RBC co captain Josephine Larkins (5) makes a three pointer.

Sterns Trailer has chosen Red Bank Catholic’s Kathryn Rice as their Athlete of the Week.

Rice was high scorer with 18 points and seven rebounds in the 55-41 win over Immaculate Heart Academyto earn the NJSIAA Non-Public A championship.


Caseys trim IHA to win eighth NJSIAA title

By Jim Hintelmann

Jack Flaherty photos

With a veteran team returning, Red Bank Catholic girls basketball coach Joe Montano expected a successful season, and he wasn’t disappointed.


RBC (27-3), with one of its best teams ever, achieved a major goal Saturday when it won its 8th NJSIAA Non-Public A championship with a solid 55-41 win over Immaculate Heart Academy. It’s last championship was in 2013.

My three senior starters, (Josie Larkins, Maureen Coakley and Tia Montagne) fought back from injuries and it hasn’t been easy, but they persevered,”said Montano.


I don’t think it was our best game today,” he said. “It was a grind and a tough game, but IHA played very well. It’s the mark of a good team when you don’t play your best game and you still do what we did today. I thought that our kids a did a great job, especially in the second half.”


The win gives RBC the third seed in the Tournament of Champions, where it is scheduled to play Group I champion and sixth-seeded Bound Brook. The game was to have been played Tuesday but was postponed because of the blizzard.


Rutgers Prep, winners of 29 in a row, was top seed with Manasquan second. The Warriors earned the second seed because it beat RBC twice in the regular season, although only by a combined six points.


RBC trailed just twice at 2-0 and 4-2, and it was tied at 9-9 before RBC made its move, scoring 10 straight points to go in front to stay.


Larkins began it with a three-pointer and jumper, Hayley Moore dropped in a three-pointer and Amanda Hart closed it with a layup.


We we were eliminated by St. John Vianney in the quarter finals the past three years,” said Larkins, who will be playing at the University of Vermont next season.


We saw other teams win titles and we wanted to do it ourselves,” she said. “We’ve been at the other end the last three years and this was our last chance.


We trust each other and our coach believed in us,” Larkins said. “This was the first time that we believed it as much as he did.”


We wanted to get to the TOC this year and go all the way,” said junior Katie Rice, who was high scorer with 18 points and seven rebounds. “Our juniors and seniors are all a year older and it needed to be done this year.”


RBC had a 31-23 halftime lead and extended it to 13 points on a trey by Rice and a basket by Larkin. IHA never got closer than nine points thereafter.


RBC reached the finals with a 64-48 win over Paul VI (Haddonfield) in the semifinals as Larkins set the pace with 22 points.

RBC led from the start and moved out to a 38-23 advantage in the third quarter before PVI made a run and closed the gap to 41-34 early in the final quarter, but RBC converted 20 of 24 free throws thereafter to preserve the victory.


The only other loss for RBC this season was a 54-48 setback to SJV in the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament, but RBC avenged that setback with a 47-39 win over the Lancers in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. RBC also defeated SJV in a regular season game.

Fairytale run over for lady Devils

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

Photos by SportshotsWLB.Com

Last week the unbelievable run of the Shore Regional girls basketball team came to an end in the finals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 tournament with a 73-33 loss to top seed Bound Brook.

Shore entered the 16-team tournament as the 14 seed and started off facing the third seed squad from Middlesex. That was an exciting game as the Blue Devils had to battle back from a weak first quarter where they only scored two points. In the end they beat Middlesex 38-35 with Allie Reiser leading the way with 12 points and Emily Guo getting 10.

In the quarterfinals Shore then faced sixth seed Dunellen. This time they had an easier time and won 49-24. All eleven players that made it into the game for the Devils scored, and it was spread out as not a single player scored 10 or more points. Breanna Jackson was top scorer with nine points while Jaclyn Shapiro had seven and four players; Caitlin Donegan, Erin Rogers, Guo and Reiser each ahd six points.

In the semifinals the Devils faced the number two seed Metuchen and continued their storybook ride through the playoffs with a 50-35 victory. Jackson had a strong game netting 17 points while Guo, Reiser and Shaprio each scored eight.

Bound Brook had a rather easy trip to the finals. They beat sixteen seed Manville 70-26 to open the tournament. In the quarterfinals they crushed ninth seed Point Beach 72-19, and then faced fifth seed Riverside in the semifinals beating them 69-23.

