THE SHORE CONFERENCE is beginning a new season. This year is different than most, the past while nice to discuss, means nothing to the young ladies this upcoming season. The usual fun debates about rankings will now start. It’s makes things fun as we get closer to opening night. All the pre season talk makes for fun, exciting, great conversations. But at the end of  the day, all will be settled on the court. It means nothing to be a favorite of a underdog. Everyone is trying to get the biggest Chip in the state of New Jersey…But there are some things everyone should think about.

Zoe Brooks is a Superstar….not a star!

There are a lot of STARS in the Shore this year. But then their are superstars, they are different in so many ways. None is bigger than Zoe Brooks of SJV  There is no question she capable of carrying her team on her back. The real question is can your star put your team on her back and carry your team home over the course of the season? There are only a few players who are capable of this. Players like Nina Emance of Trinity Hall, Janine Bachman of SJV and Devyn Quigley of Manchester come to mind for example. But there are also some kids who want to be Superstars. They think it’s there time to shine. Do you have a star who thinks they are a superstar? You know that kid who derails a season. Do you have the kid, when the college coaches show up, wants to shine and in the process, who kills your team chemistry and all your teams hopes and dreams? I have one question, do you have a star or a superstar? Because superstars are different.


Can your team go to its bench and still win? When it comes to using the bench, no coach is even close to Dawn Karpell. She creates roles for all of her players. They all know they will play in the meat of the game (there are no phony mins) and they’ll never look over their shoulders. They all will play in big games and their roles won’t change based on the opponent. They all will be battle tested and play their roles to a “T”. The SJV bench is talented once again, but more importantly it will be used wisely by Dawn Karpell and she is not afraid to use it. It why when it comes time for her role players to become prime time players, there always ready. Does your coach believe in your bench? Will your coach get your role players ready for prime time roles during the year? Or will there give them meaningless minutes in games with no pressure or impact on the season. Because if they don’t, when the big games get hot, your bench is either going to help you or not. Somebody is going to get hurt, sick, have a personal issue or just not perform. The question is going to be can your bench save your team. Did your coach develop and have confidence to go to your bench. I know SJV will be able to count on their bench, what about everyone else? Can you bench save your team on a bad shooting night or when your star is not a star?

Julia Corsentino can shoot a team to greatness

DO YOU HAVE SHOOTERS? Sorry…if you don’t have shooters…you are not winning the Shore Conference, so forget it… nothing is more important in todays game.  I’m talking, when your team is struggling to get buckets, you better have a shooter that can get you those unscripted points. Trinity Hall has the best in the business in Nina Emnace and she has the track record to bring with her.  A great shooter can single handedly send your team to the showers. Casey Prior of RBC is the best shooter in the Conference. Julia Karpell of SJV is deadly, Crackling Rosie of St. Rose is masterful. Julia Corsentino of RFH when rolling is a nightmare for opponents. You got somebody that can shoot your team out of the forest? There is a flip-side to shooters though. They can also shoot you out of games. There is nothing more dangerous to your teams survival in a big game than high volume shooters with a low shooting percentage and poor shot selection. If there is one thing I am 100% sure of…it’s this…SHOOTERS RULE…Do you have a knock it down shooter who can make shots in the meat of BIG games?

Nina Emnace has the best track record of any Closer in the Shore

DO YOU HAVE A CLOSER? Closers close quarters and games.  Closer’s don’t turn the ball over or make bad decisions late. You have a closer? Now be honest, do you trust your closer? Because if you don’t, secretly your team does not trust them either. Does your closer know when to pass and when to shoot? Remember your closer is not always your best player, that’s a myth. Because if your best player can’t walk to the free throw line late, like Nina Emnace or Casey Prior does and close the door. Then they’re not a real closer! A closer can be a coach, and Coach John Turhan right now is one of the best closer’s in the business. His teams are shockingly great at the end of games and quarters. Joe Montano forget it, if he gets a chance to close…its a wrap.  Now here is something everyone forgets…sometimes your closer never gets the chance to close, because in order to close you need to be in the game late with a lead. Whose closing your big games?

Grace Feeney could be the “baby power” Trinity Hall needs

THE BABY FACTOR, ARE THEY READY?  Now don’t tell me how good your babies are and I don’t care about their summer and fall greatness. I want to know are you playing those babies against the real teams in big games this season. No baby had more responsibility than Christina Liggio against real competition, last season. Don’t tell me about a how well they shoot or dribble. Tell me your babies can play when the is heat on in big games.  Now is your baby just a part of the window dressing or are you really counting on them to win the big games?  RBC has a baby everyone believes in, Addy Nymcheck could be the key to RBC’s season. Jada Lynch could be the final piece for St. Rose. Trinity Hall has babies on top of babies who will be asked to deliver in a big spot.  Is your baby going to put up numbers in blow outs and against weak competition. Then you brag about it, to make mommy and daddy happy. But when they play the killers they can’t get their minutes or numbers. They become a zero in the big games. What’s the status of your babies? If they have to go from role player to prime time player in a instant can they do it?…can your baby do this? 

