Class A NORTH is a underrated division and this year. They have the most explosive offensive player maybe in the state in Dezzy Allen. A North appears to be a two horse race on paper and some may feel that Neptune has a clear path to the title. I would tell Neptune fans to be very careful. No contending team took a bigger unexpected hit in the off season, in terms of personal than Neptune.
Overall Record –23-5
Divisional Record– 13-1 (B North Co-Champs)
The clear favorite on paper in A North is Neptune. Last year they shared the B North title with RBC. Dezzy Allen was explosive right out of the gate to start the season. Brianna Love could made a real case for being the most underrated player in the shore. They are a very experienced team that has been in the wars. Coach John Brown every year has his team in position to play for a state title and this year will be no different. They finished last season ranked in the Top 20 and this year will most likely start in the Top 15.
Point Guard Rahmena Henderson has transferred to SJV and just as importantly back up and reliable point backup guard point, Precious Allah has transferred back to Monmouth Reg. Leaving Neptune without a returning Point Guard. They have shooters, quickness and enough size to play with any team in the Shore. Alexa Vreeland was a deadly shooter and her three point shooting will need to be replaced somewhere. Kayelyn Kimbrough did a lot of the dirty work and got little if any credit. She is a much bigger lost than anyone realizes.
They return four starters from last years team. All play their roles to perfection and fix into a nice puzzle.
Sr. Alexis Bennett will again fill the role as shooter and had some big nights last year as a junior. The senior showed up last year in some of Neptune’s biggest games. She is a pure shooter with range. She averaged 6 points a game a made 35 three pointers…those number will rise big time this year.
Jr. Di Avian Foster is simply a warrior who plays way bigger than her size and in game one against RBC she was outstanding in the win. She will rebound on both sizes of the backboard and is all over the place in the Neptune full court press. Neptune will need for her to step it up even more this season.
Sr. Brianna Love is just about the most underrated player in the shore. Her number are off the charts. She is a walking double/double as she averaged 11 points and 11 rebounds a game. What you may not know, is that she is a all star defender and a next level passer. She has clearly not been given the respect that someone of her status deserves. She has shown the ability to take over game. She will want to go out with a bang this season. Look for a ALL SHORE TYPE SEASON.
Sr. Dezzy Allen at times had a real case for the PLAYER OF THE YEAR. She was Hoop Group First Team All SHORE. She was double and triple teamed all season. She was forced to do just about everything for her team at teams. No player in the shore stats were more legit. She put up scary numbers when the game matter and was in doubt. She is the ultimate closer and her performance against RBC in a victory was electric. She will make a run at POY in the shore and in the state. She averaged 22.4 ppg a game and 10 rebounds. She is expected to match the numbers this year. She has signed with D1 school NJIT.
They have two freshman and both have a very good chance at being D1 players. First Makayla Andrews is athletic and a major unknown talent. She most likely will be in the starting lineup. She is quick and has the ability to play multiple positions. She has a chance to be a member of the All Freshman team. I will tell you this, she could be just want Neptune needs to get over the hump against the elite teams. A future star in the Shore Conference
Now this is a name you will hear much more about before the season ends…Sophie Yevchak. She is one of the best young post players in the Shore Conference. This year Coach Brown will need her to grow up a little quicker than expected. Sophia has size, hands and a nice shooting touch for a 6ft freshman. There is no question she could a factor for Neptune and help give them a longer bench. I expect Sophia by years end to show flashes of what to expect in the future. Know this, she is a total GYM RAT. This is a young lady with a big future ahead of her.
They are not deep and will not only need to find a point guard. They need to develop a bench. Right now they have no impact returning players coming off the bench. If they run into injuries at any position and they are in serious trouble. What do they do when Bennett has a sub par shooting night? Who can big up the slack? This group plays with a lot of emotion and will need to use that energy in a positive way. They cannot lose their cool in tight games.
They will press and get baskets in transition. They will continue to be one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the shore. John Brown has seen and done it all. He is a master on the bench and making adjustments. Dezzy Allen and Brianna Love will handle the loins share of the scoring and rebounding duties, while other players will chip in. Alexis Bennett will continue to be the designated shooter. But they be wise to pay attention to the task ahead which is to win Class A North and not assume anything will be easy.
