By Gabriella Sorrentino, Assistant Sports Editor
The basketball team completed its season with many achievements, including an overall record of 17-9, winning its division for the second year in a row and advancing to the second round of the Shore Conference tournament. Head coach Matthew McCarthy and assistant coach Robert O’Brien lead the varsity team with senior captains Colleen Kelly, Maggie Ward and Caitlin Wingertzahn, and junior captain Emma Bradley.
“A big accomplishment for our team this season was going 14-0 in our division for the first time ever,” Bradley said. “Last season, we won the division but fell one game short with an early loss to Point Pleasant Beach; to go undefeated was a huge accomplishment.”
Under the leadership of returning starters sophomore Haven Dora, Kelly, Ward and Wingertzahn, along with the addition of Bradley, the team proved to be fearless on the court, despite facing tough competition from Red Bank Catholic, Roselle Catholic, Rumson-Fair Haven, St. John Vianney and Trenton Catholic.
“Our coach prepared us for tournament play by scheduling really tough out-of-conference games,” Kelly said. “We went against state-ranked teams who other teams in our area didn’t want to play.”
In the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament, the Monarchs avenged an earlier loss to Freehold Township by beating them 42-38 before losing to fourth seed Red Bank Catholic in the second round.
On March 3, the team lost 63-40 to 10th seeded Gill St. Bernard’s in the first round of the South Jersey Non-Public B NJSIAA sectional tournament as the seventh seed. While this was the last official game for four of the seniors, Wingertzahn will continue her basketball career next year at the College of William and Mary.
“I actually went into high school thinking that I wasn’t going to play basketball because it wasn’t something I enjoyed anymore… but then Coach McCarthy came in my junior year, and he really showed me what it meant to care about the game and care about your teammates, and play every possession like it’s your last,” Wingertzahn said.
With five seniors, including three starters, graduating this year there will certainly be changes in next year’s lineup. “We lose five seniors but we return a nice core of underclassmen,” McCarthy said. “Plus, our JV Team had an excellent season, so hopefully we can keep taking steps forward next year.”
Wingertzahn was named to the Third Team All-Shore and was the player of the year for the B-Central division. In addition, McCarthy was named coach of the division, sophomore Haven Dora was selected for the First Team All-Division and Ward and Kelly were selected for the Second Team All-Division.
“I am so excited to see where the program goes in the coming years,” Kelly said. “I’m so lucky to call these girls my teammates, and I can’t wait to see what the underclassmen can accomplish in the future.”