Since St. John Vianney lost Kat Egan for the season on Jan. 3 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and partially torn meniscus in her right knee, the Iona recruit’s classmate and friend, Lyndsay Rowe, has admittedly struggled while the Lancers looked to right the ship.
Losers of five of their last eight and 3-3 without Egan entering a huge nondivisional matchup with Point Boro on Saturday afternoon, Rowe finally answered the call at a time when the Lancers simply had to have it.
Rowe, bound for Wagner College in the fall, scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, tallied all 18 after halftime and the Lancers (9-5), ranked No. 3 in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, hit their free throws late to outlast No. 1 and previously unbeaten Point Boro (12-1), 51-42, in the marquee attraction of the three-game Boardwalk Hoop Group Showcase on Saturday afternoon at Rumson-Fair Haven.
“I think that being she’s one of my best friends and that I’ve played with her since freshman year, I might have taken it the hardest,” Rowe said of Egan’s injury. “It definitely affected my game for a while, but you get yourself together and you get it out of your system. I think as a team, we pulled it together in the fourth quarter.”
With the Lancers trailing most of the way, including 29-23 heading to the fourth quarter, they ripped off a 12-0 to take control for good. In that run, a jumper and two free throws from Kelly Campbell were wrapped around 10 straight points from Rowe to give St. John Vianney the momentum and a 35-29 lead.
The Lancers went 16-for-18 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, including 12-for-12 to close the game. St. John Vianney’s defense held high-scoring Panthers senior guard Kelly Hughes to a team-high 16 points and 6-for-19 shooting from the floor. Hughes is now 26 points shy of Point Boro’s career scoring mark of 2,190 held by U.S. women’s national soccer team star Christie Rampone (formerly Christie Pearce). When the Panthers host Jackson Liberty on Tuesday evening, Rampone is expected to be there for Hughes’ first realistic shot at the mark.
RED BANK CATHOLIC 67, JACKSON MEMORIAL 31: Senior guard Alex Alfano scored nine of her game-high 21 points in the first quarter, all of it coming on 3-pointers, as the No. 2 Caseys (13-0) blitzed the Jaguars (11-3) with a 24-0 run spanning the first and second quarters to take a 32-5 lead.
Normally a solid jump-shooting team, Red Bank Catholic went 6-for-8 from 3-point range in the opening quarter. During the 24-0 run, Alfano and senior guard Caroline Corcoran, each scored six points.
Corcoran shot 2-for-3 from 3-point range and finished with 13 points for the Caseys, who shot 62 percent from deep in the first half and 48 percent for the game.
RBC continued its best start since the 2002-03 season. That season, RBC began the season 25-0 before falling in the sectional final to longtime rival St. John Vianney in the NJSIAA Parochial South A final.
Aside from the offensive fireworks, the Caseys did an excellent job of locking up Jaguars shooting guard Hannah Missry. The Shore Conference’s fourth-leading scorer and a Fordham recruit, was held to 2-for-6 shooting, including 0-for-5 from 3-point range, in the first half on her way to nine points.
Missry, also among the top 3-point shooters in the area, finished just 1-for-11 from 3-point range, while fellow-senior guard and Rider recruit Stephanie Mason was 0-for-12 from deep.
RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN 52, HOLY SPIRIT 36: After falling behind by as many as four points early in the first quarter, sophomore point forward Grace Stant and senior guard Hannah Miller spearheaded a 9-0 run that gave the No. 9 Bulldogs (10-4) the lead and control for good against the Spartans (8-2).
With Rumson in control after the early run, it continued to apply pressure in the second quarter when Miller tallied seven of her game-high 17 points
Holy Spirit (8-2), whose only other loss is at undefeated Group IV contender Phillipsburg, was paced by 16 points from senior forward Gina Lewis. Rumson held the Spartans to just 16-for-47 shooting for the game.