When it comes to winning on the hard court, the Roselle Catholic girls’ basketball team has been the gold standard of late in Union County.
That’s why East Orange Campus had good reason to celebrate a rare win over the Lions at Roselle Catholic.
In the final of the Roselle Catholic Holiday Tournament Dec. 30, East Orange – after previously knocking off perennial Morris County power Morris Catholic two days before – handed Roselle Catholic its first home loss in nearly three years, winning a 55-41 decision to improve to 4-0.
It was Roselle Catholic’s first loss in The Lions’ Den since Jan. of 2013 and only its second loss at home in its last 50 games.
Roselle Catholic will have the opportunity to start another home winning streak Friday when the Lions host conference-crossover foe Scotch Plains.
The Lions opened with Union County Conference-Watchung Division wins at home over Union 66-44 on Dec. 19 and over the Patrick School of Elizabeth 47-44 on Dec. 22.
Roselle Catholic’s holiday tournament victory was a 62-31 decision over Willingboro. Morris Catholic defeated Willingboro to take third place.
Roselle Catholic head coach Joe Skrec has only two girls (Jennifer McClave and Kamille Jacobs) with any significant varsity experience, so he feels that putting the ball in the basket might be most challenging at the onset.
“Will we score enough? We must and need to box out,” Skrec said, as rebounding might be even more important this year from an offensive production standpoint.
Scoring over 60 points in two of the first three games is not bad, with one of those wins over a Union team that defeated New Providence in Watchung Division play.
“Our work ethic is good and there seems to be a good camaraderie between the girls, which we hope will translate onto the court,” Skrec said.
In the win against Willingboro, junior co-captain Jennifer McClave and senior co-captain Kamille Jacobs both scored seven points in the third quarter when RC outscored Willingboro 18-6.
McClave finished with a team-high 15 points and five rebounds, while Jacobs added three steals and three rebounds.
RC sophomore point guard Tyara McQueen scored all 11 of her points in the first half to help stake the Lions to a 32-16 advantage at intermission.
RC senior co-captain Anajha Williams added seven points, three steals and three rebounds, while sophomore Ariel White chipped in with eight points and four offensive rebounds.
Willingboro’s Jasmine Fitzpatrick netted a game-high 18 points.
East Orange was led by tournament MVP Marvellous Osagie-Erese in its win over RC, with Osagie-Erese scoring a game-high 19 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter to help stave off the host Lions.
Osagie-Erese made five of six free throws in the fourth quarter, while East Orange as a team finished 18-of-26 for the game. Roselle Catholic was eight-for-18.
East Orange’s Jessica Woods, 13 points, and teammate Sahara Crawford, 11, were All-Tournament selections.
Earning All-Tournament honors from Roselle Catholic were Jacobs, 11 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists vs. East Orange; and McClave, 11 points and six rebounds against EO.
White poured in a team-high 14 points off the bench for the Lions in addition to grabbing a team-high seven rebounds vs. EO.
Ranked among the top 20 teams in the state once again, Roselle Catholic produced a combined 50-5 record the past two seasons, including a 25-3 campaign last year that began with a school record 21-0 start.
The Lions have won division titles and 20 games the past seven seasons and this year seek to win the Union County Tournament for the first time since 2014 and for the sixth time overall.
In addition to challenging division games against Union, New Providence, Patrick School, Westfield and Cranford, Roselle Catholic will also face tough squads in Pope John of Sparta and Baldwin, N.Y.
The Lions are scheduled to play at Cranford Thursday night at 7, host Scotch Plains Friday night at 7 and then face Pope John Sunday at noon in the 13th annual Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children (SFIC) High School Basketball Festival at Kean University’s Harwood Arena in Union.
NOTES: Roselle Catholic reached the Parochial B South final last year, falling to St. Rose of Belmar.
Skrec began the season – his 20th at RC – with a 329-148 (.690) record – all at RC.
Last year’s squad matched the program record for wins in a season.
Former Lion standout Amanda Sheehy, Class of 2006, is the head coach at Needham, Mass. and will bring her team to face the Lions Jan. 17.
It’s the first time Coach Skrec will face a former player as a head coach of the opposing team.
A four-year starter for the Lions, Sheehy was a member of teams that won UCT (2003) and Parochial A North (2005) championships.
All five Roselle Catholic girls’ basketball coaches – Skrec (Class of 1984), Charlie Wischusen (1970), Dennis Quigley (1976), Tim Hagan (2003) and E.J. Vaughn (1998) are Roselle Catholic graduates.
ROSELLE CATHOLIC GIRLS’ BASKETBALL
Jennifer McClave (Jr., G, 5-7)
Returning starter: (7.5 ppg, 2 apg, 1 spg)
Kamille Jacobs (Sr., G/F, 5-8)
Returning starter: (5 ppg, 4 rpg)
Tyara McQueen (So., G, 5-5) Played V/JV last season
Anaijha Williams (Sr., F, 5-10) Up from JV/Sat Varsity last season
Taniya Hanner (Fr., F, 5-11)
Jenissa Encarnacion (Fr., G, 5-5)
Jahnya Boschulte (Jr., F, 5-10) Transfer student from Virgin Islands
Ariel White (So., F, 5-11) Up from JV
Coralie Saint-Amanda (Sr., G, 5-7) Up from JV
Aanisah Moorer (Jr., G, 5-6) Will play JV & Varsity
Victoria Jacobs (So. G, 5-7) Will play JV & Varsity