By Jim Hintelmann
RED BANK – It was mixed results for the Red Bank Catholic girls basketball team the past three days with RBC handing Jackson Memorial its first setback, 71-60 in overtime at the Battle of the Boardwalk Sunday but dropping a 52-49 decision to Neptune in a key B North Division contest Tuesday.
RBC appeared ready to win the Neptune game when it took a 42-39 lead with 5:40 left on a drive by Jackie Cajigal and a lay up from Morgan Arnott, the game’s high scorer with 26 points.
Neptune, the defending Shore Conference champion, came back with six points in a row, all of them from Iyonna Crenshaw, to go out in front, 45-42 with three minutes left.
“The kids stepped up to the challenge,” said Neptune coach John Brown, whose team (in a rebuilding year) lost to Rumson-Fair Haven Regional in the Battle of the Boardwalk.
“The kids know that they didn’t play their best basketball against Rumson,” said Brown. “This is a new role for most of these girls. The Rumson game was the big game for the girls and was a learning experience.”
RBC narrowed Neptune’s lead twice to a point at 45-44 and 47-46, the latter after a lay up by Mary Kate Caverly with 2:30 left.
Cydney Mooney, though, made a free throw and Nahja Carter added two more free throws for a 50-46 lead with 1:30 remaining.
Arnott narrowed the lead to 50-48 with two foul shots, but Crenshaw hit two free throws before Alex Alfano made one for RBC, leaving the score 52-49.
RBC had a chance to tie the game but Caroline Corcoran’s three-point attempt at the buzzer bounced away.
RBC seemed to be in control against Neptune in the fast half after rallying from an early 6-1 deficit to take a 13-12 lead at the end of the first quarter on a three-pointer by Corcoran.
There were several lead changes in the second quarter, but RBC moved out to a 26-21 lead with seven straight points on three pointers by Caverly and Corcoran and a free throw from Arnott.
Desiree Moss added a free throw for Neptune, but Arnott, who made 13 of 15 free throws in the game hit twice for a 28-22 halftime advantage.
RBC dropped in six three-pointers in the first half, but failed to convert any in the second half and that hurt its chances.
“They changed in the second half,” said Arnott. “When we went into our zone offense, they switched back to man-to-man. When we went to our man offense, they changed to zone.
“We should have gotten more rebounds,” she said. “We also should have drove to the basket more.”
“We had to have better communications in the second half,” said Brown in discussing RBC’s three-point shooting. “We weren’t switching on defense in the first half and they were getting open shots. We did a better job in the second half
“Right now we are in the driver’s seat in our division because RBC has to come to our place,” said Brown. “We are hard to beat there but there is still a long way to go in this division.”
In the Jackson Memorial game, RBC scored the first eight points of the overtime to put it away after Jackson’s Hannah Missry had tied the game with a minute left on a three-pointer.
Grace Fallon set the pace for RBC with 22 points while Arnott added 19, including seven in the overtime.
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