Senior Jackie Gallagher and sophomore Kelly Campbell exploded for 19 combined points in a huge third-quarter run that led St. John Vianney to the NJSIAA Non-Public South A title with a 58-47 victory over Gloucester Catholic on Wednesday night at Jackson Liberty High School. The second-seeded Lancers held just a three-point lead heading into halftime, before coach Dawn Karpell watched her team go on a 16-4 run halfway through the third quarter.
The drive-and-kick was working to perfection in the third quarter for the Lancers, as Campbell was able to get to the rim en route to finishing with a team-high 20 points. Gallagher also benefited from the open looks from behind the arc, hitting four big 3-point field goals in the third.
“Unfortunately as a coach, I think that I just kind of expect it,” Karpell said of Gallagher’s shooting from 3-point range. “She played like a senior tonight. Last time she was here as a sophomore and we lost to St. Rose, and tonight I knew she would not be denied.”
It wasn’t smooth sailing after their big third-quarter run for the Lancers though, as the fifth-seeded Lady Rams showed their resiliency in the fourth quarter. The Lancers took an 18-point lead into the fourth, but the Rams went on a 15-0 run, cutting the lead to just two points late in the fourth quarter.
“We kind of knew they were going to come out with a run after we went up big in the third quarter,” Campbell said.
With the game on line and the Lancers in desperate need of a bucket, Campbell attacked the rim and finished with her left, giving St. John Vianney a four-point lead it never surrendered.
“We needed just to have one big possession on offense,” Karpell said. “Kelly stepped up, it was a big timely shot that we really needed.”
Freshman Kimi Evans had a big game in the post for the Lancers after senior Katie Beriont was unable to play because of a knee injury sustained in their last game. According to Karpell, the team will know more about the injury on Friday. Evans was big on the glass for the Lancers and finished with 15 points.
“She played so poised tonight,” Karpell said. “Maybe she’s a freshman and didn’t know any better, but you know what, we’ll take it.”
Mary Gedaka was huge all night for Gloucster Catholic. She finished with a game-high 27 points. Gloucester Catholic head coach Lisa Gedaka said she was happy with the way her team played in the first half, but that it was the turnovers that hurt it in the third quarter.
“I’m not sure (the Lancers) did anything differently in that third quarter, I thought we did a great job of handling their pressure in the first half,” Lisa Gedaka said. “We knew they were going to make a run and in the third quarter we had some untimely turnovers and they hit some big shots from the outside.”
St. John Vianney will play Immaculate Heart Academy in the Non-Public A final at Pine Belt Arena on Saturday at 2 p.m.
St. John Vianney (58): Gallagher 5 4-4 19, Uribe 0 2-5 2, Campbell 6 8-12 20, Caponegro 0 0-0 0, Pero 1 0-0 2, Evans 7 1-4 15. Totals 19 15-25 58
Gloucester Catholic (47): Pund 1 1-2 4, Lyons 2 0-0 5, Thomson 1 1-2 3, Gedaka 10 7-10 17, McIntrye 3 0-0 8. Totals 17 9-14 47.
3-point goals: (SJV) Gallagher 5; (GC) McIntrye 2, Pund, Lyons; Records: SJ Vianney (24-4); Gloucester Catholic (26-4).