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Class “B” CENTRAL again will be a one horse race. St. Rose High School has not lost a divisional game in years. This year that will not change as St. Rose again will not play a competitive game in the division all season. St. Rose has a D1 player in every position and there players off the bench would be the 2nd best team in the division. Coach Joe Whalen has put serious pressure on every program in the state, trying to win a SCT or TOC. He is relentless in pushing his kids to develop every aspect of their games. On game night….every opposing coach feels him during game.  He is a master at making in game adjustments and never over coaches his team. Coach Joe Whalen has built the Roman Empire and a lot of people are worried it may not be enough for him.

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St Rose is a powerhouse and the most complete team on and off the court in the Shore Conference. The have elite shooters, elite post players, elite wings, elite points guards and elite work ethics. They have an elite bench and most importantly a very special coach in Joe Whalen. There are zero weakness on this team. They are a group that trains and plays together year round. They won the Battle of Maryland, last summer and have 8 D1 players on they roster, 6 that have committed to Division one schools already. They have one of the top freshman in the state. They are ranked #11 nationally and will start the year #1 or #2 in the state and the Shore Conference. This team has the potential to run the table this season in and out of conference

2015-16 Record

Overall Record 25-10 (lost in SJ Non-Public B Final)

Conference-14-0-(B Central Champions)


They lost no major impact players. Every player in last year’s rotation is back. But Kayla Dillinger was a program kid and those kids are always missed.



Sr. Jen Louro is one of the two senior captains that will be expected to lead the Purple Roses. Jen Louro is a classic program kid, she started out as a role player and now has become a full blow star. She will attend U- Mass Lowell next fall and have a impact from day one. But for now she will try and put the finishing touches on one of the most successful careers in shore history. She is a next level defender and has the ability to guard high powered elite scorers and ball handlers. She just may have the quickest release in the shore conference. Her corner shooting ability is back breaking at times. She is unselfish and is not a box score junkie. Her value can not be understood looking at a box score. She will make a run at All State this season.

Sr. Ellyn Stoll will also serve as a captain for Joe Whalen’s team. She has been in the wars over the years. Stoll will attend NJIT in the fall. They too will be getting a impact player. But what they don’t know is that Stoll is a two way elite player. She not only can defend, but she can score against elite competition. She at times is almost forgotten by the media and shore fans. Last season it was she that put St. Rose on her back and nearly carried them to a upset victory over SJV. Her 21 point, 5 rebound and 5 assists was barely mentioned after the game. So is the life of Ellyn Stoll the past 3 years. She averaged 10.3 points a game, 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 dimes a game. How can a kid put on these numbers and not be a household name? Well that is going to change this year.

Sr. Alex Pendergrass is the most athletic player in the shore. No player has her natural leaping ability, speed, quickness and strength….NOBODY.  She gave Manhattan College a verbal commitment this fall. She was an elite high jumper and many believed that track would be her choice of sport in college. But Pendergrass decided basketball would be her full time sport. Something she has never done in the past. Now that Pendergrass is locked into basketball, the sky is the limit. When she was injured in the middle of last season everyone forgot she was one of the best rebounders in the state. More over her injury may have cause St. Rose a SCT and TOC title. Against the 4 ranked teams on the St. Rose schedule she averaged over 11 rebounds a game, including a high of 17 against Lenape. Having her back this season is a major addition to an already stack roster.

Jr. Mikayla Markham has been the point guard for St. Rose since the day she stepped foot in the Belmar school. She gave a verbal commitment to Columbia University, putting a end to what would have surely been a recruiting war. Markham is the classic scoring point guard. Her ability to sit behind screens and shoot is off the charts. She is a proven ball handler who runs her team and gets them in sets. She is masterful at finishing in the lane. Now throw in her ability to defend and you have a very special player. There is no question she is one of the best junior point guards in the state of New Jersey. Mikayla’s relationship with coach Whalen is special and the two work together as one. She and the St. Rose post players are like peanut butter and jelly, they go together perfectly. But what really makes Markham special is that she can close games.

Jr. Ariana Dalia is a unknown to just about everyone. But here is another surprise that Joe Whalen has waiting for shore opponents. Ari is athletic and plays a very aggressive style. She was a proven scorer on the AAU circuit this summer. Then she jumped into training full time. She has developed a reliable jumper and can put the pull on the floor. Joe Whalen has a player that can back up his post players and not fear a major collapse. She can defend bigger players a 5’9″ and is excellent in transition both on offense and defense. Ari gives Whalen that real impact player off the bench in the front court.  Look for  her to have a special season. College coaches would be wise to pay attention…she could be a steal in a year.

Soph. Lauren Lithgow is the most talented player on the St. Rose roster. This fall she was down right scary. Her speed and ability to defend is off the charts. She is 5’9″ and gets to the rim with ease against any level of competition. But it’s her ability to knock down three point shots with range that separates her from every other point guard. Lauren is the ultimate combo guard at the high school level. Think of a high school  version of Russell Westbook, who is un-guardable in the open floor with next level vision. She my friends could be the most unique player in the state…yes I said the state. Now throw in the fact that she is a gym rat. Coach Whalen saw what the future may hold this summer as he moved her into the rotation and she delivered big time.  Lithgow will be one of the best players in New Jersey before her playing days are over. Like all Joe Whalen players she has been asked to learn the St. Rose way of doing things. Now this year she will be asked to give them offensive and defense off the bench. But make no mistake this young lady is going to have some monster nights…She is a  D1 lock that could play at the highest level.

