There may be no more interesting Division this year than Class A CENTRAL. There is the defending SCT and TOC champion, St. John Vianney. Class A CENTRAL also has the best player in the state in their conference, Kimi Evans. Despite Conference Realignment RFH and new Head Coach Dave Callahan and the others, will try to do something not many have been able to do, beat SJV in conference play. Central A is a Division that has teams with stars on their roster, that on any given night could upset the legendary program.
For all those who thought SJV was dead this year and it was payback time….SORRY! They are in for a major surprise, because SJV is here to stay. Coach Dawn Karpell like every year will play the toughest schedule in the state. The have a mix of seasoned upper-classmen and mega talented under-classmen. They are once again the most talented team top to bottom in the Shore. Every senior on there roster has signed a letter of intent to play in college including two at D1 schools. They will start the year off as the #11 team in the country according to USA TODAY.
Overall– 31-1 (TOC and SCT Champions)
Conference–12-0 (A Central Champions)
They lost basically the backbone of one of the best teams In Shore History. Kelly Campbell (DePaul) Kelly Crouch (Wagner) GiGi Caponergo (LIU) Zoe Pero (St. Peters) Tina LeBron (Caldwell College), Megan Furch (Haverford) and the insanely underrated Vanessa Pino. This group won everything there was possible to win at the High School level. They took on the best teams in the country every year and most nights came out on top. They were all GYM RATS!
SJV’s returning players have a built in advantage no other school has, their practices the past 4 years are better than almost any game they or any other school played last year. While some role players will be stepping into staring roles. Make no mistake a bucket full of D1 players have been asked to wait their turn….THEIR TURN HAS COME!
SR. Courtney Dobrynski was starter her first two years at SJV. Last year Coach Karpell wanted to give her bench some punch and that’s exactly what Courtney did last season. Dobrynski’s athleticism and college ready body, make her a nightmare matchup. She does all the dirty work and more importantly is a chemistry player. She has a off the chart IQ and feel for the game and game situations. Look for her to score more this year when NEEDED. She will be attending Hartford University next fall. She has played in so many big games nothing will surprise her. SHE IS BATTLE TESTED.
SR. Julia Ramos is flat out a warrior and a inspirational leader. She plays with fire the moment she hits the floor. When D1 players Kelly Campbell and Kelly Crouch went down with injuries, SJV did not miss a beat largely do to Ramos. She simply out played anyone put in front of her. She proved she could score when needed and more importantly run the SJV machine. She too has been in the wars and is 100% battle tested. She will be attending Drew University next fall. Nothing will shake Ramos this season, she has played and practiced against the best.
Sr. Riley Kehoe has been sitting and waiting for her chance. She had her moments when injuries hit SJV. She showed she could start and play for some of the top teams in the shore. You have to respect a kid who stays and sits behind 4 D1 players who not only play her position, but also only a year ahead of her. But that’s old hat, Kehoe has played top level AAU and it’s the reason Dominican College gave her a full scholarship. She is quick, athletic and tough. She will provide scoring, defense and toughness to the team, much like Vanessa Pino did last year.
SR. Abby Anderko is somebody very few know about. But if you really follow shore basketball. You know she is at the only school where she would have not be in the rotation last year. She is tough as nails and plays with a passion you cannot teach. She is an aggressive defender and will be great in the SJV presses. She is not afraid be put the ball on the floor or take a open spot. She will play her role to perfection and is a total team player. She will attend D3 powerhouse Catholic University next fall….wise more on their part, they getting an elite person.
JR. Sara Furch may not be very well known to Shore fans. But D1 college coaches know who the 6’0″ forward is and they love her. The younger sister of Haverford’s Megan Furch. This Furch most likely will be in the starting lineup. She has the ability to Shoot three’s, post up or go off the dribble. She is the total package. She also has played at the highest of highest AAU competition. She also spent last year playing against 4 current D1 players in practice everyday. She will be a major impact in the shore conference as she is an elite rebounder with size…something few teams have.
