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Flaherty, Mabrey to lead the Beach

December 14, 2012

A state championship is something that is difficult to come by in high school athletics. However, with the addition of Katelynn Flaherty and Marina Mabrey to the Garnet Gulls girls basketball team, some students are already banking on it.

“Everyone is like, ‘Are you going to win a state title this year,’” Mabrey said, with a laugh, referring to when she first arrived at the school. “I am like, ‘I am going to try!’”

How is that for pressure?

But really, can you blame Point Beach’s students?

 

The standout duo of Mabrey and Flaherty helped Manasquan High School win the 2012 Tournament of Championship title. The Warriors had a 32-2 overall record last season. Flaherty, a junior, averaged 21 points per game and Mabrey, a sophomore, 15.1.

Both transferred to Point Pleasant Beach this year.

While their performance on the court pretty much speaks for itself, Point Beach head coach Mike Feerst looks beyond the statistics when talking about the new additions.

“They are nice, nice girls that get along with the team,” he said. “Their work ethic and ability is magnificent. They have a great attitude and are great students.”

Feerst has been doing everything he possibly can this preseason to build the chemistry of the team that finished with a 4-12 record and did not qualify for the state or Shore Conference tournaments last year. All the girls have been participating in drills and scrimmaging to see what units work well. He is also trying to figure out his starting lineup.

In order for Point Beach to live up to its expectations, the Garnet Gulls will need to build up the players around Flaherty and Mabrey. The team graduated two captains in Erin O’Connell and Jess Magno. The team also graduated three additional players that saw action last season in Alexis Connor, Molly Schaller and Melanie Konidaris.

This puts pressure on senior Nicole Meyer, who has been named captain this year and led the team in steals last season. Other key returners include sophomore center Chloe Johnson, senior guard Eva Motto, sophomore forward Sam Trabattoni and senior Morgan Sartori. All the players are excited about adding Flaherty and Mabrey to the team this year.

“I think usually people would get jealous and crazy, but it is not like that here,” Motto said. “At Point Beach, we are really happy to have them here.”

Flaherty and Mabrey admitted they were a little surprised to see how small Point Pleasant Beach High School is compared to Manasquan. Point Beach has just more than 400 students compared to Manasquan, which has more than 1,000. That doesn’t mean the two did not enjoy fitting into their new school, though.

“It is like a whole different environment,” Mabrey said about switching schools and joining the new basketball team. “It is a new group of girls. Here at Point Beach, I am going to have to be more of a leader. It is a lot of pressure, but I like pressure because it motivates to me to do well. I am also going to try and get everyone involved.”

Flaherty also said she has to be more of a leader on the new team and believes there are many ways she can help the Garnet Gulls.

“I am a scorer,” Flaherty said. “This offseason I have been keeping up with my game.”

The pieces seem to be falling in the Gulls’ favor this year.

In regard to a state title, the Gulls will receive some help with last year’s Group I champion, Cedar Creek, moving up to Group II this season.

First, the Gulls will have to retake the B Central division championship, which will be no easy task. The Purple Roses of St. Rose have rule the B Central for years and have not lost a divisional game since the 2002-2003 season. However, two of the Roses’ best players, center Samantha Clark and guard Kasey Chambers, have graduated.

The two teams will meet for a key divisional showdown on Dec. 20 at St. Rose’s McCann Activities and Athletics Center in Belmar.

The Gulls will first play Keansburg on the road today.

Feerst made it clear in practice this week he is not promising any Shore Conference, Central Jersey or division titles.

“As of right now I don’t feel any pressure and our girls don’t feel any pressure because we are a new team,” he said. “Of course I knew with Marina and Katelynn coming in, I knew we were going to be much better. And right now, I am happy with the effort and the cohesiveness of the way we are playing now. We are passing, shooting and playing well. We are just going to play hard every night.”

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