Shore entered the tournament with less than 10 wins on the season, while Bound Brook was 10-0 in their Skyland-Mountain division and in 28 games only had three losses.

Bround Brook was very impressive with tremendous shooting and an aggressive full court pressure. During the win over the Blue Devils they had two 18-0 runs. They outscored Shore 25-8 in the first quarter, 20-7 in the second, 15-10 in the third and the final quarter 13-8. It was the second consecutive NJSIAA sectional title

Resier led all Blue Devils with 11 points in the loss. Shapiro finished with six and Brittany Sawyer scored five. Shore ends the season with a 2-10 record in the Shore Conference A Central division and 10-20 overall


Athlete of the Week

Sterns Trailer proudly pays tribute to Ocean Township High School wrestler Jake Benner as The Link News Athlete of the Week.

At the Region VI Championships this past weekend Benner not only won the 138-pound title with a pin, he also won his 100th career match.


He will be one of the favorites at the NJSIAA State Championships in Atlantic City


Jackson Memorial 50-33 over Ocean

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

Last week the Ocean boys basketball team hosted Jackson Memorial as their second to last regular season game. The game started off very competitive and the first quarter ended with Jackson Memorial holding a slight 18-12 lead over the Spartans.


The second quarter was much tighter on defense for both schools and Ocean had outscored their opponents 8-5. However, going into the halftime break Jackson Memorial was leading Ocean 23-20.

Ocean’s downfall occurred during the first eight minutes of the second half. Jackson Memorial outscored the Spartans 17-3 in the third quarter. Jack Miller was the only Ocean player to score and that was a three-point hoop.


In the fourth quarter both teams added 10 points to their totals. Jackson Memorial had enough in the tank to capture the 50-33 victory.


The Spartans didn’t have a single player score in double digits. Darius Brown and Andrew Seager both had nine points, Miller finished with eight and the only other Ocean player with points was Chris Vivian with seven.

Following the loss to Jackson Memorial the Spartans traveled to Donovan Catholic to close out their season. They put forward a better effort and beat Donovan Catholic 63-50. Seager was high man with 26 points, Miller scored 12, Vivian had 10, Brown 5, Tim McMahon and David Yatcilla each scored four and Luke Yates had two points.

Ocean plays in the Shore Conference B North division and finished 7-7 in the division and 16-9 overall. They also qualified for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 tournament. The Spartans were given the seven seed and will host the tenth seed Matawan in the opening round.


Ocean girls end season with a win

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

Friday afternoon at 3:30 the girls basketball team at Ocean Township High School hosted the Blue Bishops of Asbury Park.

. It was an unusual start time and the gym had only a few diehard fans, but it was a good 39-33 win for the Spartans.


In the first quarter against the Bishops the Spartans took complete control leading 16-4. During those opening eight minutes Morgan Bartlett scored 10 of her game-high 19 points for Ocean. The second quarter was a bit tighter, however Ocean had outscored Asbury 11-8 and took a 27-12 lead into the halftime break.


Starting the second half both schools were cold. In the third quarter Ocean bested Asbury Park 8-4. The final quarter of the game Ocean pulled their starters and allowed the bench players to get some needed floor time.

Asbury Park took advantage of that and were able to climb back to within four points of the Spartans. That’s when the starting five made their return to the game and held off a charging Blue Bishop squad, who outscored Ocean 17-4 in those last eight minutes.


Madison Mastando finished with seven points, Natalia Errico, Sanaa Finley and TT Pritzlaff each scored three points for Ocean. Tyler Bartlett and Carly Weisberg both had two.


Asbury Park, which plays in the B Central division of the Shore Conference qualified for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 tournament as the 11 seed. In the B Central they had a 5-11 record and are 6-14 overall. Kiara Wood led all Blue Bishops with 16 points.


Ocean didn’t qualify for the NJSIAA State tournament and the Asbury Park game closed out a tough season.


The Spartans play in the B North division of the Shore Conference with powerhouse schools; Manasquan, RBC, Middletown South and North, Wall, Monmouth Regional and Long Branch. So wins were difficult to notch this season.


In the B North this year the Spartans were winless going 0-14. With the win over Asbury Park they finished 5-20 for the season overall.


Local wrestlers qualify for states

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

Brick hosted the NJSIAA Regional VI Wrestling Champions this past weekend. Several local athletes punched their tickets to the State Championships which are held in Atlantic City.
One wrestler, Jake Benner of Ocean Township, had a great tournament. He won his 100th career match and also took the Region VI title for 138 pounds with a pin over Nick Wagner of Wall Township. Benner became the first
Spartan since 2012 to win a regional championship.

