Lawrenceville’s Notre Dame High School basketball team displays some new hardware for its trophy case after defeating host Woodstown, 41-30, in the Wolverine Tournament championship game Dec. 29. Courtesy photo
Lawrenceville’s Notre Dame High School basketball team displays some new hardware for its trophy case after defeating host Woodstown, 41-30, in the Wolverine Tournament championship game Dec. 29. Courtesy photo

The holidays have given way to a new year, but the memories of holiday basketball tournaments still burn bright for Diocese of Trenton high schools as three girls teams and one boys squad earned championships.

Here’s a look at the DOT success stories over the Christmas break.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Red Bank Catholic was never close to being threatened in the WOBM Holiday Classic. The Caseys rolled to the tournament championship by defeating three opponents by an average of 35.5 points, with Justine Pissott picking up Most Valuable Player honors.

It marked the first time coach Joe Montano’s program has won the highly competitive tournament, and the first time it reached the finals since 2013 (although this was only the fourth time it entered the event).

RBC (6-1 record), ranked No. 7 in New Jersey by nj.com, opened with a 64-15 win over Colts Neck behind the scoring of Pissott (16 points), Christina Liggio (15) and Ally Carman (10).

One day later, Pissott had 19 while Carman and Casey Prior scored 10 apiece in 59-21 victory over Rumson-Fair Haven.

In the Dec. 30 title game at the RWJ Barnabas Health Arena in Toms River, Pissott and Carman led a balanced attack with 11 points and six rebounds each in a 55-36 win over Manasquan. Emma Carman added nine points, Ally Carman and Prior had seven apiece and Liggio chipped in with six.

St. John Vianney (7-0) is ranked No. 1 in the state by nj.com and No. 9 in the nation by MaxPreps, and the Holmdel-based Lancers lived up to that lofty status by defeating two nationally ranked teams.  

SJV played in the top division of the Tampa Bay Christmas Invitational Showcase and defeated all three of its Florida-based opponents. Junior guard Zoe Brooks was named tournament MVP.  

The Lancers topped DME Academy of Florida 62-56, as Brooks had 26 points and five steals; Madison St. Rose collected 24 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals; and Megan Cahalan added eight points, six rebounds and three steals. DME Academy, ranked No. 7 nationally by MaxPrep, suffered its only loss in 18 games.

In the semifinals, SJV topped Lake Highland Prep, Orlando, 72-59. Lake Highland was ranked No. 18 nationally by MaxPrep. St. Rose exploded for 32 points, while Brooks had 23 points, five rebounds and seven steals. Ashley O’Connor contributed five assists.

The New Year’s Day championship game saw the Lancers roll to a 67-55 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas, Ft. Lauderdale, ranked No. 3 in Florida. St. Rose had 25 points, six rebounds, five steals, four assists and three blocked shots, while Brooks added 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. Janie Bachmann had six rebounds and O’Connor dished out four assists.

St. Rose High School, Belmar, endured an eight-day, COVID-related layoff and returned in a big way on Jan. 2. Trailing by 17 points early in the second half, the Purple Roses rallied for a 39-36 victory over Chatham High School in the North vs. South Showcase at Spotswood High School.

Rosie Scognamiglio scored 19 points for St. Rose, including nine in the decisive fourth quarter when the Roses outscored Chatham 14-2. Julia Whesper added 14 points and hit a free throw with 20.2 seconds left to give St. Rose a 37-36 advantage it would not relinquish.

St. Rose, ranked No. 12 in nj.com’s state rankings, carries a 4-0 record into its Jan. 7 contest at Wall.

Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, brought home the prize from south Jersey as the Irish won the Wolverine Tournament at Woodstown High School.

In the opener, Nicole Villalta-Barrantes scored 16 points in a 40-23 win over Paulsboro. Juliana Lynch added six for the Irish.

ND (4-1) defeated host Woodstown, 41-30 in the Dec. 29 championship game as Villalta-Barrantes tallied 19 and Sara Farnan had seven.  

BOYS BASKETBALL

Christian Brothers Academy of Holmdel made a strong early-season statement by upsetting Ranney in the Dec. 30 championship game to win the Albert E. Martin Buc Holiday Classic at Red Bank Regional High School.

The third-seeded Colts needed overtime, but were able to defeat top-seeded Ranney, 55-49.

CBA (6-0) opened play with a 50-43 victory over Red Bank, as tournament MVP Pat Lautato popped in 13 points. The Colts did a good job of putting the game away at the foul line, hitting 11 of 13 free throws in the final quarter. Peter Noble added 11 points, while Will Bradley and Joe White each had eight.

One night later, CBA held off a fourth-quarter surge by Rumson-Fair Haven to take a 52-48 semifinal victory. Bradley had 26 points and Noble added 11.

In the Dec. 30 championship game, Geoff Billet’s squad got 18 points from Bradley and 17 from Lautato to hand Ranney its first loss of the season. Bradley’s free throw sent the game into overtime, while Lautato added 11 rebounds and five assists.

The Colts kept the magic going entering the new year, taking a 66-60 overtime victory Jan. 4 over Marlboro High School, ranked No. 9 in the state by nj.com. Lautato had 23, Bradley 14 and White 13.

Red Bank Catholic (6-1) reached the championship game of the WOBM Classic before dropping a 61-58 decision to Marlboro Dec. 30 at the NJ Barnabas Health Arena in Toms River.

RBC opened with a 47-34 win over Jackson Memorial, as Gioacchino Panzini scored 11 of his game-high 17 points in the second half.

In the semifinals, Panzini had 22 points and 13 rebounds in a 59-41 victory over St. John Vianney. Alex Bauman added 15 and CJ Ruoff had 12 for RBC, while the Lancers got 18 from Nate Williams and 11 from Dylan Seay. It was the lone loss of the year thus far for the Lancers (8-1).

In the championship game on Dec. 30 the Caseys fell to Marlboro despite 14 points each from Gioacchino Panzini and Zach Meeks and 13 from Ruoff.

St. John Vianney finished third in the WOBM Tournament by defeating Manchester, 68-64, in the Dec. 30 consolation game. Omar Calderon had 24 points for the Lancers, while Williams added 18 and Seay had 10.

In a first-round game, Williams exploded for 34 points and Seay chipped in with 10.

St. Rose of Belmar won its first-round game of the Neptune Holiday Jubilee, 57-47 over host Neptune High. But the championship game with Payne Tech was canceled.

In the win over the Fliers, Luke Farrell had 22 points and Nick DiNatale added 15 for the Purple Roses (2-1).

After dropping the opener of the Irish Christmas Classic to Lansdale Catholic (Pa.), Lawrenceville host Notre Dame won the third-place consolation game, 70-34 over Buena Dec. 29. Stesher Mathelier led the way with 16 points and eight rebounds, with other contributions coming from Donovan Cottrell (13 points), Jack Croce (12) and Carter Louderback (10).

Mathelier had 13 points and 12 rebounds in a 41-35 loss to Lansdale Catholic, and Cottrell added 11 points.