ROSELLE – Freshman guard Jennifer McClave scored the game’s final five points, including the game-winning shot with 8.1 seconds left, to lift Roselle Catholic to a 41-38 win over Morris Catholic in Monday night’s Roselle Catholic Tournament girls’ basketball championship game at Roselle Catholic.
Both highly-regarded parochial school teams entered the contest with identical 3-0 records.
With Roselle Catholic out of timeouts, senior point guard Kate Tobie – from the lane – passed the ball to McClave on the right side, with McClave sinking a two-handed shot for Roselle Catholic’s only 3-point basket.
To add to her heroics, McClave wrestled away the Morris Catholic in-bound pass – made with four seconds left – near midcourt and was fouled. McClave, who finished with nine points, then made both free throw attempts with just 1.4 seconds remaining.
Morris Catholic’s final shot, from beyond midcourt, fell way short.
McClave came back in the game when Roselle Catholic starter Allieyah Cubbage left late in the third quarter with an eye injury after grabbing an important defensive rebound. Cubbage did not return and finished with four points.
In a game of runs, Roselle Catholic closed the contest on a 6-0 surge to improve to 4-0.
Morris Catholic, with three wins by an average of 34 points, fell to 3-1. The Crusaders were 27-2 last year, captured their ninth Morris County Tournament championship and repeated as North Jersey, Non-Public B sectional champions.
Roselle Catholic is the favorite to capture this year’s Union County Tournament championship, which would be its fifth and first since 2011.
The Lions were also sparked by Tournament MVP Tori Poszonyi, who poured in a game-high 18 points, including 8-of-9 from the free throw line, missing only her final attempt.
Pozsonyi, a senior who will continue playing at Colgate, was also 8-of-9 from the free throw line and scored a career-high 26 points in Friday’s first round 61-53 victory vs. Bayonne.
Roselle Catholic played well defensively against high-scoring Morris Catholic senior point guard Alexa Giuliano, with Tobie, then McClave, then Poszonyi guarding her in man-to-man. Giuliano did lead the Crusaders with 15 points, but made only three 3-pointers – all in the second quarter. They were also all three of the field goal attempts she was successful on.
Giuliano entered the game with 71 points for a 24-point average. She made 15 3-point field goals in her first three games.
Against Roselle Catholic, Giuliano made 3-of-11 field goal attempts, including 0-for-4 in the first quarter, 3-for-4 in the second, 0-for-3 in the third and 0-for-0 in the fourth.
The Crusaders received a fine effort from senior guard Charlotte Schum, who scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half, including nine in the third quarter. Schum was able to score outside – she hit one 3-pointer – and made layups from both sides of the basket.
Roselle Catholic went on an 8-0 run to take an 8-2 lead in the first quarter and then put together a 9-0 surge bridging the first and second periods to take a 17-6 advantage.
After a well-timed Morris Catholic timeout, the Crusaders came back with quick back-to-back baskets by Giuliano – her first field goal in five attempts and her first 3-pointer – and Claire Johnson, which was a layup off an assist from Giuliano.
Morris Catholic extended the run to 11 straight points to take back the lead at 19-17 when Giuliano sank her third 3-pointer. The Crusaders led 19-18 at intermission.
A 6-0 run (two Pozsonyi free throws and baskets by Cubbage and Tobie) by Roselle Catholic gave the Lions back the lead at 26-23 midway through the third quarter. Morris Catholic scored the final two third quarter baskets (consecutive hoops by Schum) to lead 29-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
Johnson hit a shot from the left side to give Morris Catholic back the lead at 33-32 with four minutes left. It was at that point that Tobie picked up her fourth foul, but remained in the game.
Giuliano made two free throws for her and also her team’s final points to give the Crusaders a 38-35 advantage with 51.7 seconds left.
Johnson then came up with a steal and was fouled by Ashley Skrec. Johnson missed the ensuing free throw, with Dolapo Balugon grabbing the rebound.
Roselle Catholic called its final timeout with 24.1 seconds to go. Balogun took a shot inside that missed, but grabbed the offensive rebound and went back up with the ball and was fouled. Balogun made the first of her two free throws to pull the Lions to within 38-36.
After Balogun missed her second free throw, Tobie grabbed the rebound. A jump ball call by the referee gave possession back to the Lions with 17.3 seconds left.
McClave passed to Skrec, who passed to Tobie. Leaning a bit forward, Tobie saw McClave open on the right side and dished off.
McClave, who made consecutive baskets in the second quarter, showed the poise of a senior by making a shot many Roselle Catholic basketball fans will remember for some time.
ROSELLE CATHOLIC TOURNAMENT:
Morris Catholic 55, Msgr. Scanlan (N.Y.) 32
Roselle Catholic 61, Bayonne 53
Third place:Bayonne 45, Msgr. Scanlan (N.Y.) 36
First place: Roselle Catholic 41, Morris Catholic 38
ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM:
Charlotte Schum, Morris Catholic
Alexa Giuliano, Morris Catholic
Dolapo Balogun, Roselle Catholic
Kate Tobie, Roselle Catholic
Tori Pozsonyi, Roselle Catholic
ROSELLE CATHOLIC TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP
MORRIS CATHOLIC (3-1) 6 13 10 9 – 38
ROSELLE CATHOLIC (4-0) 13 5 10 13 – 41
MORRIS CATHOLIC CRUSADERS (38):
42-Alexa Giuliano, senior, 0-3-6-15
4-Claire Johnson, junior, 3-0-0-6
30-Charlotte Schum, senior, 5-1-0-13
35-Anna Toke, senior, 1-0-0-2
44-Kate Feeney, junior, 0-0-2-2
11-Rachel Mills, sophomore, 0-0-0-0
Starters: Mills, Schum,
Toke, Giuliano, Feeney.
ROSELLE CATHOLIC LIONS (41):
23-Jennifer McClave, freshman, 2-1-2-9
4-Dolapo Balogun, junior, 3-0-2-8
32-Tori Pozsonyi, senior, 5-0-8-18
14-Kate Tobie, senior, 1-0-0-2
12-Allieyah Cubbage, junior, 2-0-0-4
21-Ashley Skrec, junior, 0-0-0-0
22-Christina Truncale, junior, 0-0-0-0
Starters: Balogun, Tobie,
Skrec, Cubbage, Pozsonyi.