Jr. Maddie Doring could hold the key to how the SJV season ends. She is that rare player with size, ball handling and shooting skills from the guard spot. She is 100% a Division one lock. For now she will provide SJV with transition offense and another deadly shooter. Doring spent the summer playing against the best competition AAU could offer. She has been waiting for this year and now it has arrived and my guess is that she will dominate at times this season….SHE IS THAT GOOD!
Soph. Sarah Karpell is going to be one of the best Combo guards in New jersey one day. Right now she is a next level defender and relentless worker. She has improved every aspect of her game. How do I know this? I have seen it with my own two eyes. She has taken her ball handling skills to another level. She has willed herself into a excellent shooter. Sarah Karpell has D1 offers on the table already and here is a fact…she will get High Major recruitment before her days at SJV are over. She shocked everyone last season and was brilliant when forced to play because of injuries. She not only played, but she also was the backbone in two of SJV’s biggest wins last season. She will now try to build on what she did last year.
SR. Kimi Evans is not a star, she is a mega star. The Hoop Group Player of the Year last season, is the most dominating player in New Jersey. There is only one player you can make the following statement about. Move her to any of the contending teams in the state and they become the instant favorite. Everything at SJV starts and ends with Miss Evans. She is not selfish and very humble, this makes for great team chemistry. She is an elite rebound, scorer and defender. But here is what few know, she is a deadly 17 foot shooter and in transition is about as good as any post player I have seen in recent years. She understands how to run the floor, while others just run wildly. Evans picks her spot and pace when running. She knows when to trail or get to the rim….it’s a real talent. She is the best off ball defender in the Shore…that includes guards. This is the biggest difference maker of all the teams in that state. She affects everything on game night. She puts opponents in one and one early, she gets your post players in foul trouble and opens up everything for the SJV shooters….SETON HALL GOT A MEGA STAR. She hopes to go out with a loud bang.
*special note about Evans, I saw some horrible cheap shots taken at this young lady last year. I hope that it stops and coaches do not encourage this type behavior.
This is wrong on so many fronts, first Rahmena Henderson a ALL FRESHMAN TEAM MEMBER a year ago, from Neptune transfers to SJV and is eligible right out the gate. Then two future D1 players rather than become a cancer, wait in the wings to join the varsity this year and don’t fly the coup.
Soph. Rahmena Henderson was a member of the All Freshman Team, meaning a lock to be a D1 player. No freshman guard last year had the ball in their hands more. She is just want the doctor ordered for SJV. A quick, athletic, creative guard.
Soph, Sajaba Bonner is one of the most talented players in the Shore Conference… period. She will be one the highest recruited players in NJ one day. She is 6’0″ long and athletic, with sick shooting range. She is a next level offensive rebound right now. She is the classic teammate always positive and always cheering. Did not take the easy path and go play for a less competitive school when she had to wait a year. Her upside is off charts and the sky’s the limit. She will have a major impact on this up coming season.
Soph. Bre Bellamy is a 6’1″ superstar in the making. The only question is what can’t she do. If you need back to the basket offense, you got it. You need her to step away from the basket, you got it. You need high level skill sets as in passing, shooting, decision making…you got it. Message to every D1 coach on the east coast …THIS IS THE REAL DEAL. Bellamy folks is going to very special one day and this year Shore fans are going to find out way.
Not much will change with Coach Karpell, she is a master both on and off the court. No coach maybe in the history of the shore is better at handling star players and developing others. She will manage her deep roster as she does every year. She will give players real roles and live and die with those players regardless of who she plays. Her players trust and belief in her is marrow deep. They will run the offense though Kimi Evans maybe more than ever before. They will wear teams down with their bench. They will put the fear of god into any team that dares to use ball screens, because of their length and trapping ability.
They are some concerns with this team, that must be addressed. SJV have been famous for getting in the gym and having gym rats in there program. What did I notice this fall? Lots of games and fewer gym rats as in the past…RED FLAG or different approach? Next, where at all the three point shooters, from years past? SJV has had the best shooters as a group in the entire state in recent years. There is no proven shooter on the roster going into the season. Doring and Sarah Kaprell are the leading candidates. Next Coach Karpell plays a crazy non conference schedule and this is a young team. What happens if they get beat up early, will they lose their confidence? Can they handle a rocky road is a serious question for this group. This is serious stuff, because SJV plays real competition, which means close games….
