Stesher Mathelier collected 21 points and 12 rebounds to help Lawrenceville's Notre Dame High School to an upset victory over Ranney in the Buc Holiday Classic. Rich Fisher photo
Stesher Mathelier collected 21 points and 12 rebounds to help Lawrenceville's Notre Dame High School to an upset victory over Ranney in the Buc Holiday Classic. Rich Fisher photo

They are called “the Holidays” but they aren’t really time off for high school basketball teams, as holiday tournaments have been in full swing for Diocese of Trenton schools this week.

Highlighting the girls’ efforts have been St. John Vianney of Holmdel, which went 2-0 while hosting the Hoopfest Holiday Invitational Round Robin tournament, and Red Bank Catholic, which meets Manasquan in the championship game of the Ray Cervino Bracket in the WOBM Classic Dec. 30.

On the boys side, St. Rose of Belmar will meet host Red Bank Regional in the Dec. 30 championship game of the Albert E. Martin Buc Holiday Classic.

Highlights of how DOT teams fared during the week are as follows:


St. John Vianney, the defending NJSIAA Tournament of Champions champ, has started the season 6-0 and ranked No. 1 in the Top 20. The Lancers easily won their two Hoopfest Invitational games over New Providence, 68-43, and Westfield, 77-36.

Zoe Brooks was unstoppable in the two games, as she amassed 59 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 19 steals to lead the Lancers. In the win over previously unbeaten New Providence, Bre Delaney had 10 points and four rebounds, Janie Bachmann tallied nine points and four boards and Ashley Sofilkanich had eight points and six rebounds. Against Westfield, Julia Karpell collected 16 points and five assists.

St. Rose (5-1), ranked No 7 in New Jersey, defeated Union City 68-41 in the Hoopfest Invitational, but fell to New Providence, 43-39, for its first loss of the season.

Rosie Scognamiglio led four Purple Rose players in double figures with 13 points against Union City, to go along with six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Cassidy Kruesi added 12 points, while Julia Whesper and Maggie Cavanaugh had 10 apiece. Cavanaugh had a strong all-around game with seven rebounds, five assists and six steals, and Jada Lynch amassed six points, six rebounds and six assists.

Trailing New Providence by seven after three quarters, St. Rose battled back to force overtime by holding the Pioneers to two fourth-quarter points. But the state’s No. 9 ranked team shut down the Purple Roses in overtime to claim the win. Scognamiglio had 15 in defeat and Kruesi chipped in with nine.  

Top-seeded Red Bank Catholic carries a 6-0 record and No. 8 ranking into its WOBM title game with second-seeded Manasquan (4-1), which is ranked 11th in New Jersey. The Caseys won their quarterfinal 70-12 over 8th-seeded Lacey. Christina Liggio led the way with 15 points followed by Addy Nyemchek (12 points, nine rebounds) and Tessa Liggio (10 points). In the semifinals, Sophie Smith tallied 12 points and Casey Prior 11 in a 74-17 victory over 5th-seeded Middletown South.  

In other Ray Cervino Bracket action, Gabby Ross scored 21 points but it wasn’t enough to save 4th-seeded Donovan Catholic of Toms River from a 52-28 first-round loss to Middletown South.

The Griffins bounced back in their consolation semifinal for their first win of the season, taking a 45-38 win over 6th-seeded Lacey. Ross had 19 points and seven rebounds, while Marli Main scored nine points and Brooke Bowbliss had nine rebounds. But in the consolation final, 8th-seeded Central Regional of Bayville took a 37-33 win over DC despite 13 points and eight rebounds from Ross.  

Notre Dame of Lawrenceville got 14 points from Simone Pintinalli and 12 from Anna Primerano in a 46-37 win over Ridge in the first round of the Ridge Holiday Invitational. The Irish fell to undefeated Randolph, 56-33 in a second-round game despite 10 points from Primerano and seven points and five rebounds apiece from Juliana Lynch and Sara Farnan.  


St. Rose (6-0) advanced to the Buc Holiday championship game with decisive victories in the first two rounds.

The 2nd-seeded Purple Roses opened with a 65-39 win over 7th-seeded Long Branch, as Jayden Hodge continued his stellar freshman season with 18 points, three assists and three steals. Jayden’s big brother, junior Matthew Hodge, added 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists, while freshman Tyler Cameron chipped in with a dozen points.

That set up a semifinal battle of unbeatens between St. Rose and 6th-seeded Notre Dame, with the Roses prevailing, 58-37. Matthew Hodge had 23 points while Bryan Ebeling, who was battling some sickness, scored 12 and Jayden Hodge tallied 11. Stesher Mathelier had 23 points for the Irish but St. Rose held the remainder of the team to just 14 points.  

Notre Dame upset 3rd-seeded Ranney, 58-50, in the quarterfinals to win their fifth straight to open the season under first-year coach Tim Stevens. Mathelier had a monster game with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while John Merluse added 16 points and Donovan Cottrell added 14.

Top-seeded CBA of Lincroft opened the Buc Holiday tourney with a 73-43 quarterfinal victory over 8th-seeded Middletown North before being upset by 5th-seeded Red Bank in the semifinals.

Will Bradley led a balanced attack against the Lions with 19 points, followed by Peter Noble (13), Joe White (12), Justin Fuerbacher (nine) and Colin Torres (eight). In the loss to Red Bank, which dropped the Colts to 2-3, Bradley had 14 points and Fuerbacher added 10 points and seven rebounds.

The Colts and Notre Dame will meet in the third-place game Dec. 30.      

Red Bank Catholic, Donovan Catholic and St. John Vianney all competed in the WOBM Tournament in Toms River, but only RBC got to a consolation final, as the Caseys meet Colts Neck for third place in the Steve Gepp Bracket Dec. 30.

Fourth-seeded RBC opened with a 59-48 win over 5th-seeded Manchester, as Colin Cavanaugh tallied a game-high 24, while Tyler Burnham added 10. Pasquale Sabino and Ryan Prior chipped in with eight apiece.

In the Gepp semifinals, Jackson Memorial pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 59-48 win over the Caseys, which leaves RBC playing the Cougars for third place. Despite holding the Jaguars scoreless for a stretch of over eight minutes in the first half RBC could not put Jackson away and led by just one at halftime. Burnham canned 24 for RBC and Sabino added nine.

In another first-round Gepp bracket tilt, 2nd-seeded Freehold Township edged Donovan Catholic, 52-49, despite 18 points from Brian Farrell. Jack Malek and Matt Gerrity tossed in eight apiece for the Griffins, who built a 24-16 halftime lead but could not hold on.

Donovan Catholic dropped its consolation semifinal to 3rd-seeded Toms River North. Brian Farrell collected 15 in defeat and Pete Farlekas added nine.

In the Jim Ruhnke bracket, 2nd-seeded St. John Vianney was upset by 6th-seed Toms River East, 64-62. Sophomore Aidan Ur led the offense with 15 points, while Connor Howard had 12 points and eight rebounds, Emanuel Domingo tallied 12 points and Kyle Verriest collected 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lancers followed with a 56-51 loss to Central in a consolation semifinal, as SJV could not hold on to a 46-33 advantage heading into the third quarter. Domingo had a big game with 14 points, 11 rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals; while Howard had 11 points and Ur added nine.