carissa Gray, Christina Rutkowski , Brianna Haspel and Lauren Van Exter are all tuned into Brennan’s system.
Middletown South will also incorporate 5-7 junior Olivia Liskowitz, a transfer from St. John Vianney, into its rotation.
Neptune made its point last season that it’s not very wise to write it off. It adapted to the absence of Shakeena Richardson, Syessence Davis and Chyna Golden in seamless fashion, reaching the semifinals of both the Shore Conference and Central Jersey, Group 3 tournaments before having both runs ended by Manasquan.
Once again, John Brown is coping with loss, this time courtesy of the graduation of defensive catalyst Nahja Carter. The fiery guard elevated her offensive output as a senior, something Brown hopes can be compensated by perhaps 5-7 senior Desiree Moss, who got plenty of quality time off the bench last winter and responded with strong performances.
Anticipate 5-9 senior Ivy Harrington to assume a vocal leadership role to go with her versatile offensive game. Sophomore twins Marajiah and Miesha Bacon are two undersized guards who will use this week to make the most of extended minutes. Another area Neptune aims to hone is the post, where 5-11 junior Iyonna Crenshaw and 6-3 junior Lorena Hubbard expect to make impacts.
Point Pleasant Boro
2011-2012: 23-9, Central Jersey, Group 2 champion, Group 2 state runner-up
With its entire starting five back, Point Pleasant Boro has the potential to be the top team in the deep Shore Conference.
The Panthers boasted one of the state’s best players in 5-11 Boston College recruit Kelly Hughes (23.3 ppg.). The senior guard seems to have unlimited range on her jumpers, yet those deep 3-pointers tend to hog attention and overshadow her ability to put the ball on the floor and punish opponents with her nearly perfect touch at the foul line.
Senior Jessica Macchi is an invaluable asset who can pass, defend, rebound and score. But, take a minutes this week to admire her level of hustle. She dives to the floor as if the court was covered in pillows and is always willing to sacrifice her body’s well-being in pursuit of gaining possession.
Kerry Malleck attacks the boards and delivers pinpoint outlets, Lauren Hughes is easily overlooked when it comes to her value as another perimeter scoring threat and 5-6 sophomore Lindsey Havens is yet another shooter that stretches the defense to its limits.
Red Bank Catholic
The Caseys suffered seven losses last year by a combined 30 points. It dropped six games by six points or less, including a 43-42 defeat at the hands of St. John Vianney in the South Jersey, Non-Public A semifinals and a 43-41 setback to eventual Non-Public A champion St. Rose in a regular-season encounter.
Joe Montano has plenty of battled-tested veterans to work with, foremost 6-0 junior Grace Fallon, 5-9 senior Caroline Corcoran and 5-7 senior Mary Kate Caverly.
Fallon really grew into her own as a sophomore, gaining confidence as the season progressed. Athletic and nimble around the hoop, she will be looked at often to give the Caseys an outlet inside. Corcoran (71 3-pointers) lends perimeter support that deters opponents from collapsing inside while Caverly is capable of the same as well as piercing the lane off the bounce.
A player worth watching will be Caitlin Conroy. The 6-3 junior is strong in the paint and should be tough to box out underneath.
Red Bank Regional
First, you must offer kudos to coach James Young and his staff for putting together such an attractive lineup for this event. Hoop-starved junkies tip their cap to you all for such a summertime treat.
As for his club, Young will get to test his emerging cast against some seriously stiff competition. Zoe Curtis, a 5-9 senior, can be counted on to be aggressive attacking the rim while sisters Jazz, Paris and Devon Van Loon all have good size and versatility. Kayla Cunningham and Mia Schoening will also reap the rewards come December from what they get out of this week.
Last year brought a close to an unthinkable run of 13 consecutive 20-win seasons for the Bulldogs. Nonetheless, the campaign can see be chalked up as a rousing success.
