Everyone in the gym knew Manasquan’s Marina Mabrey was going to have the ball for the final play. Manasquan coach Lisa Kukoda almost called timeout because the play wasn’t developing the way she wanted.
Kukoda changed her mind on the timeout and her players instinctively put something together Tuesday night at Brick Memorial High School that they will never forget.
Mabrey lost the ball driving to the basket but her teammate Courtney Hagaman scooped up the loose ball and made a shot that just beat the overtime buzzer as the No. 5 seed Manasquan girls basketball team upset No. 1 seed St. John Vianney, 63-61, in overtime.
“We were looking to run Marina (Mabrey) off a screen and in the heat of the moment we didn’t quite get that. We’ll definitely make sure we are working on that,” Kukoda said. “I was getting prepared to call a timeout and I’m very happy I didn’t. I figured with the last shot it is only going to end with us going to double overtime or with a win for us.”
Kukoda got the latter via a little luck of the rolling basketball.
Hagaman, who was positioned near the baseline of the left side of the rim, picked up the rolling basketball and took a dribble away from the basket and put up a shot that rolled in as the buzzer sounded.
“At the end we were going for the drive and obviously if it wasn’t going in we had to crash the boards. I guess I was just in the right spot at the right time,” Hagaman said. “When I got the ball, I didn’t know what else to do.”
She picked the right thing to do and that was to shoot it near the basket. Hagaman scored all six of Manasquan’s overtime points including her first game-winning shot of the season. She started the overtime scoring with a layup with 3:31 left that gave Manasquan a brief 59-57 lead. She then made two free throws with 2:25 left in overtime that once again gave Manasquan a temporary 61-59 lead. Her best performance came with one second left in overtime when she said she had no idea how close she was to the rim.
“I kind of just turned and put it up. There was really no explanation on how I did it,” Hagaman said. “It just happened.”
Hagaman came alive for the Warriors (19-5) in the second half and in overtime. She had five points in the second half and six in overtime and finished with 11 points and shot 5-for-6 from the foul line.
She vaulted No. 5 seed Manasquan into Saturday’s 1 p.m. SCT final at Monmouth University against No. 2 seed St. Rose, which defeated No. 3 seed Rumson-Fair Haven 56-40 in the other SCT semifinal on Tuesday night.
Mabrey scored 14 of her team’s 18 fourth-quarter points, including a layup with 30.8 seconds left that eventually forced overtime with the game tied 57-57 after regulation. Mabrey finished with a game-high 24 points while Sam Sullivan added 14 points and Stella Clark registered 10 points.
St. John Vianney (21-4) led 41-39 entering the fourth quarter and the Lancers’ Jackie Gallagher scored 10 of her team’s 16 fourth-quarter points. Gallagher finished with 13 points while Kelly Campbell led the team with 15 points and Katie Beriont added 14 points.
“She’s such a good shooter and she knows that kids are going to run out on her,” said St. John Vianney coach Dawn Karpell of Gallagher’s performance. “I thought she made the right reads, she took great pull ups and we got the ball to her. She really played like a senior should play on the basketball court.”
The Lancers rallied to tie the game twice in overtime and both times Campbell made the play. Her layup with 3:17 left in overtime tied the game at 59-59 and her layup with 55 seconds left tied the game at 61-61. Campbell scored St. John Vianney’s four points in overtime and she scored seven of her 15 points in the second half.