Caseys bounce Blue Eagles, 60-45, for title

RBC receives first-round bye, will play in TOC semifinal on Saturday

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JACKIE POLLACK
Jessica DePalo of Red Bank Catholic grabs one of her 16 rebounds over Immaculate Heart Academy’s Martina Williams in the NJSIAA Parochial A championship game on Saturday at the Dunn Center in Elizabeth.

 

LINDSEY SIEGLE

The Hub

ELIZABETH — The Red Bank Catholic girls basketball team started their game against Immaculate Heart Academy, Westwood, with shooting woes, but they were certainly ready to rebound at the Dunn Center in Elizabeth.

Read that Jessica DePalo was ready to rebound. The junior center grabbed 16 boards that helped her score 21 points and lead the Caseys to a 60-45 victory and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Parochial A championship.

"Jessie’s the hardest working kid I’ve ever coached," RBC Coach Joe Montano said. "She’s the first kid at practice and the last kid to leave. She just continues to work. She’s going to get offensive boards. She’s a great kid and she deserves everything that she gets. It’s nice that she gets that reward (championship game most valuable player); she deserves it."

DePalo may have been the most valuable player, but the Caseys’ strength as a team was what gave RBC the win against the Blue Eagles.

Early in the season the Caseys had the habit of getting off to a slow start. They were back at it again on Saturday.

The Caseys didn’t score their first field goal against Immaculate Heart Academy of Westwood until there was just 1:37 remaining in the first quarter.

The Blue Eagles scored the game’s first four points before some trips to the line cut their edge to 4-3.

Alisa Kresge found Brooke Tomovich for the basket that put the Caseys ahead 5-4; it was a lead they would not relinquish.

Tomovich’s basket came in the middle of a 10-0 run the Caseys put together to end the first period.

Kresge, a freshman, found Janine Cappadona for a three with 55 seconds left in the first and Tara McCaig finished the scoring in the period when she took a pass from the freshman in the post and converted the layup.

Cappadona and Kresge came off the bench to help get the RBC offense started.

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JACKIE POLLACK
Brooke Tomovich of Red Bank Catholic gets off a shot despite the best efforts of Immaculate Heart Academy’s Allison Hoerner at the Dunn Center on Saturday.

"She does that," Montano said of Kresge. "Janine does that too. That was a big three by Janine; you know she’s going to miss some, but we want Janine to shoot the ball. Those two come off the bench, they get us going, they give us that boost."

And that boost was all the Caseys needed.

A 10-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter grew to 25-16 margin at the half as DePalo scored nine of her points and grabbed four rebounds to give her double digits for both (11 points 10 rebounds) for the first half.

Lynne Zoltowski scored the first basket of the second half to give RBC a double-digit lead and after Allison Hoerner scored the first basket of the second half for the Blue Eagles, DePalo scored six points in a 12-point run that gave RBC a 39-18 advantage.

Zoltowski (on a feed from Kelli Talbot) and Brooke Tomovich (from Erin Cusmano) hit threes for the other Casey baskets in the run.

The Blue Angels, who did have some success with their press, never got closer than 12 (54-42) in the fourth quarter.

"They had to do something," Montano noted. "They trapped us a little bit. They came in their man and did a little run-and-jump and they were prepared to get back in the ball game. They did a good job, they picked up some steals."

That effort was not enough as DePalo contributed six more points and the Caseys continued their solid work on the boards and on defense.

The final margin was set when Lindsey Woodfield hit a pair of free throws with 33 seconds left.

Notes…

Brooke Tomovich turned her right ankle grabbing a rebound late in the game. It was the same ankle she injured earlier in the year, but she walked off the court and is expected to be ready for the Caseys’ semifinal matchup on Saturday back at the Dunn Center against either Willingboro or Wildwood who played Wednesday in the first round of the Tournament of Champions.