Coach George Sourlis found a true floor leader in Jess Harvey, who hopes to build off a breakthrough junior run. A gifted freshman class rose to the challenges of a taxing schedule, gained loads of experience and is looking to continue the ascent.
One of the sophomores to monitor is Grace Stant. She missed all but the last four games of her freshman year recovering from injury but is healthy and ready to roll. The 6-0 forward is strong with the ball, runs the floor fluidly and hammers the glass. Classmates Emma Miller, Catie Ebner, Sam Sabino and Janae Mayfield all played big minutes as freshmen and the Bulldogs as a whole have all the makings of being a threat in Group 2.
However, Rumson will be without sophomore Claire Stefanelli, who is on the road to recovery from a knee injury suffered in a season-ending loss to Point Pleasant Boro in the state tournament.
St. John Vianney
Players like 5-9 senior Lyndsay Rowe, 5-11 senior Kat Egan and 6-0 junior Katie Beriont are recognizable figures to devout Shore fans. The trio has established a foothold within Dawn Karpell’s scheme. Their talents play well off each other, but it will be the work ethic they share that just might be the biggest plus for the Lady Lancers this week.
Considering the seven freshmen that will be on the roster for the camp, Karpell will need examples for her youngsters to observe in order to get a gauge of what St. John Vianney demands and all three fit that bill.
These are exciting times for the Lady Lancers. This influx of youth is reminiscent of the Class of 2011 in terms of its depth and skill. Among the newcomers, keep an eye on 5-8 Emily Uribe and 5-7 Kelly Campbell. Could be the Lady Lancers’ backcourt of the future.
2011-2012: 29-2, Shore Conference Tournament and Non-Public A State champion
New head coach Joe Whalen inherits a Purple Roses team that returns just one starter in 5-10 junior Sarah Kurtz.
St. Rose will be intriguing to watch in regards to how Whalen crafts his team. Kurtz and sophomore Kat Phipps were fortunate to get substantial playing time during last winter’s memorable campaign. During that time, both proved to be quick learners in grasping the concepts of the offense and excelled as distributors in former coach Joe Roman’s high-low sets.
One thing Whalen will be looking to cultivate is scoring options. Kurtz had a number of big performances down the stretch, including a season-high 18 points in a 51-41 victory over Point Pleasant Boro in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
2011-2012: 24-4, Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament champion
The lone non-Shore Conference entrant in the event, South Brunswick boasts an excellent forward in Danielle Padovano. The 6-0 senior can not only score (15.7 ppg.) but she was also one of the state’s top rebounders (12.5 rpg.).
While Padovano handles things inside, South Brunswick has two dangerous senior guards in Danielle Roberts and Ashley DeGroff. Roberts, a top flight defender, has quick hands that are eager to strip ballhandlers while her vision and unselfishness keeps everyone involved. DeGroff gives Padovano protection from the perimeter, where she nailed 40 3-pointers.
Toms River East
Because of how deep the Shore Conference was a year ago, sending three teams to the Tournament of Champions, the season put together by the Raiders was somewhat unfairly overshadowed.
Senior sparkplug Kristen Kennedy, a 5-5 guard, was the Raiders’ leading scorer and returns to the mix along with 5-5 senior Marykate Sullivan. As much as crisp execution played a part in East’s breakout showing, so too, did the hustle embodied by its players, something that should remain a staple under coach Kevin Cohen.
Toms River North
The Mariners entrust 5-7 senior point guard Kendal Kauffman to run the show. A smart playmaker, Kauffman topped North with a 12.0 scoring average as a junior. Senior Christina Gerew, a 5-10 forward, is long and agile to the basket. Gerew averaged 10.3 points per game over the final five contests of the season.
Senior Kristine Knowles, a 5-7 guard, can find seams to exploit with her long-range touch. Juniors Nicole Gardner and Keely Petrick will be counted on in greater capacities.
Gregg Lerner covers girls basketball for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @gregglerner