Red Bank Catholic Girls Hope To Take Next Step In 2018 By John Sorce


RED BANK – Only one game separated the Red Bank Catholic girls basketball team and the Tournament of Champions title game last season.


The Caseys are coming off a season that saw them go 28-4, win the NJSIAA Non-Public A Championship and fall to Manasquan in the Tournament of Champions semifinals.

“Last year was really rewarding from a standpoint that they worked so hard,” Head coach Joe Montano said. “For me, it was very enjoyable because of the fact they put the team first. It was fun for all of us.”

The Caseys return this season with three seniors who are committed to play Division 1 basketball – Katie Rice (Lehigh), Rose Caverly (Vermont) and Hayley Moore (Binghamton) next fall.

“It was a really long, stressful process but I had great mentors like Coach Montano and my father to help me with it,” Rice said on her commitment to Lehigh. “I took a lot of visits there in the spring and summer and I just really felt at home at Lehigh. I really liked the academic part of it and I liked all the girls on the team.”

“It’s been really enjoyable,” Montano said about Rice. “She’s a coaches’ daughter, so she’s extremely smart. She understands the game and plays every possession at 100 miles an hour. That inspires the other girls to elevate their play to that level. She loves the game and anytime you have a kid that loves what they’re doing, they’re really fun to be around.”

Caverly returns as a senior and the team’s point guard. Montano mentioned her ability to control the ball and shoot from 3-point range as true assets.

“Anytime you put the ball in a kid’s hands, you want to keep it with your team. Her assist to turnover ratio has been as good as anybody I’ve ever had,” Montano said about Caverly. “She gets the ball to the right people and more importantly, she doesn’t throw it to the other team. She spends a lot of time in the gym and she shot 46 percent from 3-point range last year. When you have a point guard who doesn’t turn it over and hits threes at that level at the high school level, you have something that most teams don’t.”

Being in the same position for 28 years, Montano has seen a lot over the years. But this is a team he enjoys coaching because they play the game hard.

“It’s hard to compare over the years, but this group plays the game the right way,” Montano said. “They share the ball and compete on every possession. They’re up there with some of the better teams we’ve had and as a coach, anytime you have a team that can do those kind of things, it makes them a fun team to coach.”

Red Bank Catholic hopes to take its experience from last season and take that final step in 2017-18. Being there last season helped, but they did graduate some key seniors from last year. How the younger players, like freshman guard Sophia Sabino and sophomore guard Maddie Fagan, contribute right away can prove to determine just how far this team can go.

“I told the girls the other day that when we get to February, that’s when we want to be playing our best basketball,” Montano said. “Hopefully we can keep our season going and keep the careers going for our seniors. We lost four kids who were an extremely big part of that group and we need to be careful that we don’t put too much pressure on the kids that are moving up. At the same time, our seniors and myself need them to elevate their game to the level we need them to get to so we can win. We’re happy about last year, we can draw from the experience and you know how to get there now. But at the same time, it’s a brand new season and we need to earn it all over again.”

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