Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School’s girls’ basketball team is off to a 2-0 start as the young Caseys look to contend for the NJSIAA Non-Public A title.
A year ago, RBC went 22-6 and made its way to the Non-Public A semifinals before falling to St. John Vianney High School. The good news for the Caseys is that only standout guard Alex Barazotti was lost to graduation.
“Last year, we accomplished quite a bit starting two sophomores and two freshmen,” Caseys coach Joe Montano said. “They played some tough games and gained the experience that they needed. That will make a difference for us.”
While RBC downed both Paul VI High School and Notre Dame High School in the state sectional, the Caseys were upset by Freehold Township High School in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament.
Montano’s team got some measure of revenge this year when RBC bested Freehold Township, 63-28, in the WOBM Christmas Classic Dec. 20 in Toms River, as Hayley Moore led the way with 11 points and Maureen Coakley added nine points. The Caseys opened the campaign Dec. 18 with a dominant 70-11 win over Ocean Township High School. Montano got all of his players into the game.
Coakley averaged 9.5 points and just fewer than eight rebounds a year ago. The 5-foot-11 junior center gives RBC a strong presence in the paint. The Caseys will also depend on guard Josie Larkins for scoring. The junior is RBC’s best all-around offensive player and is able to drive to the hoop or connect from 3-point range as required by the situation.
Also back is sophomore guard Rose Caverly, who did a superb job running the point as a freshman. Montano reports that Caverly has looked stronger and quicker in the early going. Two other sophomores are likely to start as well: forward Katie Rice and guard Hayley Moore. At 5 feet 11 inches tall, Rice is another factor under the basket, while Moore, who also scored 11 points in the Ocean Township win, is a threat from the perimeter. “We have a talented group of girls, but the question for me is can we score enough points against good teams and can we hit the big shots?” the Caseys coach said. “Our defense is going to be good, but I want more offense.”
Off the bench, Montano can call on cocaptain Caitlin Carroll, a 5-foot-7 guard/forward who can score; hard-working 5-foot-8 senior forward Gillian Hansen, who is a solid defender; and sophomore guard Amanda Hart, who is another good outside shooter.
In addition, the Caseys will have both Jennifer Bagnell and Tia Montagne in the lineup. Both girls missed the bulk of the 2014-15 season with injuries. Bagnell, a cocaptain, is a 5-foot-8 forward with grit, and Montagne is a junior shooting guard who started as a freshman. Montano said he plans to bring them along slowly, but both will have significant roles.
RBC was scheduled to meet Wall High School at home Dec. 21 and to visit Red Bank Regional High School Dec. 22. The Caseys will meet Manchester Township High School Dec. 26 in the second round of the WOBM Christmas Classic.