Manasquan wins C North title

MANASQUAN – Two.

That’s how many points Manasquan held off St. Rose in the first half. It was a defensive effort that this rivalry has never seen.

Utilizing an incredible defensive performance led by senior Georgia Heine, Manasquan halted St. Rose’s offense and held them within 30 points, beating the Purple Roses 53-24 on Thursday night in one of the biggest routs between the two rivals in recent years.

The victory also marked the first time the senior Manasquan senior group beat St. Rose at home in front of their fans and earned the team the C North Division title after going a perfect 12-0 record. against division teams, including a season sweep of the Violet Roses.

Basketball St. Rose vs. Manasquan.  Mary Elizabeth Donnelly of Manasquan.  Manasquan, New Jersey Thursday, February 10, 2022

“We never beat them in our home gym,” Heine said. “It was huge for us. We were very proud of it.

“With the division, we always either lost to them or broke up with them, so that was really important to us.”

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Manasquan’s defensive performance (20-3) was truly amazing. Manasquan held a very young St. Rose team (12-6) to zero points in the first quarter on 0-for-8 shooting. They continued in the second quarter, and it wasn’t until Maggie Cavanaugh drove to the basket with 1:59 to go in halftime before the Purple Roses were finally put on the scoreboard.

“Our defensive effort tonight from the start set the tone for us,” Manasquan head coach Lisa Kukoda said. “What is not important for us is that we kept it throughout the game instead of letting go. It is a bit of maturity for us.

Basketball St. Rose vs. Manasquan.  Georgia Heine of Manasquan.  Manasquan, New Jersey Thursday, February 10, 2022

Manasquan never gave up and maintained his defensive aggression in the second half to the point where St. Rose often struggled to even get the ball in. It was the lowest number of points scored by the Purple Roses all year.

“Going into every game, we know our defense will be the determining factor in who wins and who loses,” Manasquan senior Brooke Hollawell said. “We know the offense will come to us eventually.”

Admittedly, St. Rose was without a leading scorer and Bucknell hires Rosie Scognamiglio, who has been sidelined with a pinched nerve since late January.

Scognamiglio is the essential piece of St. Rose’s attack. As she cuts the basket and reduces defenses, she can send the ball to many of St. Rose’s deadly three-point shooters. She herself can also knock down Perimeter Jumpers.

Brooke Hollawell of Manasquan.  Basketball St. Rose vs. Manasquan.  Manasquan, New Jersey Thursday, February 10, 2022

But without Scognamiglio, Manasquan knew he could focus on the perimeter. Defenders patrolled the three-point line and didn’t let shooters breathe.

“She’s obviously a very talented player and your defense has to be concerned if she doesn’t turn around,” Kukoda said. “We decided a few weeks ago that we should be proud of the type of defense we play and use it to our advantage.”

Manasquan enters the Shore Conference tournament seeding meeting on Sunday with a strong case for the third seed. All eyes are on the undefeated St. John Vianney – the heavy favorite – but as with his defensive game, Manasquan isn’t backing down.

“We have faith in ourselves no matter what,” Hollawell said. “We’re going to do well in the tournament no matter who we’re up against.”

Danny LoGiudice has been covering local sports across New Jersey since 2014. Contact him at [email protected] or @danny_logiudice on Twitter.

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