TOMS RIVER -St. John Vianney has won 16 NJSIAA Non-Public A girls basketball championships since it first became a state power in the early 1990s, but none could match Saturday’s stirring comeback.Trailing defending champion Immaculate Heart Academy by 16 points late in the first half, the Lady Lancers staged a stunning second-half comeback to grab a 50-46 victory for its first state title in three years.The win also avenged a two-point setback to IHA in last year’s Non-Public A finals, but Saturday was a different story.“We looked at films of last year’s game the other day,” said SJV’s Tina Lebron, who had the biggest basket of the game, a three-pointer that gave the Lady Lancers their first lead of the game with 2:17 left in the contest. “We picked it apart because we knew that we played badly in that game.”“This was my ninth state title either as a coach or player,” said SJV coach Dawn Karpell, a standout for the Lady Lancers in the 1990s. “This title was special because it was the first state championship for this group of kids.”After Lebron’s basket put SJV ahead, the Lady Lancers never lost the advantage as Kelly Campbell sealed the win with five of six free throws.“It felt good when the ball left my hand,” said Lebron. “When you are that open, you have to do it for your team.“I was a so happy when I made it,” she said, “We’re like a family. We’re so close that it was awesome.”Campbell was named Most Valuable player with 12 points, five steals and seven rebounds, along with a standout performance on defense.“We had some doubt at halftime,” Campbell admitted, “but we knew that we would come back in the second half. We did it with defense. I shoot about 100 free throws in practice each day.”It was all IHA in the first half when it jumped out to a 33-17 lead behind Caitlin Roche, who dropped in four three pointers.SJV came out in the second half looking like a different team, however, as it tightened its defense and shot much better.“We shot only 22 percent in the first half while they shot over 50 percent, ” said Lebron. “We did much better in the second half.”SJV started its comeback quickly in the third quarter, closing the gap to 33-26 on a pair of baskets by Campbell and a three-pointer from Kellie Crouch.“We wanted to get the lead down to eight points by the end of the quarter and play better defense,” said Karpell.SJV actually narrowed it to 35-31, on two free throws by Vanessa Pinho, but IHA appeared to recover and had what looked like a safe 43-35 lead with 4:17 remaining.It was here that SJV finally put everything together as it scored 13 straight points, including Lebron’s key three-pointer and five free throws by Campbell.IHA’s Jordan Wilmoth gave her team some hope with a three-pointer with 32 seconds left, but foul shots by Campbell and Zoe Pero clinched it.“We just decided to play better in the second half,” said Karpell.“We also put Campbell on Roche and she did a great job by holding her scoreless.“Once we got the lead, we caught momentum and it was another level for us,” she said. “The kids began to believe.”–By Jim Hintelmann
By Allison PerrineSANDY HOOK – With the noonday sun beating down on them, a group of students from Monmouth University (MU) scraped the earth at the foot of the Sandy Hook lighthouse with mini-shovels and brushes. They were digging holes in an effort to discover evidence of Revolutionary War history.The program held June 18, 25 and 26 was a project by the university and the National Park Service to introduce archaeology to students and community volunteers. What they found intrigued them. Musket balls, pottery, bottles and more.Rumson resident and MU graduate student Nicky Kelly got a chance to handle the century-old artifacts. “It helps to tell the whole story,” she said.Richard Veit, the archaeology professor at MU who helped orchestrate the event, said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about one of New Jersey’s historic sites and it’s cool to have artifacts from the Revolution that gave insight into the people’s lives from that time.”The site was roped off into five units and later broke ground for a sixth. The first unit, called “excavation unit one,” is believed to have been part of the lighthouse keeper’s home, according to MU student Elliott Wilson, 22, of Cranbury. “We think it’s the corner of the cellar, which likely would have stored cold items for the lightkeeper,” Wilson said.￼Monmouth University students work on excavation unit five to uncover Revolutionary War artifacts.Unit two appears to be the former curb-line of the road, a theory supported by the possible trail that lead to the old horse carriage house. Artifacts found in the unit included a hand-blown wine bottle, a pin, shell-edge pottery and stoneware. “This is definitely evidence of human activity,” said MU graduate student Mike Brennan of Fair Haven.On the top of the hill Marilyn Scherfen, of Atlantic Highlands, and Marjorie Charlton, of Somerset County, worked on unit three as volunteers. “What’s beautiful is that you find everyday items (such as a Château-Lafite bottle), but also things like musket balls,” Scherfen said.At unit five, recent MU graduate/volunteer Mark Schulze, 22, of Belford, speculated on what wall they were unearthing. “We’re trying to expose a corner of a wall and see where it leads,” he said. “We’ll dig down a foot or two and see if we can get to the bottom of it.”After artifacts were discovered, the team labeled and placed them carefully in bags to bring to the artifact washing station. There, findings were delicately washed several times with a toothbrush so that nothing was damaged. Kelly and Samantha Muller, 41, from Rutgers University, worked at this station.Students seemed to have enjoyed the experience.Nicky Kelly worked the artifact-washing station and showedtwo pieces of pottery that were found during the excavation.“I loved it,” said MU student John Brown, 21, of Wildwood Crest. “You learn so much more in the field than you ever could in a classroom. You hear about what to do all the time in class – but to actually have the opportunity to do it is valuable,” Brown said.