Team effort sparks girls

By: Rich Fisher
   The South Brunswick High girls basketball team not only had a strong opening night performance, but everybody got into the act.
   The Vikings had balanced scoring up and down the lineup in taking a 61-46 victory over visiting Edison in a Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division battle Friday night.
   Jessica Mastronardi led the way with 17 points and Janelle Payne added 10 points and six rebounds. But the points did not stop there. Janay Barnett had eight points, five steals and six assists, Alicia Langone had seven points, Sam Rene’ had six points and six rebounds and Stephanie Zucker had six points off the bench. Susie Miller also contributed off the pine, collecting four points and three rebounds as the Vikings pulled away in the first half.
   Many of the Vikings points came off the press, allowing them easy baskets in transition.
   "We work a lot on transition," coach Jaymee Boehmer said. "So we were glad to see that.
   "We tried three different presses, that kind of keeps them guessing. We’d like to keep doing that. If one press works well, we’ll try a different press and see how that works."
   One key to the press is the play of frontliners Rene’, Payne and Langone. Boehmer was happy how they played together for the first time on Friday.
   "I felt good with them," she said. "That’s my best lineup for the press, we still have to see how it works offensively. We shot well tonight, but we have to see how we’ll do against a bigger, more physical team. Edison wasn’t really that big."
   And yet, the Eagles were able to outrebound the Vikings, 42-23. Boehmer knows her team needs to start boxing out more.
   "We played hard, we played our best and the outcome was good," Barnett said. "But rebounding was a problem."
   Having Barnett is hardly a problem, however, as the sophomore point guard supplies a strong presence on both ends of the court.
   "Janay is an excellent point guard," Boehmer said. "As soon as she came out in the second quarter it totally changed everything. She’s a kid that needs to be in the game all the time. She’s en excellent player and she makes things happen."
   Barnett had a solid freshman campaign last year, and hopes to improve on that this season.
   "I’m just looking to make less mistakes than I did last year, and for the team to go to GMC finals," Barnett said.
   "Turnovers, not listening," she said with a smile.
   Barnett hopes to increase her scoring from her eight point average of last year, but realizes her first priority is to distribute the ball. And defensively, her quickness makes her dangerous.
   "I was never much of an offensive player, I was a defensive stopper on the court," she said. "But this year I want to try to average double figures."
   "She’s a good defensive presence up top," Mastronardi said. "And she can get other people the ball and drive or dish."
   And the best news is, she’s around for another three years.
   "Yeah," Boehmer said with a grin. "We’re excited about that."
   BUZZER BEATERS: The Vikings took an 8-0 lead against the Eagles and never looked back, opening their largest margin at 46-25 . . . On Monday, South beat Roxbury, 58-28 as Mastronardi had 19 points, followed by Payne (13) and Jordan Confessore (10).