Vikes learn lessons at their own tourney

By: Carolyn M. Hartko
   The annual South Brunswick High School girls’ basketball Holiday Classic just keeps getting bigger and better. In order to insure three games (instead of two) for all participants, the tournament expanded to eight teams this year, drawing some top notch competitors like Immaculata, Bridgewater-Raritan and Piscataway.
   "We have very good teams in the tournament, and that’s always good for us because we’re in the (Greater Middlesex Conference’s) Red Division," SBHS head coach and tournament host Jaymee Boehmer said after the second round. "I think we’ve learned a good lesson here, and I really hope (Tuesday) we come out strong and rebound for the last game of the tournament."
   The painful part of that lesson learned came in Monday’s second-round loss to Bridgewater/Raritan 55-40. The visitors nailed a three-pointer two minutes into the semifinal and never looked back. The Vikings trailed 15-10 after the first period, and were down 26-15 at the half. Bridgewater’s Melanie Gibbons led all scorers with 18 points, and Melanie Cubas had two treys in her 16 point total.
   At one point in the fourth quarter, South was down by 20 points. A nine point run sparked hopes of a come back, but outscoring B-R 19-18 in the final stanza was not enough to close the gap. Jess Mastronardi got things going when she made the front half of a 1-and-1. Heather Domotor hit for three, and Jessie Harbison followed suit. Pam Weiss put the cap on the run by sinking both free throws after she was fouled on the floor. Domotor paced the Vikings with 13 points, including two three pointers. Mastronardi finished with 10, and Weiss tossed in seven.
   Part of South’s problem on Monday was the fact that their shots weren’t falling. The Vikings were 11-for-59 (less than 20 percent) from the floor, and 11-for-24 from the line. Boehmer was not pleased.
   "We talked about it in the locker room," the coach said. "Bridgewater’s a good club, but it’s really hard to compete when your team doesn’t make the baskets. I think that hurt us. It was a great effort, and we came within 10 in the fourth quarter. Then we couldn’t push past that. They stalled, and we had to foul."
   Bridgewater (4-0) was slated to play Immaculata (4-0) in the tournament final on Tuesday, while South Brunswick (2-1) and West Windsor-Plainsboro faced off for third place.
   The host school did better in the first round, held last Saturday, when they beat Union 50-40. Domotor had 15 of her 20 points to lead a second-half Viking rally, Alicia Langone had 16 rebounds and eight points, and Sam Littlejohn added seven points. "It was a really good game for us because we came out strong, then only scored four points in the second quarter," Boehmer said. "We were down by one at the half, and then we came back and scored 19 in the third quarter to pull away. It was a good learning opportunity for us because we were down and came back and did very well. It was a very physical game for both teams. It was a very good win for us."