Here is a breakdown by weight classes of the tournament.

106 pounds: Ryan Zimmerman of Long Branch was the seventh seed. He won his first round match with a pin. Round two he upset the second seed with a 4-2 victory. In the semifinals he fell 10-4 to Nico Messina of Freehold Borough.

Jack Nies of Ocean Township was the eighth seed and he lost in by pin in the opening round.

113 pounds: Three local guys were competing. Matt Klemser of Shore Regional was given the ninth seed and won his opening round match 9-7. Round two he lost by pin to the top seed.

John Santos of Ocean Township was the tenth seed. He won his opening round match with a pin. He lost by pin in round two to the second seed.

Rev Guzman of Long Branch had the twelfth seed. He lost his opening round match 10-2.

120 pounds: Carlos Irizarry of Long Branch was the third seed. He had an opening round bye. In round two he lost 6-0 to the sixth seed.

Al DeSantis a freshman at Shore Regional was given the seventh seed. He beat his tenth seed opponent 10-3 in the opening round. He lost to the second seed 5-1 in round two, and finished in fourth place.

Adam Manzo of Ocean Township had the eighth seed. He beat the ninth seed 12-3 in the opening round. In round two he faced the top seed and lost by pin.

126 pounds: Chris Dean of Long Branch had the fifth seed. In round one he beat the twelfth 6-0. In round two he lost 12-2 to the fourth seed.

Alex Poniros of Ocean Township was the sixth seed and had a bye in the opening round. Round two he beat the third seed with a pin. The semifinals he then upset the two seed with a 3-2 victory. He lost in the finals 9-0 to the top seed.

132 pounds: Nicholas Villapiano of Ocean Township had the sixth seed. He had a bye in the opening round. Round two he lost 2-0 to the third seed.

Ethan Byrne of Red Bank Catholic had the seventh seed. He lost 9-1 to the tenth seed in the opening round.

138 pounds: Jake Benner was the top seed. He had a bye in the opening round. Round two he beat the ninth seed with a pin. Semifinals he won 8-3 over the fourth seed. In the finals he pinned his third seed opponent from Wall at 3:15.

Monmouth Regional had Tyler Flynn as the eleventh seed. He had a tough 5-6 loss in the opening round to the sixth seed.

145 pounds: Luke Arnold of Long Branch was the third seed. Opening round he beat the fourteenth seed 9-8. Round two the sixth seed beat him 8-6.
Saif Ali of Ocean had the eleventh seed and lost to the sixth seed by pin in the opening round.

156 Pounds: Jack McCrae of Shore Regional had the fourteenth seed. He lost 11-4 to the third seed in the opening round.

160 pounds: Austin Cannon of Shore Regional was the fifth seed. He had a bye in the opening round. Round two he lost by pin to the fourth seed.

170 pounds: Daniel Santos-Silva of Long Branch was the sixth seed. He beat the eleventh seed 6-4 in the opening round. Round two he lost by pin to the third seed.

Steven Cmielewski of Red Bank Catholic had the twelfth seed. He lost by pin in the opening round to the fifth seed.

182 pounds: Peter Wersinger of Long Branch was the fourth seed. Round one he had a win by pin over the thirteenth seed. Round two he lost 1-0 on a tie breaker to the fifth seed.
195 pounds: No local wrestlers competed

220 pounds: Hunter Marhan of Long Branch was the two seed. Opening round he won with a pin in 29 seconds over the fifteenth seed. Round two he lost 6-2 to the seventh seed.

Clayton Oates of Ocean Township was the sixth seed. He lost his opening round match by pin to the eleventh seed.

285 pounds: Kevin Cerruti of Long Branch had the fifth seed. Opening round the big guy won by pin over the twelfth seed. Round two he lost by sudden victory 3-1 to the fourth seed.

The top four finishers from each weight division qualify for Atlantic City. Local wrestlers going to the big show are; Benner, Poniros, Zimmerman, DeSantis, Wersinger, Marhan, and Cerrruti.

Ocean takes District 24 title

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

photos Sportshotswlb.com


Freehold Township High School hosted the NJSIAA District 24 Wrestling Championships on February 18. The Spartans of Ocean Township High School captured the team title with 171.2 points. Taking second was CBA, 167, third was Freehold Township 160.5, fourth went to Hamilton North 155.5 and Shore Regional High School took fifth with 79.6 points.


