There is something interesting taking place in the Shore that some folks just might be missing. It may seem like small potatoes but it could be a peek into the future. Two programs that have not created much interest outside of the team and their team supporters, are making big noise. They both are on different tracks but the right track if you want to rolL with the big dogs are some point. Trinity Hall and Ranney High Schools are trying to build top flight basketball programs these days.
When Trinity Hall hired Matt McCarthy it was a sign that the school was going to take basketball seriously. Matt McCarthy is not just any high school coach. He is a seasoned college coach and has coached at just about every level. He is committed to making Trinity Hall a basketball powerhouse. He also caught a break as well. St. Rose was mercifully was removed from B CENTRAL. A division that offered St. Rose no competitive games. When St. Rose left many people believe the division would now become competitive. Somebody forgot to tell Coach McCarthy because Triny Hall just picked up were St. Rose left off and dominated the division, winning games by a average margin of over 30 points.
Ranney girls basketball team in recent years has not been much of a topic. When the boys team got Scottie Lewis and Bryon Antoine, Ranney basketball became a household name. The girls team were no so lucky, but they had a talented coach with a winning background in Katelynn Linney. Somebody who played in the shore conference and was one of the best players to ever wear a uniform. She was a great College player at Fairfield University. She has was an asst coach at Fordham University. Coach Linney has done one thing in her basketball career over and over… and that’s win. Now she is trying to do at Ranney what their boys team did… make Ranney girls basketball team a powerhouse.
Trinity Hall started their rebuild two years ago. They won a Shore Conference Tournament game for the first time in school history. The won B Central in walk and ungraded their schedule. Matt McCarthy knew he had to challenge his team. His team played Top 20 teams in the state and took their lumps. He had a young team of dual sport players. But he did have Caitlin Wingertzahn one of the best post players in the entire Shore Conference. He also got a freshman in Haven Dora who would surprise everyone. His team would exceed his expectations. They played Top 10 Rumson to a six point game. Matt McCarthy new something big was happening. So when his team got that SCT win and Emma Bradley showed, she just may become a impact player everyone got excited. Matt McCarthy team this past season returned three players who had gained big game experience in Wingertzahn, Dora and Bradley. So this past season he turned it up a notch.
Katlynn Linney is a ultra competitive person. If you know anything about her understand this… she is a Alpha Female. She has been in competitive environments her entire athletic life. She has played in and coaches in programs with kids who eat, sleep and dream basketball. So her experience as the coach at Ranney her first year had to be a shock to her system. She had coached at Team Rio and worked with Dawn Karpell. These are Alpha Female programs. These are programs where you have to kick kids out the gym. Ranney is a lot of things… those things I just mentioned would not be one of them. There was a balancing act at Ranney, work hard but don’t push, seemed to be the model. Be competitive but not to competitive. Offer off season training but don’t push it or expect it. Ranney has been the Shore punching bag for years. But Coach Linney is getting ready to change that. She is changing the culture at Ranney without turning people off. She is doing what all coaches do when building from the bottom. She is giving Ranney an entire new identity and it could start paying off next season.
Last season Matt McCarthy went all out. Trinity Hall played one of the toughest schedules in the entire state. They played Trenton Catholic and SJV the two best teams in the state. They played RBC, RFH, Marlboro and Gil Bernard. Really the question is who didn’t they play? It was clear that Matt McCarthy was gearing up to get his team ready for the next step towards joining the Shore elite. He opened last season against Marlboro and almost pulled off a major upset. They also got kicked around by Trenton Catholic. Last year was a season to get ready for the future. He has toughen up his program and his kids. They now know what elite competition looks like. Trinity Hall will not fear anyone next season. They now know what it takes to get to the next level. Trinity Hall is program kicking down the door and few in the Shore Conference know this, unless they are paying close attention… I do and soon Trinity Hall is going to have to be dealt with.
Ranney is getting ready to go through a makeover. They have snuck up on everyone in B Central. They going to be the pre season favorite. The program is going to get a facelift. Players are now going to be training in the off season. There will be a real pre season program. Coach Linney is going to upgrade the schedule. She is going to make player develop now count at Ranney. Now players are going to have to take stock and ask how serious are they about being part of the Ranney program. Excuses will be a thing of the past. Everyone will be held accountable now and nobody will have playing time promised to them. Everyone will have to earn they keep. It will be a good thing for the Ranney kids. It will be a good thing for Ranney High School. The boys proved the power of having an elite team. The girls now are looking to do the same. What nobody knows is that the pieces are falling into place.
