Last night RUMSON FAIR HEAVEN beat Manasquan for the first time in the Dave Callahan era. It was a night where everyone was talking about youth and babies. But in the end, RFH showed what makes them who they are… because it was there COMPETITIVE NATURE that got them over the top.

Manasquan saw what a competitive nature looks like early last night. Rumson jumped on them from the tip. Manasquan was not ready for the punch delivered so in early in the fight. RFH took a 23-8 lead after the first quarter and Manasquan spent the rest of the evening playing catch up. But in the 2nd quarter they held RFH to two points. ..or rather RFH held themselves to two points. RFH missed WIDE OPEN JUMPER AFTER JUMPER. Then to make things worst they missed layup after layup. Then with foul trouble they could no longer use their pressing defense. But some how still found themselves up 25-17 at the half. But Manasquan could see light at the end of the tunnel.

In the 3rd quarter Manasquan reminded everyone why they have been one of the best programs in the state the last decade. Because having been down by as many as 15, they came roaring back. They showed why everyone is so excited about this teams future. They showed the heart of a champion. Georgia Heine gave us a glimpse into the future. She simply did everything for Manasquan. She held down the lane with block shots and rotating defense. She scored, rebounded and found time to drop dimes. In one word she was “SPECTACULAR”. The only thing she didn’t do was sell popcorn and serve ice cream to the little ones. She finished with a stuffed stat sheet and lead the scoring for Manasquan with 12 points, 7 rebounds and by my count 5 dimes. But she was not alone as Allison Waters showed that she is back. Waters who had 8 points off the bench. Buried a deep three and took over the ball handling duties with a few sweet dimes. The duo was enough to help shave the RFH lead to 38-33 at the end of the 3rd… and that’s when all the fun began.

Leading into the season, the Manasquan faithful have been pushing the youth Narrative in a big way. But as they pushed that narrative. They were clearly not talking about the baby Rylyn Orlando. Who on a sweet dime from who else? Georgia Heine… giving Manasquan it’s first lead of the night 45-44. Manasquan had made it all the way back and the best baby in the house was not done yet by a long shot. Because Freshman Rylyn Orlando for the 2nd time on a big stage this season, showed she loves the big lights.. because when she buried a three from the right side late in the 4th quarter, she proved she indeed she has ice in her veins. It’s seemed as if every bucket Orlando got was bigger than the next. The term a baby shall lead was in full effect… in the words of the great Billy Crystal “Rylyn Orlando was Marvelous”… She had 7 points and 3 rebounds

Remember I told you about COMPETITIVE NATURE? Well the great teams, players and coaches have it. It’s shows up when your back is to the wall. It’s that thing that swallows up your opponent. It’s the thing that hangs over an opponent like an angry cloud. Down 3 with under three minutes. The RFH competitive nature and coach jump all over Manasquan. With under 2 minutes Manasquan was trying to hold the ball. Paige Slaven tipped the ball away for a break away… COMPETITIVE NATURE…she was fouled. She made one free throw but RFH got rebound on the miss of the 2nd… Competitive nature. They move the ball and missed a three. Baby Rylyn Orlando rose above everyone for the rebound, did I tell you was Magnificent last night? With RFH down one with under a minute, Manasquan once again tried to hold the ball and again it was a mistake. Because Cortland McBarron stepped in and stole the ball and raced in for a layup to put RFH up one … COMPETITIVE NATURE. Manasquan called time out as the injured Grace Munt danced for joy on the sidelines… but Manasquan was not done yet.

With 18 plus seconds seconds left Manasquan still had life. Then with 8 seconds left an ugly memory revisited RFH. It was 3 years ago that RFH had seemly won the Group 2 state title… when a Phantom call was made with no time on the clock and Dara Mabrey walked to the line to complete RFH’s nightmare. Yesterday Manasquan turned the ball over with 8 plus seconds left. Sophia Passalaqua, who was 0-9 from the floor but did what she did all night… the little things stole the ball…COMPETITIVE NATURE. But out of nowhere an official stepped in and awarded Manasquan a time out. As everyone in the gym including Manasquan fans stared in amazement. The demons of the pass had returned to visit RFH.

A COMPETITIVE NATURE is a strange thing. It bends but it doesn’t break. So with new life MANASQUAN went back to work. First they drove to the basket and there was Lucy Adams. Then Manasquan got an offensive rebound in the paint and shot but there was ADAMS again to block the shot….and end the game…. COMPETITIVE NATURE!

RFH Cortland McBarron had 24 points and right now is playing as well as anyone. She is the most under appreciated star in the shore. She averaging 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals a game and nobody says a word about her. She shrugs off pressure like a cold drink of water. She my friends is a D1 player. Paige Slaven well until somebody proves me different is the best point guard in the Shore these days. The Maestro is scoring 13 points a game with 5+ dimes, you know any other point guards doing that? Lucy Adams? Well folks she has arrived, she is having a dream season. The numbers are big 8 points and 8 rebounds and 3 blocks a night. Why do I bring this all up now? Because they all got their numbers on a big stage…the true test of greatness!

Finally Sophia Passalaqua, I can’t say enough about this young ladies desire, will and toughness. She is a born leader. She gives her heart and soul to her teammates. What about the RFH babies who struggled or didn’t play last night. Well they all had smiles from ear to ear…when is the last time you’ve see D1 babies not getting time without being a pain in the ass? Well these babies get it. Then finally Coach Dave Callahan, well last night everyone in that gym felt him on the sidelines. Because they just may have Witnessed his best coaching performance to date… he willed his team to victory…with his COMPETITIVE NATURE


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