There is no replacing George Sourlis on the sidelines. It’s silly to ask Coach Callahan to do this, what he can do is begin a new era of RUMSON- FAIR HEAVEN basketball. The Callahan era already looks different. There will not have the pressure that other RFH teams have experienced in the past. Nobody will be upset if they finish 5th in the state and win 20 games like last year. RFH will try and hold on to the legacy Coach Sourlis has built…but it won’t be easy. They caught a major break with Conference Realignment. This could not have come at a better time for the proud Bulldogs.
Conference-9-3 (Central A)
RFH lost what many to believe is one of two best coaches in Shore history, in George Sourls. But they also lost some key players that helped them finish the year ranked 5th in the state. Syd Sabino ( Wagner) shooting in big spots last season will need to be replaced. Nicole Morris (Holy Cross) was the leader that they could not play without last year. Stephanie Lesko (Bryant) was a reliable scorer and rebounder. Christina Antonakakis who must have felt she was in the Twilight Zone, returned to Holmdel.
Sr. Hannah Scanlon the 6’2″ forward had a breakout season last year. She had moments where she dominated games and it led to a D1 scholarship to Bryant University. Scanlon has proven she can score, rebound and block shots. She is a vastly underrated off ball defender. If RFH expects to catch SJV, Scanlon will need to be even more dominate this season. She has a chance to be a All Shore Player and ALL STATE PLAYER….If she step up another level like she did last year, watch out. At one point last season she was on of the 5 best players in the Shore Conference
Sr. Megan Volker is a warrior who just got better as the season moved along last year. She went from role player to starter. She is a bulldog on the boards and a top defender, who can guard all 5 positions. Last year she showed flashes that could score when needed. This year she will need to be more of scorer, when playing top teams. Volker is 100% battle tested and make no mistake will compete every night. That will not change this season.
Sr. Katie Foos the 6’0″ sharp shooter was off the charts at times last year. In some of the biggest games of the year Foos carried the RFH offense. This year if RFH guards can improve there passing and shot selection a little under Dave Callahan, she should have a banner year. Foos also has the ability to post up smaller guards. While many talk about her shooting skills, she sadly get little credit for basketball decision making skills…here is a little secret….she was the best decision maker with the ball on the RFH team last season. Rarely if ever did she turn the ball over in a big spot. She will move on to Mega D3 NYU next fall. Foos will need to have big nighst for a team that will be under the gun to score this season.
Jr. Mikaela McGarvery the 5’11” wing just may hold the key to this entire season for RFH. McGarvey is a D1 athlete, who can shoot the lights out of the ball. She is quick and plays much bigger than her size. She was hurt last season, so did not get meaningful minutes. But she played AAU all summer and fall. Now the question is can she step up for RFH this year. Playing against high level competition will be new to her and if she can hold it together….RFH could surprise!
JR. Ana Brendel is a guard that could give this team the much needed bench help its looking for. She is a gym rat and trained all fall, how do I know this? I saw her every weekend this fall against some of the best players in NJ. Brendel if given the chance, she just might be that player who gives RFH some needed support off the bench. She is quick and reliable with the ball.
Sr. Abigail Kelly has been part of the RFH program for 4 years. She has practiced and played against some very talented players over the years. She is long and could provide added rebounding and defense. If she can get out in transition, and find some easy baskets that would be a added plus.
Jr. Phoebe Spernal is tough guard who gives RFH some badly needed backcourt help. She has played JV in the past and will be counted on to give help off the bench. A solid season from Spernal will go a long way for this team.
Tori Hyduke showed flashes of becoming a superstar last year. Many believe this is the year she becomes just that. Her feline quickness off the dribble and getting to the rim are next level. Her shooting range is starting to show major college flashes. She has D1 offers on the table and it’s not just because of her talent. She plays hard and has more floor burns than anyone in the shore. She is a next level passer in transition and feeding the post. She is a much unrated defender. RFH is only going as far as Tori Hyduke takes them, she will need to have some monster scoring nights for this team to compete against the elite teams. There is no question she is a ALL SHORE PLAYER and this is finally her team.