Trinity Hall next season is going to move up and play in A CENTRAL division. It will be a major step up in competition. But the last two years have prepared Coach McCarthy crew for just what’s in front of them. Matt McCarthy brings back a team loaded with quickness and speed and adds three freshman who have played highly competitive basketball their entire lives. Hayla Dora is the young sister of Haven Dora. Like her sister she is fast and athletic. She also will be a impact player from day one. She has a chance to start as a freshman. Siobhan Stapleton is going to be a star. Now please do not underestimate what I just said. She has played the highest level of AAU basketball and has watched two sisters navigate the up and downs of high school basketball. This is a young lady who is going to be totally prepared. She is 6’0 and mobile. This is the type of kid Trinity never gets as freshman. The big fish that Trinity Hall has arriving next season is Nina Emmace. She is the type of freshman Trinity Hall is not expected to get. She is one of the best freshman in the Shore. She will make a run at Freshman of the Year. This is all important because now Coach McCarthy. now has team of true basketball players. Haven Dora is an elite point guard, Emma Bradley has shown big flashes and now has tons of experience and confidence going into her senior year. Paige Jaenicke is a serious talent and got valuable experience as a freshman. She also is a gym rat. Sidney Commesso had moments last season. They is a program that is now in a good place top to bottom. This is a program that no longer is a pushover. Next season Trinity Hall just may turn the final corner.
Ella Inacio is a Division one talent and Top Freshman
Ranney next season is not going to win the SCT. But what they are going to do is lay the groundwork for the future. When you ask the question every year who had the best incoming freshman class. The names are always the same. SJV, RBC, St. Rose, Manchester, Manasquan. There are a lot of names mentioned. One name that is never on that list.. is RANNEY. Well that is about to change because the best freshman class in the shore belongs to Ranney. Carlie Lapinski is a 6’0″ forward who is a possible D1 player. Raquel Guidetti is a major talent who can score and is very athletic. Ella Inacio is a physical talented future D1 player. Carissa Frederick is a 6ft forward ho played in the 8th grade Shore All Star game. She has the potential to one day be a very good player. In B Central she will be able to gain confidence and grow early in her career. These four are a major upgrade in talent for Ranney and certainly overwhelming talent for B CENTRAL TEAMS. If that is not a enough of a shock to the B CENTRAL system. There is even more on the way.
Ranney added two transfers Morgan Lapinski formerly of Manasquan and Sarah Hughes formerly of RFH both have been in two of the best programs in the state. Sarah Hughes many believed was going to be one of the best freshman in the Shore before the season started. But was not given the time to show her talents. She is still tracking as a D1 player and still one of the best in the 2023 class. Ranney could be just what the doctor ordered. Morgan Lapinski, was the leading scorer on the Manasquan JV last season. She got caught up in a number game at Manasquan. She could be a major weapon for Coach Linney. .Ranny has just brought in 6 players who will change the entire landscape at Ranney. Coach Linney will have the pieces to work with now both on and off the court. Ranney is going to run though B CENTRAL next season. Ranney is going to be a even bigger problem as this group plays together and gets more experience. This is a young and talented core. They is a group that will live in the gym. This is a mega talented group for any team and the two transfers give them players who have been in winning environments. Ranney is knocking loudly on the door and screaming let me in to the Shore Top Teams.
So where is Trinity Hall and Ranney both at these days? Trinity Hall has some questions that must be answered. Like losing Caitlin Wingertzahn leaves a major hole to fill. If Wingertzahn was returning Trinity would be knocking on a possible serious run next season. Who is replacing Wingertzahn? Can they find or develop a legit post player? If Trinity Hall gets a post player, they could they jump into a possible Top 5 Shore ranking? But for now Trinity Hall has to like where they are right now, but a top post player would be welcomed. Ranney has excellent young talent but they are lacking in experience and there are some real questions. Like will all this young talent develop? How competitive are they as a group? How will they mix with the returning players who will now be asked to make more of a commitment? How long will it takes Hughes and Morgan Lapinski to mix in after sitting 30 days? These questions will be not be answered until things open back up. Ranney will have summer practices and Coach Linney certainly be looking to make her program look like other top programs. Both these programs are sneaking up on everyone but not me because I am paying close attention. This is a good thing in my opinion, the more good teams in the Shore and the better conference. Things are changing in the Shore Conference and its starts right here with two talented coaches taking two programs and moving them to another level…..