SJV-Monmouth an instant classic

first_img BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer Lancers hope for rematch with Golden Falcons BY DOUG McKENZIEStaff Writer PHOTOS BY CHRIS KELLY staff Above, St. John Vianney’s Shantel Brown takes a shot to the face while trying to drive past a Monmouth Regional defender during the Lancers’ loss to the Golden Falcons in Tinton Falls on Saturday. At left, Courtney Calderon shoots over the Monmouth defense. Saturday’s match-up between St. John Vianney and host Monmouth Regional had all the hype of a heavyweight championship prize fight. In one corner, the top-ranked Lancers, led by one of the top playmakers in the state is point guard Shantel Brown. The Lady Lancers entered the game at 9-4, but an impressive 9-4 when you consider the quality opponents they’ve faced. With players like junior forward Courtney Calderon, junior forward Kristine Perez, and experienced seniors like Kat Gooch and Colleen Light, as well as some talented underclassmen in sophomore Alisa Apo and Jessica Nimbley, it was easy to see why the Lancers are considered the team to beat in the Shore Conference. And in the other corner, the underdog Golden Falcons — the second-ranked team in the Shore, but a squad still reeling from an upset loss to a good Colts Neck team two days earlier. The Golden Falcons may have been caught looking ahead a bit last Thursday, and the Cougars took full advantage, executing a strong defensive game plan to top the athletic Monmouth team, 32-29. Colts Neck held Monmouth scoreless in the third quarter of that game, and shut out Monmouth’s top player Kristen Dalton, leading many to predict a similar outcome on Saturday when the defensively savvy Lancers strode into the Falcons’ Tinton Falls gym. Needless to say, Monmouth was ready for them. The Falcons posted what is being called the biggest victory in the program’s history, knocking off the Lancers, 59-55, behind Dalton’s 16 points and eight rebounds. It wasn’t easy, as Brown’s fifth 3-pointer of the game just beat the fourth-quarter buzzer to force overtime. But in the extra session it was all Monmouth, as the Golden Falcons outscored the Lancers 8-4 to get to 13-2 on the season. Vianney was led by Brown’s 23 points — a heroic effort from the senior as she seemingly carried the team on her back for much of the game. However, in the extra session it was clear that the Falcons were the fresher team, and the final result reflected that. Monmouth Regional was looking forward to this game all season as a chance to prove itself the equal of the top team in the Shore, and one of the most respected programs in the state. As for St. John Vianney, it was yet another game against another good team looking to make a point in beating the Lancers. Surely they were disappointed with the loss, as any great competitor would be. But the Lancers have been down this road before, and know that there are plenty of big games to come over the next few weeks. They’ll have plenty of shots at redemption. These two teams may very well meet again in a couple of weeks in the Shore Conference Tournament, where they seem destined to be the top two seeds. If they do meet again, expect another classic.last_img

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