By Jim Hintelmann
COLTS NECK – An otherwise highly successful girls basketball season for Red Bank Regional (20-7) came to a disappointing finish Saturday when the Bucs dropped a 43-34 decision to a talented Colts Neck squad in an NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 semifinal game. But coach John Truhan, who had successful careers at Central Regional and Toms River South before stepping down at Colts Neck in 2009, was still pleased with the season.
“If someone had told me before the season that we would win 20 games and reach the semifinals back-to-back for the first time since 1996, I would have taken that,” said Truhan, who won a state championship while at Toms River South and had 324 coaching wins before this season. “We have a very young team that will be back and may be even stronger next year.”
This was the third meeting between the two teams his year with the Cougars winning the first two games, 34-27 and 54-37.
Unfortunately for top-seeded Colts Neck (21-8), the Cougars’ hopes for their first sectional title since 2014 ended when they were upset by Westhampton Tech, 55-44, Monday in the CJ Group 4 finals.
Saturday’s game was a defensive struggle, but Colts Neck broke a 25-25 tie in the third quarter with eight straight points, six of them by high scorer Camryn Foltz (17 points) to grab a 33-25 lead.
Red Bank senior Meghan Murray, who was playing with the flu and scored only five points, broke the streak with a layup, but the Bucs could not get closer. Murray finished her four-year varsity basketball career at Red Bank Regional with 1,061 points.
“She wasn’t herself today,” said Truhan. “She’s been sick the past few days. Meghan has been a great player for us.”
Despite the loss to Westhampton Tech, Colts Neck also had a solid season.
“Foltz has been our leading scorer,” said Colts Neck coach Jim Jannarone, “but Jessica Thesing has been a tremendous defender on the ball this year, Teresa Marsh has been a great 3-point shooter for us and the Gibson sisters, Eva and Catherine, have been outstanding all year long.
“Defense has been our staple all season,” he said. “We can get out and defend. Sometimes we make shots and sometimes we don’t, but our defense has been consistent all season long. We also had good depth.
“Red Bank missed Murray,” he admitted. “She is a tremendous athlete and competitor, and played well considering what she has been through.”
This article was first published in the March 7-March 13, 2019 print edition of The Two River Times.
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