There is no Division more up for grabs this year than CLASS “A SOUTH“. The best player in the conference has moved on to college. Legendary coach John Truhan has done the same. But its the injuries that has made “A SOUTH” a free for all. Gabby Davis the 6’0″ dominating post player from Southern unexpectedly has called it a wrap. Superstar freshman from a year ago Brielle Bisogno is out for the year. Her running mate, Jenna Paul has been out all fall with a injury as well. She missed the first week of practice. Central has everyone back, except their best player Sam Wilber who is out with injury. What do all these players have in common other than injuries? All were expected to be First Team All Division this coming season. It going to be a real dog fight to win CLASS “A” South. Nobody is the clear favorite by any stretch of the imagination. Anyone outside Brick can win this thing.. This is the first time in a very long time that B SOUTH just may be the stronger Division.
Overall Record– 13-14
The favorite to start the year will no doubt come a surprise to everyone. BRICK MEMORIAL returns the core of their team. They also have one important ingredient returning and that is scoring. Brick Memorial can score the ball and have different players who capable of exploding. They also start the season as one of the few healthy teams. Brick being the Pre-Season favorite may catch a lot of people off guard. Last year this team was up and down all season. But on further review what do you notice? They beat TRN the only team in the Division to beat Southern last year. They Beat Donavan Catholic and they best TRS. Now the question is can Brick play consistence for a season.
There is not bigger question facing this team than the lost of their best player Sam Bialoblocki who graduated. With her walked out 16 points a game and bucket full of rebounds. Now the question is not who is replacing the first Team All Division player’s, scoring. But rather her leadership and status as the go to player. It won’t be easy on both fronts.
Scoring is not going to be issue for this team. In fact no team in A SOUTH has so many different type scorers. On any night up to three players can carry this team on their back. This is a talented group who could end up in the Top 10 before the season is over.
Sr. Emily Dominquez is knocking on star status as last year she put up 8.1 points a game and just as importantly 5 rebounds a game. She has proven she is not against having monster nights as in the 19 points and 13 rebounds against Top 10 Donavan Catholic. There is no question her stats will grow this season. She is very capable at times of carrying the team.
Jr. Cassandra Ball is another player that is very capable of taking over a game. She had 4 double/doubles last season. She had a monster 20/10 night against Tom River North last season on the road. She averaged 10.7 and 6 rebounds a night. She too is knocking on the door of stardom.
Soph. Cierra Spitale was a very valuable player for Brick last year. She was sneaky scorer and defender. This year they are expecting the same from the talented baby. She proved on she was not afraid to be throw into the fire. She had 7 points off the bench last season against Central and look for her 3.4 scoring average to increase.
Sr. Lindsay Hernandez will continue her role as player maker and jock of all trades. She had big nights distributing the ball last session and some big rebounding nights. She had nights with as many as 7 assists and 9 rebounds. She will continue to do the dirty work and not get much credit doing so. She could be their most important player at the end of the day
Sr. Michaella Merklin saw action in every game last season. She will be expected to be ready when called upon at any point. She is a senior and will play her whatever role is asked of her.
Megan Covert and Ella Martz also will be expect to be ready when called upon. These two role players will be very important to this teams chemistry. They be called on to give them energy and defense. Two things this team must have this season, if they want to get over the hump. Megan and Ella will have to help in this department. It’s a thankless job, but could hold the key to the season.
Jr. Shaunna Bruker is not a household name in the Shore, but folks get ready. That is changing. Because as just a sophomore is averaged a double/double last season as in 12 points and 10 rebounds a night. She is one of the most explosive scorers in the division. But what makes her special is that she can get points in any fashion. You want three’s you got it, you want pull up jumpers? You got it. You want next level hard drives to the rim? You got it. She is the compete offensive package in every way. Shaunna Bruker is on her way to Superstar status, we forget how she has done all this in just two years. Why do I bring this up. She doubled her scoring average in just a year and tripled her rebound stats as well. This is real improvement and next level stuff. Shaunna Brunker just may be the best player in the conference by years in end.
NO IMPACT FRESHMAN….
This team has fire power that many Top 20 teams in the state do not have. They play lighting fast and lack size. Most are two sport athletes and not hard core basketball players But what do you also know about this team? These two sport type players are in most cases great defensive players. But in this group is not a defensive minded group and if they want to get to the next level, they must find a way to stop teams. This is a team that scored in the 50s and even 60s and some how lost games, last year. They will need to get better in this area. What else do you notice? Lindsay Hernandez led the team in assist by a wide margin and after her nobody averaged over two a game. That is a serious issue for any good team. Will the chemistry be there and can this group show up game in and game out?
This team has officially been taken off the sleeper list as a team and as the favorite, teams will be ready for them. They are going to continue to play super fast and out score teams. They have caught a great break with injuries affecting some of the other Top Contenders. I think this group will find a way to defend better and become a team, not just a bunch of scorers. I also expect the role players to see the big picture and help this team get on a roll. Coach Tom Lecourchick is highly respected and underrated as a coach, that few know about. This could be his year…ALL THAT CHANGES!
The injuries this year have brought most of the teams in play this year for the Division title.
Overall Record–23-7 (State Tournament Appearance)
This too will come as surprise to most. But TOMS RIVER SOUTH just may surprise everyone. They have the core of their team back. They made it to the State Tournament and last year had some gutty wins and heart breaking losses. This group just may want more this year. They will have a real chance due to the perfect balance of upper-classmen and underclassmen who have played real minutes in big games.
Missing Nina Shirey and Kelly Porter will no doubt hurt. But losing there combine 13 points and 8 rebounds a game will hurt even more. These are two players who were rock solid and somebody will need to step into their shoes…GOOD LUCK!
