Marlboro Middle School girls win a county title

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

Staff Writer

Teams knew what was coming when they played the Marlboro Middle School’s sixth/seventh-grade girls basketball team.

Doing something about it, however, was something else.

Armed with a deep and athletic team, coach Maria Cetta applied the full-court pressure on teams.

“We played a zone press that rattled teams and led to turnovers,” she said.

Those turnovers, in turn, became Marlboro baskets.

“All of our points came off fast breaks,” said Cetta. “We pushed the ball up the court.”

Those points translated to Marlboro Middle School victories, and eventually a championship. The Hawks went 14-2 in 2006-07 and won the Monmouth County Elementary School Basketball League championship. After an 11-2 regular season, the Hawks were 3-0 in the playoffs, beating Howell South, 32-23, in the championship game. They became the first girls sixth/seventh-grade team from the school to win the county championship.

Marlboro and Howell South had split their two regular season games and fittingly, the rubber match was for the league title. The Hawks started slowly before turning the game around in the second half, as they usually did, with defense.

“I told the girls that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, relax and play your game and have fun,” said Cetta.

Fun became winning basketball as the Hawks made school history with their triumph over Howell South.

Besides their zone press, the Hawks threw a 3-2 zone at Howell South that they had trouble solving.

When Cetta first put the team together, she knew she had four seventh-graders she could build the team around. Then, she got her first look at the sixth-graders and how many talented players there were in the group. With that, she knew she had a very deep squad that could press teams for four quarters. She also had a team that wouldn’t be dependent upon one or two players to do the bulk of the scoring. Any player she had on the court at any one time could score.

Cetta paid the Hawks the highest of compliments when she pointed out how into the game they were. She hadn’t seen anything like that at the school since Brina Pollack was leading the Hawks to the eighth-grade league championship before starring at Marlboro and leading the Mustangs to a State Group IV championship. It’s that devotion to the game that has made these Hawks a champion and a good sign that Marlboro High School basketball could be on the way back.

Dara Ades, Ally Weinberg and Rachel Neuman, all seventh-graders, were the team’s league all-stars.

Ades and sixth-grader Erica Goldman shared the point guard duties, with each running the transition game smoothly.

Cathryn Chukuka, Danielle Corrado, Juhi Goldman, Megan Hilla, Sydney Krug, Jessica Mezzino and Samantha Weisman all made their contributions to the league championship.

Amanda Balbi and RoxAnne Shweky were the team’s managers.