This where Dave Callahan has his work cut out for him. It has been a while since they have had a meaning full freshman class. This year only two players are Candidates for varsity.
Lucy Adams is a 6’2″ and a athletic body. She has a nice shooting touch. There is no question she will need to play varsity this season. RFH will hope she gains valuable experience during the season, that may pay off later in the year
Shae Sabino is 6’o” forward with a big body. She has a excellent basketball IQ that should help her along the way. Like Adams there is no question she will be forced to play varsity. The question is can she develop enough over the course of the season.
Gone will be the unreasonable expectations. George Sourlis spoiled the Rumson faithful with his insanely successful teams for 30 years. The followers of the program are about to have a better appreciation for all that has taken place in the past. This team is not deep, but the starting five is as good as most of the top teams in the state. They are 100% legit in every way. Dave Callahan wishes he had the player personal decisions to make, that coach Sourlis had. This may be a blessing in disguise because with the roles set in stone. RFH may find some chemistry on and off the court. Rumson should be ranked in the Shore Top 5. They will still be ranked in the state. But holding on these ranking could prove to difficult. Taking down SJV is also a tall task, RFH will get the chance TWICE. There core group of players have been in real battles and will be excited about what’s ahead for them. They need to be careful about slip ups in Divisional play. There are some land mines out there. This will be RFH’s last run as a big dog, while they rebuild after this season…THEY WILL WANT TO MAKE IT SPECIAL
Nobody is ready to call this group, Gym Rats. But they played a lot games this fall as a group. No Boys allowed and the Hoop Group Fall league. But was their any player development? It will be very important that Scanlon and Hyduke step up in this area. The role players will need to get much better in a hurry. It’s very simple, who is going to step up on the bench. What happens if Hyduke is in foul trouble? Who runs the team? Who can replace Scanlon when she goes to the bench. The biggest question is what will the culture at RFH be? Rumson for years was standard for defense in not just the shore but the state. Now what? What will a Callahan team look and play like? Nobody really knows. But he will need to know, the Shore boys side is not in the same world as the girls side. The summer and the fall look nothing like the season…this is a fact
HOMDEL is not going to win Central A, but you can bet your last dollar they can play the upset role.
Conference– 5-7 (Central A)
Jen Inman was flat out a beast most of last season. She had some very special night.
Sr. Sydney Coffaro is one the most athletic wing players in the shore. She can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim or bury jumpers. Her ability to finish at the rim is special. She also rarely if ever takes a bad shot. She was a member of the All Freshman team 3 years ago. If Holmdel expects to pull off a few surprises she will have to be at her best….which is one of the best wings in the shore conference.
Marilou Quintano show flashes of a capable scorer last year and with the return of Antonakakis she should see her numbers rise. If she becomes a reliable third scorer all bets are off because if this team can find ways to score…they are very dangerous and Quintana may hold the key
Tori Nolan, Mattie Mikowski Kayla Clarke, Kenya Wagner, Jenna and Sam Stoker all received minutes last season and will be asked to step up and help make the team deeper. They will not be asked to carry the offense or defense. They will asked to chip in and player hard each night. Coach Doug Shaw is developing a reputation for getting kids to play above their ability. More importantly he will give each player a role and asked them to play that role. They will know their strength and weakness and play to them. All these players played in a fall league and gained something very valuable….TEAM CHEMISTRY!
Christina Antonakakis spent a year at RFH and learned something very valuable and that is expect the unexpected. But she is back at Holmdel and this fall she looks once again like one the best young guards in New Jersey. Expect a All SHORE type season from the Magic Woman. Her up tempo style and leadership will instantly make every player around her better. She has the ability to take over games with her passing and exciting style of play. She may be asked to score more this year and that will not be a problem. She and Coffaro make up the best back-court in the division. She will find ways to help Holmdel win on and off the court. She makes Holmdel a dangerous opponent if her teammates follow her led.