Sr. Danielle Ferreri was not only rock solid last season but she also delivered the goods as the season moved along. Ferreri had 9 double figure scoring games last season. She also has been in the wars as a varsity player for 4 years.The 6ft forward average 6 points a game last year and everyone expects that number to rise. She uses her height wisely and will be looking to close out her senior year in grand fashion.
Sr. Maria Gregorio is a name we all will be getting to know better. How many points did she average last season? How about just under ten points at 9.4 pg. Well look what she did to close last season. It was All Division type numbers. She averaged double figures from February to the end of the season, with as many as 18 points. Maria will be looking to build on last season. Folks this young lady could blow up right in front of our eyes, if she is anything like last season. Does 10 points and 6 rebound against Top 10 Middletown South convince you?
Jr. Jess Morgado is sneaky good. She like so many players on this team was rock solid. She not just played in every game. But she scored in every game. Every night it was 4 points…7 points.. 2 steals. She just killed teams with consistence quality play all season. She is the classic team player and this year look for her to do even more. Time to start respecting this young lady more.
Fr. Hannah Wagner was a pleasant surprise last season. The freshman was solid as a rock all season. This year no doubt TRS will be expecting her to take it up to another level with a year under her belt. She saw a lot of minutes on a good team last season.
Soph. Catlin Carroll played in every game last year. This will give TRS another player who is seasoned to call upon during the season
Brittany Harding and Octivia Garland and will be role players again this season. They will be searching for more minutes and ways to help the team.
No Impact Freshman…
Jr. EMILY DONZATI was solid most of last season and then a bell went off in head. It was then she stepped her game up to a new level. Like 10 double figure scoring games. Like going for 14 points and 5 rebounds against the #5 team in the entire state loaded with D1 players Rumson. Then going for 12 points and 4 rebounds against Top 2o Middletown South. Need I go on any further. Donzati averaged 8.6 points a game as a sophomore and 3 assists a game and 3 rebounds a game. Folks do you see what’s coming your way? Well you better because this young lady is going to a have a monster season this year. Better learn her name NOW!
Overall Record– 19-8 (State Tournament)
Conference-13-1 (A South Champions)
With Bianca Nicolini now off doing work at College New Jersey and Shauna McHale off to college as well. Many thought Southern could be beatable. They only lost one game last year in conference and that was to TRN and their two superstar freshman. But when Gabby Davis shocked everyone by giving up basketball, Southern did not become just beatable. They no longer where the favorite. It may appear Southern is in deep trouble. But on a second look, be very careful and here is why. Colleen Brady and Mykayla Nicolini look nothing like the players from a year ago. They are bigger, stronger and more confident. Would you like to know why. Development, both took major steps forward this summer. How big you ask? Both juniors are now in the D1 discussion, you think it’s hype? Folks just wait till you see both in action. Both will not only be double figure scorers this season. But will be excellent rebounders and defenders. Now throw in Anna Spaschak with her deadly shooting and the seasoned Laure Cruse, who is a mega talented baby and guess what? You have a real sleeper team. Southern has a enough pieces without Davis to again win the division.
NO IMPACT FRESHMAN…
Overall Record-18-9 (State Tournament)
When last year ended. Many believed that TOM RIVER NORTH would be the favorite going into the 2016-17 season. They had 2 of the Five best freshman in the state, who put up insane numbers. Both were future D1 locks and All Shore players. They had the talented Amanda Johnson who took was knocking on stardom herself. Then they had the most underrated player in Ocean Country the ALL DIVISION FIRST TEAM scoring machine Ashley Tutzuer, who was there best player. But things went wrong as in real wrong before we got to this years first practice. First Brielle Bisogno and her 13 points and bucket of dimes, not to mention her next level defense said goodbye with a ACL injury. There is no replacing Bisogno who may be the most talented player in two decades at the school. Then Jenna Paul and her 14 points and 10 rebounds said goodbye for the entire fall. She is expected back but losing an entire fall? How long will it take her to get back 100%?. She miss the first week of practice. TRN not only can be a spoiler but if they can put it all back together…they can still win the conference.
Toms River East gave us all the ride of a lifetime in the State Tournament before losing in the finals. They have lost too many pieces. Katelyn Lister was a superstar and you cannot replace her…Younger Sister Karmyn Lister has star written all over her.
Brick is in a serious rebuilding MODE
Central Reg. has everyone back, but lost a Hall of Fame coach in John Turhan and Sam Wilber their best player is out with a injury.
JACKSON MEMORIAL and Rachel Goodale is moving slowly back to elite status and stocking good young talent. Danni Evans will prove last year was just the start and Freshman Bianca Giordano decided to stay in town. Now think if Kimi Evan and Tia Monatagne were around…interesting to say the least.
2016-17 PRE SEASON AWARDS
COACH OF THE YEAR–Coach Tom Lecourchick – Brick Memorial
PLAYER OF THE YEAR– Emily Donzanti– Toms River South
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR– Bianca Giordanio– Jackson Memorial
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR– Colleen Brady– Southern
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER– Mykayla Nicolini– Southern
2016-17 PRE- SEASON FIRST TEAM ALL CONFERENCE
EMILY DONZANTI-JR-TOMS RIVER SOUTH
SHAUNNA BRUKER-JR- BRICK MEMORIAL
COLLEEN BRADY-JR-SOUTHERN HIGH SCHOOL
ASHYLEY TURZUER-SR- TOMS RIVER NORTH
JENNA PAUL-SOPHMORE– TOMS RIVER NORTH
There spots available for the Holiday Clinic Dec 26th- 30th..click the link below.