Trenton Catholic Academy celebrates their 53-48 victory over Rutgers Prep March 11 in the  Non-Public B South game. Rich Hundley photo
Trenton Catholic Academy celebrates their 53-48 victory over Rutgers Prep March 11 in the Non-Public B South game. Rich Hundley photo
Editor's Note: Since the time of this publication, the NJSIAA championships have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Trenton Catholic Academy and Holmdel’s St. John Vianney will both be playing for girls basketball state championships March 14 in Toms River.

Sophomore Madison St. Rose scored 21 points to pace SJV to a 67-54 victory over defending champion St. Rose of Belmar in the NJSIAA Non-Public A South championship game March 11 in Long Branch. It was the Lancers first sectional title since 2016, when they went on to win the Tournament of Champions.

In the Non-Public B South game, freshman Aalyah Del Rosario collected 17 points and 25 rebounds in Trenton Catholic Academy’s 53-48 victory over Rutgers Prep. Fellow ninth-grader Zoe Brooks scored 13 points and made four straight foul shots in the waning seconds to secure TCA’s second consecutive sectional championship.

Photo Gallery: SJV v. St. Rose - NJSIAA Non-Public A South championship

St. John Vianney’s victory avenged last year’s 61-54 loss to St. Rose in the SJ title game, and a 47-43 setback to the Purple Roses in the 2018 sectional semifinal.

SJV (28-1), which has not lost to a New Jersey opponent this season, will carry a 13-game winning streak into Saturday’s championship game against Immaculate Heart (26-2) in the RWJ Barnabas Health Arena at Toms River North High School.

Madison St. Rose has averaged 19.3 points per game in state tournament wins over Mount St. Mary, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Purple Roses, who SJV also defeated in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals. Katie Hill tallied 15 points and 7 rebounds against St. Rose, while Christina Whitehead had 13 points. Brynn Farrell led the Purple Roses (22-8) with 21 points and Makayla Andrews had 14 points and 8 rebounds.

Madison St. Rose had nine of her points in a pivotal third-quarter run, when coach Dawn Karpell’s squad  stretched a five-point halftime advantage to nine entering the final period.

SJV, which does not have a senior on the roster, will meet Immaculate Heart for the first time since defeating the Blue Eagles, 72-31, in the 2016 Non-Public A championship game.

IHA is making its ninth straight appearance in the finals, where it is 1-7 against Diocese teams from the Shore Conference since 2012.  IHA won its last state title by defeating SJV in 2015. In the other seven games, it lost three times to St. Rose and two times each to SJV and Red Bank Catholic.

For TCA (28-1), it’s victory was much tighter than the 67-47 triumph over Rutgers Prep on Feb. 18. Trenton Catholic trailed by one entering the final period and got a huge play from Brooks to help rally the Iron Mikes to victory. 

Trailing by one, the Argonauts came up with a steal and were seeking the go-ahead lay-up before Brooks blocked the shot and started a fast-break lay-up the other way for TCA. After Rutgers Prep got within 49-48, Brooks hit four straight free throws to clinch it.

The victory avenged a 58-54 loss to the Argonauts in the 2018 championship game.

Coach Bob Fusik’s Iron Mikes, who are unbeaten against New Jersey teams this year, have won 25 straight entering the Non-Public B championship game against defending champion Saddle River Day (23-3) Saturday in Toms River.

It’s a rematch of last year’s title game, when Saddle River took a 79-67 victory over the Mikes in the first meeting ever between the two schools. Michelle Sidor had 30 points for the winners but has since graduated.

The Rebels are making their third straight appearance in the finals, having lost to St. Rose two years ago. The Mikes are seeking their first state crown since winning back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011.