By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
The lady Spartans of Ocean Township are ranked thirteenth in the state in basketball, and for the second consecutive season, they have won their division in the Shore Conference. This is a very special group of players as the starting five have been together for two years now and have an incredible 39-9 record as a group.
Monday night, they hosted the Hornets of Holmdel in a non-divisional game. It didn’t start off as if the Spartans are a top ranked team, but mind you, Holmdel is a team filled with size and one player, Allison Cannon, that was 25 points away from scoring her 1,0000th point.
In that opening quarter, Kayden Clark, scored seven of her game-leading 24 points. Only two other Ocean players scored in that quarter, Gamila Betton and Sofia Chebookjian each with two points.
The Hornets held a 16-11 lead on Ocean after the first quarter.
During the second quarter Ocean had a better offensive performance as they scored 14 points. This time however, four players found the net. Kayden had five points, Jineen Ayyash had three, and Eli Clark, and Caroline Bariscillo had a bucket. Going into the halftime break, Holmdel held a slight 28-25 lead.
Michael Lazur, head coach of the Spartans, never sits during the game. He is constantly pacing back and forth shouting plays and encouraging his squad. He must have given them some pep talk during the break, because Ocean came out and scored 38 points, 19 in both the third and fourth quarters. They also held the Hornets to 26 second-half points.
Ocean took the 63-54 victory and improved to 16-3 overall and are perfect 5-0 in the B Central division of the Shore Conference. Following the Spartans in the divisional standings are Shore Regional, Monmouth Regional, Lakewood, Donovan Catholic and Jackson Liberty.
Holmdel slips to 10-7 overall and are 3-1 in the A Coastal division. They are currently in second place within their division, which has St. John Vianney on top. Freehold Borough follows Holmdel, then Raritan, Manasquan and Long Branch.
Kayden Clark was high scorer for Ocean with 24 points, she also had one rebound and three steals. Her older sister Eli finished with 20 points, and is now 17 points away from scoring her 1,000th career point. Eli also had five rebounds, five assists, and one steal. Finishing with seven points was Ayyash, who also had four rebounds, three assists and one block. Betton scored six points and pulled down 10 rebounds and stole the ball twice. Chebookjian had four points, three rebounds, one assists, one block and two steals.
Ocean has only two regular season games left. On February 1 they play at Henry Hudson at 5:30 p.m., when Eli Clark should reach the 1,000 point mark. Their last scheduled game is on February 3, at St. Thomas Aquinas at 4:45 p.m.
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