Soph. Maggie Stapleton is flat out one of my favorite unknown players. I can assure you this kid is so unappreciated it’s a joke. She is first a real teammate and first class kid. Next her understanding of the game is special. She will not make mistakes and she will make shots. Her ability to be in the right place is uncanny and she plays with total understanding of what is expected. This fall watching her in the gym against so called D1 players was impressive. It’s clear she loves a challenge and wants to improve her game. She is just a sophomore and will only get better. She gives Joe Whalen a very reliable player coming off the bench. This is a great example of a kid who most will not pay attention too, but who may shine when given a chance.

Jr. Lucy Thomas it seems was a unknown star a few years ago. Now she is a household name on her way to Monmouth University. Thomas like every player on the St. Rose starting five has put a end to her recruiting. This no doubt was a surprise to all when you consider few schools had even knew about the future star.  But college coaches will get there first look at Thomas for a full season this year. They will be heart broken once they see her in Joe Whalen system on a regular bias. In just a year Thomas who is already a next level post player, has become a lethal three point shooter and passer. He ball handling skills are scary for such a young post player. She can handle double teams and score in traffic. She is a walking double/double as in a whopping 13.1 points a game and 11.4 rebounds a game last season. If there were any questions if she could get her numbers against Elite competition, her performance against the best front line the state,  SJV answered all that. She was she was brilliant with a 15 point and 13 rebound show stopping performance. Thomas was the Hoop Group Freshman of the year two years ago. Now she will be gunning to be the Player of the Year…




Jr. Elizabeth Marsicano gave a verbal commitment to St. Joseph University of the Atlantic Ten. Freeing up the stress of a long drawn out recruiting process that was sure to follow her this year. She is the most versatile  post player in the state. She can defend all 5 positions at 6’1″. Her body has filled out and now she is a physical specimen. Make no mistake she athletic freak of nature. Strong, quick and competitive. Marsicano can score from the three point line or post up. She proved she can play even the point position if needed as she did last year against SJV. One of the nicest kids I have ever met. Loving as she is known always has smile and up beat. But here is something everyone is missing about this young lady. She plays angry and not afraid to mix it up. She has been one of the best post players in New Jersey since her freshman year. She also has been playing in big games her entire career. Nobody this side of Kimi Evans of SJV has played in and preformed better in more big games than Marsicano. This year she could make a run as PLAYER OF THE YEAR IN THE SHORE CONFERENCE. Proving yet again, you can still be a great kid and win.



This is a very underrated group of New Comers… both freshman have stardom written all over them.

Fr. Molly Lynch is name I can assure that you learn much about. She is a future D1 lock. She is mostly likely the best incoming freshman point guard in the entire state and it’s just not talk. Lynch is a deadly shooter and more importantly has a serious feel for the game. She is electric off the dribble and has played against the best competition already.  If given enough minutes she will make a serious run for FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

Fr. Alexa Prus is maybe the most under the radar Freshman in the state. She is a confident and talented baby. She is a deadly shooter and excellent ball handler. She will not be afraid of the moment, if called about. She is the perfect Joe Whalen player…hard working and drama free kid, who will buy into his system. Here is something you can bank on, she along with Molly Lynch will one day form one of the best back-courts in the state. Look for Prus to have a bright future.

Sophomore Samantha Mikos is a talented shooter and when you can shoot the ball, like is good for you at St. Rose. Mikos has been a bit of a surprise for St. Rose and expect her to have some nice moments.



Make no mistake this team is going for all the marbles. They want to be known as one of the best teams in Shore history. The non-conference schedule is stacked this year. They have the perfect blend of upper-class and seniors. But they also have the freshman and sophomores who are off the charts special. The team now has real depth on its roster. It is no longer a 5 man team. I expect, while able to go 9 deep, Joe Whalen will ride his upperclassmen and mix in the bench when needed. Chemistry and knowing your role has become a trademark at St. Rose. That will not change. They will Lucy Thomas and Alex Pendergrass for an entire season. That my friends is scary. This group can end the year with a National Title, SCT and TOC championship. There is much too accomplish and this group just may leave a legacy of greatness we have never seen.

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There are no real questions for this team. The roles are all set and the players have all been in the wars. It’s just a matter of can they get it done? The division schedule hurts them, because they will not get competitive games, week in and week out. They simply will not use to seeing top teams week in and week out…so it hard to prepare for that once you get to the state semi and finals. It they make it to SCT or TOC finals,  it will be the only time they  play quality competition back to back ALL YEAR. St. Rose has beat a #1 ranked team in SJV in the Whalen era. They beat a state Championship team in Manasquan during the Joe Whalen era. They have been #1 in the state and Tri- State area during the Joe Whalen era. But what they have not done in the Joe Whalen era is close the deal on a SCT or TOC title. Can this be the year?


There is no chance of anyone spoiling this steam roller called St. Rose in B CENTRAL NORTH.


Everyone in Class B CENTRAL  with the exception of ST. ROSE is on the outside looking in.





There are going to be some ugly scores. There is no way Coach Whalen can simply sit his key players for 3 quarters every night. He will need to keep them ready, and that means some lopsided games and charges of running up the scores. There is another thing at play. There are two seniors who I’m sure are close to 1000 points and that most be addressed. …ST. ROSE WINS B CENTRAL.






















Holiday Break Hoop Fest



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