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Chatham went down fighting in Group III final

TOMS RIVER _ Defensively, Chatham gave every ounce of energy it could. And, if a couple more shots had gone down on the offensive end, the Cougars might well have come home with a state championship. However, Mainland Regional was able to rally from a three-point deficit late in the third quarter, outscoring Chatham, 16-6, for the last 10 minutes of the game as the Mustangs took a 42-35 victory over the Cougars in the Group III girls basketball state championship game on Sunday, March 10 at the RWJ Barnabas Arena on the Toms River North High School campus.   Chatham,…

HP advances as Macaluso sets rebounding record

EAST HANOVER _ Hanover Park has moved on from a tight down-to-the-wire Morris County Tournament semifinal loss to Chatham. And now the Hornets are setting their sights on having another strong run in the state tournament. Senior forward Meghan Macaluso set a new school career girls basketball rebounding record on Monday, Feb. 25 as she helped second-seeded Hanover Park to a 58-34 victory over 15th-seeded Newark Central in a North Jersey Section 2, Group II first-round game.   The 5-foot-11 Macaluso, who also scored eight points and had four steals, grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds against the Blue Devils from…

Crimson claim MCT title on DeMattheis buzzer beater

RANDOLPH _ Christina DeMattheis put the ball up and time stood still, seemingly for eternity. Multiple thoughts raced through DeMattheis' head in the second or two it took the ball to travel 10 feet. Were the tears that formed in her eyes in anticipation of a miss or from the euphoria of netting the basket that would propel Morristown-Beard to its first Morris County Tournament title in any girls sport?  Twenty minutes later, DeMattheis, understandably, still didn't know and it didn't matter. She was elated by the Crimson's 34-33 victory over top-seeded and defending champion Chatham in the 2019 MCT…

Mo-Beard, Chatham to face off in MCT final

RANDOLPH _ The text from Gianna Rella had an emotional impact on each and every one of Morristown-Beard’s players. Rella, a senior, sent the encouraging words from a bed at Overlook Hospital, where she underwent an appendectomy five and a half hours before the Crimson’s first appearance in the Morris County Tournament semifinals on Friday, Feb. 15 at County College of Morris. Morristown-Beard's players read her text in their group chat right before taking to the floor for warmups. You've got this. I'll be there for the final. It was apparent that third-seeded Morristown-Beard, which will meet top-seeded and defending…

Macaluso powers Hornets in overtime

DENVILLE _ Meghan Macaluso was in the right place at the right time. And, because of it, she delivered the biggest clutch basket of her career for the Hanover Park Hornets at the most opportune moment of the game. Macaluso, a 5-foot-11 senior forward, made an opening for herself underneath on the left side and hit a layup with 1.1 seconds left in overtime to give fourth-seeded Hanover Park a 48-46 victory over fifth-seeded Randolph in a Morris County Girls Basketball Tournament quarterfinal on Saturday, Feb. 9 at Morris Knolls High School. "When I was a sophomore, I missed the front…

Morristown stuns No. 2 Crusaders

DENVILLE _ The team. The team. The team. Those six words are entrenched in the minds of the players on the Morristown girls basketball team. Each time the Colonials exit their home locker room, whether for practice or a game, they jump and tap a sign that bears those repetitive words. "We think about it a lot," said senior guard Nicole Ferrara, whose 3-pointers, along with Kolby Lynch's spirited play, helped Morristown rally in the third period en route to a 49-42 upset of second-seeded Morris Catholic in a Morris County Tournament quarterfinal on Saturday, Feb. 9. "We're playing for…

Crimson headed to MCT semis

DENVILLE _ Morristown-Beard's Gianna Rella accomplished things at a dizzying pace in the second quarter. Rella, a senior guard, tends to always go all out but this was an extra-intense effort. With the Crimson holding a six-point lead 1:37 into the period, the 5-foot-2 Rella, unguarded, went up - extraordinarily high - to take down a defensive rebound. Less than two minutes later, she made a steal. Not for one millisecond did Rella let up. The performance by Rella was representative of the entire Morristown-Beard team: Relentless and driven. Because of it, the third-seeded Crimson, who harbored unpleasant memories of…

Crusaders triumph in time of sorrow

DENVILLE _ Mimi Rubino, as always, tied back her hair and piled it high on her head when Morris Catholic clashed with Morris Hills in a Morris County Girls Basketball Tournament first-round game on Saturday, Feb. 2. Rubino, a junior guard, thought about one of her former coaches, Bob Caprio, several times that day, recalling the inside jokes they shared, in particular the one about her wavy brown hair, which falls almost to her waist when it's down. "Coach Caprio kept telling me he was going to take scissors and cut it all off," she said with a smile while…

Wax block seals win for Montville

MONTVILLE _ Emma Wax leaped high, timing perfect, arm upstretched, to deny Chatham a last-second 3-point attempt, one that would tie the game. Wax's effort capped Montville's 38-35 victory in an NJAC-American Division game on Thursday, Jan. 31 and indicated how she and her teammates felt: Let's end it here. No need for overtime. "Everyone was super pumped up because of what happened last time," said the Mustangs' Dani Campbell, a senior forward, referring to a 23-point loss to the Cougars 27 days earlier. "We've been thinking about it. We talked about it all day. We prepared for this a…

Gibbs has 1,000 reasons to smile

BOONTON _ Devin Gibbs was not in the best frame of mind when she and her Boonton teammates gathered in the team room at halftime during their game against David Brearley. Striving to reach a lofty achievement in her high school basketball career, Gibbs, a senior small forward, was feeling low. "I was freaking out at halftime," said Gibbs, who was nine points shy of 1,000 at the break after going 2 for 6 from the field and scoring only six in the opening half. "I was contemplating not wanting to go back in. I was in a dark state…