The RBC seniors have talented babies to help them finally get a chip

SENIORS, ARE YOURS READY? If your team is not loaded with seniors your team’s job is a little harder.  Your seniors must have experienced success in  big spots along the way. Winning a big game or tournament can’t be new to them. SJV has 4 seniors and they’re good…as in real good, but they also have rings, so they know how to do it. RBC, St. Rose and have seniors but they have no rings. Jackson Memorial and Manasquan have special seniors with rings but is one senior with a ring enough? Trinity Hall has no seniors who can right the ship when the wind blows. Having battle tested seniors is something that gives you a real edge over the course of a season. Seniors don’t panic and they play with a real passion and focus when they know the end is in sight. But there is another side to seniors. If they did bare minimum in the fall and did not buy in 100%, they secretly do not have the respect of their teammates. Putting the coach in a spot no coach wants to be…. cutting a seniors minutes.  What about your seniors? Are they ready did they pay the price in the fall?

Holmdel will have to shake their reputations

CAN YOU TEAM HANDLE THE PRESSURE? SJV, may be the favorite but they know all eyes are on them, anything but the title will be disappointing. RBC can’t say their young once again and use it as a excuse, wth hype comes expectations. Nobody what’s to hear that as an excuse. Manasquan kids are going to be asked to become prime time players? Those chip and past titles, the current players on the team mostly were watching won from the bench.  St. Rose knows that anything less than a title and the haters will be out in full force, nobody like you when your good. RFH has not one a Group 2 title since the Sourlis years, that is starting to feel like a long time ago. RBR is no longer playing with house money. Divisional Public School titles are such old news now. Trinity Hall knows people think it’s all hype… IS IT? ….Ocean Twp it’s now or never. Wall has run out of morale victorys. Holmdel knows people are saying they are back to their old ways, can they prove everyone wrong?  All this adds up to pressure, can you team handle that pressure that comes with being successful?

Eli Clark is the best pure PG/Combo leader in the Shore

WHO IS RUNNING THE SHOW? How good is your point guard? Do they make everyone around them better? Are they a shoot first, pass 2nd point guard. Because if they are, you better have great chemistry. What’s their assists to Turnover ratio. If it’s not good either are you… is your point guard getting those 4 or 5 dimes a game to your best three point shooters? Is your point guard a leader on the court.? Because if there not, it’s a wrap for your team. Because her teammates are secretly not going to what the ball in her hands late. Can you your point guard make the big shot late? Anyone can take it…can your point guard make it? So who is running your show? Eli Clark of Ocean is the best in the business right now. Who is your point guard? I hope it’s it not a shooting guards pretending to be a point guard. I hope it’s not point guard by committee…because you can’t show once case of that model winning a Chip. Maybe you can pull a Coach Karpell and turn the best player in Shore history to a point guard….GOOD LUCK ON THAT ONE!

Carlie Lapinski is another D1 player added to the Manasquan roster

DID YOU ADD SOMETHING PROVEN? Did you team add a new player or did you team find a player who has taken their game to a new level? Last year Zoe Brooks gave a SJV the ultimate new weapon. She was a proven star long before her arrival at SJV. Well St. Rose has proven star on the way in Tanaiyah Decker, she brings her Division One status and her state rankings while at Donovan with her. She is a proven star and proven winner. She is a game changer in the Shore and state for St. Rose. Carlie Lapinski gives Manasquan a proven scorer, post defender and rebounder after two productive seasons at Ranney. She also gives Manasquan the equalizer in adding another D1 player to their roster. She allows Manasquan to continue in the arms race when it comes to the big dogs in the Shore. Raquel Guidetti gives RFH another transfer who could help them get over the top. Allison Cannon of Holmdel didn’t transfer, she just got better and Holmdel picked up a impact stud the old fashion way, by developing their own. Did your team add something new and exciting?

Mary Beth Chambers will try and add a SCT chip to her State Title.

Does your coach have a track record of success? These games are going to be tight in conference and somebody is going to win it or lose based on decision making from the sidelines. Will your coach give your team and edge with the officials? Your coach better not panic and they better have some new offensive sets, out of bounds plays and new trapping defenses all ready to go by the time the SCT rolls around. Your coach better have some new stuff to throw at opponent’s, because everyone knows everyone stuff by seasons end.. If your team is breaking out the same old tired offenses and defenses…your in trouble. Your coach got some new stuff? Your coach better not start over coaching and trying to be the star this year. Your coach better be prepared coming out of time outs and last second situations. Possessions really matter in your teams biggest games, because those games are going to be close. How are your rotations? They better be set and everyone better know, when they are playing or is your coach changing the rotation to keep kids and parents happy? In the end these games are going to come down to how your coach handles the pressure at the end of the games…they will need to make all the right moves! Is your coach ready to do this? Your coach ready for the surprises, bad calls and the heat of the spotlight?  Has your coach won a State Title, SCT or TOC title? Well if they have your in good shape because those coaches know what it takes… talk is cheap and track records are real. WHAT’S YOUR COACHES TRACK RECORD IN THE BIG ONE?


The bottom line is that nobody has all the ingredients going into the season. While SJV is the favorite. This year everyone thinks their is blood in the water. Everyone is going to have to to face all the obstacles before a champion is crowned. The team that handles these challenges the best is going to be our winner. Right now I BELIEVE the TOP 4 TEAMS HAVE  the best chance to pull it off.  There will be the usual suspects like every year. SJV… St. Rose…Manasquan and RBC. But like every year there will be a few dark horses. This year will be no different, and it’s going to be a fun ride the entire way UNTIL A SHORE CONFERENCE CHAMPION IS CROWNED

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