The NJSIAA Tournament of Champions girls basketball quarterfinal game between No. 3 seed Red Bank Catholic and No. 6 seed Ocean City was a tight contest in the first half.
However, Red Bank Catholic broke away with a strong third quarter and turned a competitive game into a rout after three quarters.
The Caseys were strong on the fastbreak, converted turnovers into points, pounded the ball in the paint and had a ton of second-chance points as they defeated Ocean City, 45-23, on Tuesday night at the Pine Belt Arena.
“Our seniors really stepped it up and Alex Barazotti made some big shots in the third quarter,” Red Bank Catholic coach Joe Montano said. “I thought our defense was great in the second half ’till they banked in that 3-pointer because they only had eight points in the second half to that point. I thought our effort in the second half was really good.”
Red Bank Catholic (29-1) led 19-12 at halftime and then pounced on Ocean City (26-5) in the third quarter. Barazotti scored six of her 12 points in the third quarter and Alex Alfano added six of her eight points in third quarter as the duo powered the Caseys to a 39-16 lead after three quarters.
“I thought in the beginning of the second quarter our three subs did a good job of letting us rest some people,” Montano said. “Maria Balocco got a basket and Tara Daniels and Quinn McMenaman made some things happen. I thought those three girls did a really good job too by extending our bench a little bit.”
Tuesday night’s experience was much better than the last time Red Bank Catholic was in the TOC. In 2007, Red Bank Catholic was the No. 4 seed and lost to No. 5 seed Rumson-Fair Haven, 47-41, in a TOC quarterfinal round game. The Caseys last TOC quarterfinal round victory was 2004 when the Caseys were the No. 4 seed and defeated No. 5 seed Haddonfield, 50-31, in the TOC quarterfinal round.
But none of the current players were on the 2007 team, so this is a new chapter for the current players to add to Red Bank Catholic’s postseason history.
“I’m excited that they have the opportunity to have this experience,” Montano said. “Every time we go out there, it is new. I don’t think they knew who we were playing until we got back from the press conference on Monday.”
Now, the only team the Caseys have to worry about is No. 2 seed Rancocas Valley, their opponent for Thursday’s 6 p.m. TOC semifinal game at the Pine Belt Arena.
Grace Fallon led the Caseys on Tuesday night with a game-high 13 points and Barazotti had 12 points. Alfano and Caroline Corcoran each finished with eight points. Red Bank Catholic had 14 points off fastbreaks, 19 points off turnovers, 26 points in the paint and 10 second-chance points while dominating Ocean City on Tuesday night.
Ocean City’s Julia Duggan scored six of her team-high 12 points in the first quarter and Mary Kate Mateer added five points.
Red Bank Catholic 45, Ocean City 23
Ocean City (23): Johnson 0 1-2 1, Mateer 2 1-2 5, Piergross 0 0-0 0, Landi 0 0-0 0, Duggan 6 0-0 12, Solazzo 1 0-0 3, Price 1 0-0 2, Briggs 0 0-0 0, Pfiefle 0 0-0 0, Schoenwald 0 0-0 0. Totals: 10 2-4 23.
Red Bank Catholic (45): Fallon 6 0-2 13, Corcoran 3 0-2 8, Barazotti 4 3-4 12, Caverly 1 0-0 2, Alfano 4 0-0 8, Balocco 1 0-0 2, Mills 0 0-0 0, Carroll 0 0-0 0, Lynch 0 0-0 0, McMenaman 0 0-0 0, Robinson 0 0-0 0, Daniels 0 0-0 0, Conroy 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 3-8 45.
3-point goals: (OC) Solazzo; (RBC) Fallon, Corcoran 2, Barazotti.