There are no impact freshman entering he program this year
This team is only going where Coffaro and Antonakakis take them. When you have two talented players like this, anything is possible on any night. Now if Marilou Quintano steps up and the roles players do the same it could be exciting. Everyone knows Doug Shaw will get his kids ready and prepared each night and not back down to anyone. Somebody may have their season ruined by Holmdel if they are not careful.
It’s a simple matter of talent and size. They have hard workers and two D1 players. In any other conference you could make a run with that mix. Not in the shore, and not in a conference where the two best teams are stacked. Who is rebounding? Who is replacing Antonakakis when she is not on the floor. Who is providing scoring help off the bench? These questions Holmdel just may not have the answers too!
There is a serious trap waiting for somebody in this Division. They are not going to win the conference. But James Young has his entire team back with 7 seniors, who all have played together for years. They pose a real threat on any given night because of the experience on the roster. It is very possible for them to sneak up on somebody.
Emma Keegan is a warrior and a player that feels like she has been around forever. She has tons of Experience that she can fall back on. She was part of the group that got this program back on it feet. Keegan will be a very good player at the next level. Right now is will have to live with being a talented player out of the spotlight. Her ability to score and get to the rim will be on full display most nights
Bridget Tobin is a work horse and a hard worker at all times. Se will compete every night and will win her matchup in the effort department. She can put the ball on the floor and make plays and is dangerous defender. She is a program kid, that will do what ever is asked….WINNER!
Emily Fitzgerald is a talented player who has had big nights. It a shame she has gone so far under the radar. She is going to have big nights again this year. She is sneaky good and could blow up this year.
Meme Paterno is a program kid and she will do what ever is asked of her by James Young and her teammates. She has long been one of my favorites. She has size and a wonderful basketball IQ . She is a kid you just have to root for….I believe there is a place for Meme at the next level. For now she will give RBR that size and added advantage of knowing what to expect.
Mary Vilardi has played in a lot of games and there is no reason not to expect another productive season out of this young lady.
Grace Dengler is a real talent and effective player. What you need to pay attention to is how this young lady finished the last 5 games of the season. She scored in double figures in every game except one. This young lady is set to have a monster year senior year.
Nicole Haplin is another senior who last year, had big nights. She has proven she has the ability to be a proven scorer.
Junior Brenna Bonner is as solid as you can expect a player to be. She is smart and understands the game. She will now be even more effective as a upperclassmen. She scored in every game last year and had double figure scoring nights along the way.
This is a seasoned group. If they can get in a groove early, they could really surprise everyone. They know they can’t beat SJV on a normal night. But can they catch lighting in a bottle against everyone else in the conference? Without a doubt, making the state tournament is a real expectation. James Young has built a wonderful foundation and maybe it’s time to collect on it again. It wasn’t long ago that this program was the laughing stock of the shore..those days are over and with one big win RED BANK REG could be take it to the next level.
Matawan, Raritan and Shore will all try to be competitive this year. They real goal is to have a winning season. All three are in a tight spot to start the year.
They say even the Knicks beat the Cavs sometimes. So is it possible somebody can beat SJV? Well the Cavs are not SJV and this is no ordinary program. SJV has the best player in every position in the Division with the exception of one. They also have somebody on the sidelines named DAWN KARPELL….That’s why, ST. JOHN VIANNEY will be CLASS A Central champions.
2016-17 PRE-SEASON AWARDS
COACH OF THE YEAR– DAWN KARPELL-SJV
PLAYER OF THE YEAR– KIMI EVANS-SJV
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR– BRE BELLANY-SJV
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR– KIMI EVANS-SJV
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER- SARAH KARPELL-SJV
2016-17 PRE-SEASON FIRST TEAM ALL DIVISION
KIMI EVANS– SR-ST. JOHN VIANNEY
TORI HYDUKE-JR- RUMSON-FAIR HEAVEN
CHRISTINA ATONAKAKIS-JR- HOLMDEL HIGH SCHOOL
COURTNEY DOBRYNSKI-SR- ST. JOHN VIANNEY
HANNAH SCANLON– SR- RUMSON- FAIR HEAVEN
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER
1/13- CHRIST THE KING @SJV