Rounding out the top ten teams was Hamilton West in sixth with 50 points followed by Notre Dame 46, Red Bank Catholic 38, Monmouth Regional 35 and Willingboro with 13 points.


Ocean had six wrestlers competing in the finals, Shore had three, RBC had two and Monmouth Regional had one wrestler going for a District Title. The Spartans had four wrestlers, Shore Regional and Monmouth Regional each had two competing for third place .


Christian Brothers Academy had the most District 24 champions with four, Ocean captured three titles, and Shore Regional came home with one.




Final Results


106: Nick Schutzenhofer (CBA) pinned Jack Nies (Ocean) 2:27


113: Richie Koehler (CBA) pinned Matt Klemser (Shore) 2:28


120: Tariq Morton (Hamilton West) beat Al DeSantis (Shore) 7-6


126: Alex Ponioros (Ocean) beat Joe Schneider (Notre Dame) 7-1


132: Nick Villapiano (Ocean) beat Ethan Byrne (RBC) 12-6


138: Jake Benner (Ocean) pinned Tyler Flynn (Monmouth) 1:33


145: Christian Recanti (CBA) beat Saif Ali (Ocean) 3-2


152: Rommy Abouelela (Hamilton North) beat Mike Cenname (freehold) 1-0


160: Austin Cannon (Shore) beat Kyle Hillermeier (Freehold) 6-3

170: Jonathan Jacobs (Hamilton North pinned Steve Cmielewski (RBC) 0:39


182: Sam Houston (CBA) beat Gabriel Williams (Hamilton North) 10-9


195: Eric Quartey (Freehold) beat Cameron DoGiorgio (CBA) 3-2


220: Devon Stokes (Hamilton North) pinned Clayton Oates (Ocean) 0:39

285: Sylvester Freeman (Hamilton North) beat Austin Colbert (Freehold) 7-1




Third place match results


106: Gregory Daloisio (Hamilton North) pinned Devon Pham (Monmouth) 1:08


113: John Santos (Ocean) major decision Alex Salkin (Freehold) 16-7



20: Adam Manzo (Ocean) major decision Brian Lee (Freehold) 9-0


126: Sam LaCorte (CBA) beat Daniel Dempsey (Hamilton North) 7-0


132: Kyle Cleary (Freehold) beat Dan Schneider (Notre Dame) 5-3



38: Ethan Diamond (CBA) beat Christian Mangini (Freehold) 8-1


145: Larson Johnson (Freehold) major decision Dean Smolokoff (Shore) 9-1


152: Jack McCrae (Shore) beat Emerson Derose (Ocean) 5-1

160: Derek Smith (CBA) beat Anthony Esposito (Ocean) 4-0


170: Ryan McGuiness (CBA) pinned Thomas Hall (Freehold) 5:33


182: Michael Carlucci (Freehold) pinned David Stout (Hamilton West) 5:07


195: Amir Murry (Willingboro) beat Ricky Voss (Monmouth) 15-8

220: Zachary Harding (Hamilton West) beat Thomas Burns (Notre Dame) 4-2


285: Daniel Oronosky (Hamilton West) beat Omas Santos (Notre Dame) 2-1


Spartans tame Huskies 49-24

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

February 6, the NJSIAA State Wrestling Tournament started and the Spartans of Ocean Township were the second seed in the Central Jersey, Group 3 bracket. They hosted and beat the seventh seed Huskies of Matawan 49-24 in the opening round.


The Spartans have six NJSIAA Sectional titles, 14 District titles, 12 Divisional titles, two State Champions, 19 Regional Champions and 100 District Champions. Cippy Apicelli, who is in his sixth season as the Spartans head coach, also celebrated a personal milestone last week winning his 100th career match. Ocean was hoping to add to the team history with a strong showing in the state tournament.


Dinner benefits veterans charities

By Walter O’Neill

Long Branch — The Strength and Honor Motorcycle Club of New Jersey, consisting of law enforcement, fire and corrections officers, held a pre-Valentine’s Day Dinner at the Long Branch Elks Club on Saturday, February 11.


Gary Watson, a police officer from Red Bank, is the chapter president.

“We hold two fundraisers a year, this dinner and a Poker Run in the summer.


The money raised from these two events is then donated to a charity that handles issues that Veterans face,” said Watson.


The club members get together and research the various charities and then vote on which one to send the funds.

They made over $1,500 on the all you can eat pasta night at the Elks