If Neptune thinks it going to a walk into the park for the CLASS A NORTH title, they are mistaken. Both Marlboro and Colts Neck are going to make sure Neptune earns the title this season. Both of these teams could start the year ranked in the shore conference Top Ten.
Divisional Record–10-2 (A North)
There is only one team in this division that will have two D1 LOCKS walk on to the floor every night and that’s Marlboro. Marlboro will not blink for a second against Neptune. They had them beat last year on Neptune’s home court and lost in over-time. Marlboro kids are 100% tested as they played the 2nd best non conference schedule last year in state behind SJV. The played just about every top team in the state last season. Guest what? They will be doing it again this year. This is a battle tested group.
Tatum Evans who now plays for Georgian Court is a big lost for Marlboro. She was a big body that could defend and rebound. But what she really gave the Mustangs was a inside offensive presence. She also was a double figure scorer. Replacing her output is going to be very hard to replace. Jessica Iacobellis was a very important part of last years team. She had nights where she carried the offensive and was a season player.
Soph. Gisella Romeo had a banner freshman year. She can play either the point or the shooting guard position. She has proven she can score the ball averaging 5.6 points a game as a freshman. She also is a intense defender. If she step up this year, watch out because a third scorer is just what the doctor ordered for this team.
Soph. Theresa Besso had some big moments off the bench last season. She had 7 points against Middletown South and many other nights like that. The sophomore is a deadly shooter and more importantly reliable defender. She could hold the entire key to winning the division. She spent the fall living in the gym. She has clearly raised her game to a new level.
Allie Garcia and Isabella O’Hare will need to be ready and give this team support off the bench. In fact one these two will need to step into the starting lineup. A good season from these two, who put great pressure on Neptune.
Sr. Molly Weiss and Jr Jess Broad will soon be wearing D1 uniforms. Molly Weiss has developed into one of the best pure point guards in the shore. She has the ability to knock down jumpers and has played against every great PG in the state. She will not see anything she cannot handle. She also has shown the ability to carry her teams offense. But her ability to set teammates up for easy buckets is what makes her so valuable. She will need to know when to take over and when to get other involved….
Jr. Jess Broad was the Hoop Group Most Improved Player last year. But what you don’t know is she now is a Top 5 junior in the shore. She also has developed a jumper that MUST BE RESPECTED. Her sneaky athletic ability is something to see and her ability to put the ball on the fall is special. She will need to take on more offensive and rebounding responsibility. She was a double/double machine last year against the very best competition. The future D1 lock, well need a ALL SHORE SEASON, if they hope to win Class A North.
They have 4 freshman on the varsity. If any of them steps up, it will be a pleasant surprise and welcome addition to this years team.
This team is only going as far as it two stars take them. Molly Weiss and Jess Broad will need to play flawless basketball on most nights. The schedule is once again is insane and will no doubt get this team ready for the states and conference wars. Marlboro again will be one of the best coaches teams in Class A. They will not roll over for Neptune.
They will be prepared to play against anyone. The problem is they only have 4 players with any experience and they have few year round players in the program. Who will be the 5th starter. What happens when either Weiss or Broad get in foul trouble. Where is the scoring inside the paint coming from? Who outside of Broad can defend in the post? What happens when they fall behind? Can they play man to man with such a short bench?
Divisional Record–10-4 (B North)
If Marlboro and Neptune think this is a two horse race. They are sorely mistaken, because Colts Neck could surprise both of these teams. They have talent, experience and play hard every night. Interestingly they find themselves in the same position as last year starting the season as spoilers…
Amanda Hunt was a very reliable player for 4 years. Alana Jannielo was a very solid front court player. Elise Brown was the leading scorer and will be the most missed of this group. But what was the biggest lost of all was Lola Mullaney who would have been their best player and scorer this season.
This team is not going away by a long shot. They have talent and they have shooters.
SR. Jamie Prestigiacomo a blue collar worker and plays with a real edge. Last seaon she averaged 7.6 points a game. There is no reason to believe that she will not become a double figure scorer. She also was a top rate defender and ball handler. This could be a breakout year for this young lady…I think she is that good. She will want to go out with a bang!
