GIRLS BASKETBALL: Katelynn Flaherty transfers from Point Beach to Metuchen

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Katelynn Flaherty transfers from Point Beach to Metuchen

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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Katelynn Flaherty transfers from Point Beach to Metuchen

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Katelynn Flaherty, one of the best high school girls basketball players in the country who has already signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her career at the University of Michigan, transferred on Thursday to Metuchen.

The 5-foot-7 point guard left Point Pleasant Beach, where she averaged 30.3 points and 5.8 assists while leading the Garnett Gulls to an NJSIAA Group I title last year.

The previous season, Flaherty, who has scored 2,174 career points, played at Manasquan, where she and former teammate Marina Mabrey helped the school to a Tournament of Champions crown.

Mabrey, the Asbury Park Press’ reigning Girls Basketball Player of the Year, has transferred from Point Pleasant Beach back to Manasquan, according to Asbury Park Press sports writer Josh Newman and an MSG Varsity report.

Metuchen athletics director John Cathcart said Thursday night that Flaherty has enrolled at Metuchen and will be eligible to compete with the Bulldogs next week, perhaps as early as Wednesday. Because Flaherty transferred under a bonafide address change, she is not required to sit 30 days under NJSIAA rules.

Flaherty will complement senior Cassie Smith, a 1,000-point scorer who is averaging 31.5 points per game thus far for the Bulldogs (1-3), who won the Central Group I title in 2011-12 and finished 18-8 a year ago.

“Obviously she is going to be a great boost for us,” Cathcart said of Flaherty. “Teams are not going to be able to key on Cassie as much. She’s a great player. We are hoping that she does very well for us.”

Flaherty’s father, Tom, and his brother, Artie, are among the best boys basketball players in Metuchen history.

Tom helped lead the Bulldogs to a Middlesex County Tournament championship in 1971 before embarking on a stellar career at Seton Hall University. Tom later coached at Perth Amboy Tech, where he led the Patriots to the 1992-93 Tournament of Champions, a pinnacle of success that only two other Middlesex County schools (St. Joseph and Piscataway) have reached.

Artie, a 1985 Metuchen graduate, scored 2,052 career points, ranking fifth all-time in Middlesex County history. His sons – Artie, a junior, and Danny, a freshman, – currently play on Metuchen’s boys basketball squad.

“Their family is in Metuchen, so it’s exciting,” Cathcart said of Tom and Katelynn. “She is a great kid. The people of Point Pleasant Beach thought very highly of her. It (the transfer) was just a move they had to make as part of a family situation. She’ll do very well.”

Flaherty is a consensus Top 35 senior according to the four major national recruiting services. As a junior, she shot 93 percent from the foul line, averaged 5.4 rebounds and 3.9 steals per game.

With Flaherty and Mabrey, Point Pleasant Beach transformed itself from a 4-14 team to a 26-2 Tournament of Champions qualifier.

The combination of Smith, one of the best cagers in Metuchen history who can play all five positions, and Flaherty, who averaged 31 points in two games for Point Pleasant Beach (1-1) this season, makes the Bulldogs at the very least a sectional championship contender.

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