SR. exie Iglesia last year had some big moments against teams ranked in the Top 20 like her 8 point off the bench against Neptune and 12 against East Brunswick. She is a proven scorer. She can beat you with three’s and off the dribble. She has size and no question could be a double figure scorer this year.
SR. Sam Roth is a total unappreciated player. She can run the team and during the later parts of the season became a reliable scorer. She can make three’s and get to the rim. This is a player that has real experience, she has played varsity 4 years. She also has played the highest level of AAU. There are many who believe she is going to have a dream season. She could be the key to this entire season.
JR. Lauren Feaster is the perfect role player. She is a soccer player that brings that energy to the game. She is quick and will do all the little things. The junior was a bit of a surprise as she ran down loose ballS and rebounded against bigger opponents. She is instant energy for this team.
Cara Volpe was on the ALL FRESHMAN TEAM two years ago. She also is becoming a full blown star. Her numbers last year speak for themselves and her best nights were against the best opponents. She averaged 8.8 points a game and 9 rebounds. There is no question she will average a double/double this season. She spent the off season working on her jump shot. She also is knocking on the door to become a D1 lock. She is quick and plays much bigger than her size. All SHORE must be one of her golds. With Lola Mullaney gone, she will have to pick up the points that walked out the door with Mullaney.
CAMRYN FOLTZ was a major blow to Colt Neck. She had the ability to play all 3 guard positions. She also most certainly would have been a double figure scorer taking some of the sting away from losing Lola Mullaney. Foltz who is recovering from a ACL injury may return before season end. This would be a major addition to the roster. She was considered the best incoming freshman in the shore by most.
This team could surprise everyone and win the Class A. There is enough talent and shooters to do just that. They also have SOMETHING THIS IS MOST VAULABLE…SENIOR experience and they may be the deepest of the teams in the conference. The adjustment without Mullaney will not be as big as most think. This team has scorers in every position. If they can take care of the ball and stay away from bad upsets within the conference. This could be the story of the year.
The must decide who is really the go to player. It’s nice to have multiple scorers, but somebody must be the hammer, who is it? Next their is no size in the post, their best post player is Volpe at 5’8″. If she gets in foul trouble it could be costly on most nights. Next can Roth and Iglesia pick up the slack with the lost of Elsie Brown who did much more than score? Will Jamie Prestigacomo take her game to the next level?
MANALAPAN plays a very different style and could catch somebody off guard. Kerri Tanke, I believe is underrated and the best post player in this division. Manalapan may not be able to win the division but could stop somebody else from doing so; on just one night. They have a real chance to surprise one of the favorites and ruin their season.
FREEHOLD BORO, FREEHOLD TWP AND HOWELL are team that simply do not have a enough talent to when the conference. They is very little, chance these teams could upset any of the big three.
This will be a battle right to the end. But I believe Dezzy Allen is the difference maker and I believe……. NEPTUNE WINS CLASS A NORTH but it won’t be easy
2016-12 PRE-SEASON AWARDS WINNERS
COACH OF THE YEAR– JOHN BROWN
PLAYER OF THE YEAR– DEZZY ALLEN-NEPTUNE
FRESHAM OF THE YEAR– MAKAYLA ANDREWS-NEPTUNE
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR– JESSCIA BROAD-MARLBORO
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER– THERESA BESSO-MARLBORO
2016-17 B NORTH PRE-SEASON FIRST TEAM
MOLLY WEISS-SR.- MARLBORO
JESSCIA BROAD-JR- MARLBORO
DEZZY ALLEN-SR. NEPTUNE
BRIANNA LOVE-JR.- NEPTUNE
CARA VOLPE-JR.- COLTS NECK
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER
12/16- Neptune @Marlboro… opening night should be fun
1/17- Colts Neck @Neptune…a chance for Colts Neck to make some noise
12/20- Colts Neck @Marlboro…This is a big one for both teams
1/24- Marlboro @Colts Neck…no question a revenge game
2/9- Neptune @Colts Neck….this could be a championship game.