Lady Warriors Roll To NJSIAA Group IV State Championship, 68-36

Senior Monique Davis-Campbell moves to the basket during the Lady Warriors’ romp over the Sayreville Bombers to clinch the NJSIAA Group IV championship.

“Welcome to Mo’s.”

The folks who run Pine Belt Arena in Toms River may as well have placed that on a sign posted underneath the Lady Warriors net March 12, because the baseline definitely belonged to the senior standout Monique Davis-Campbell.

Led by Davis-Campbell’s 19 points – most of which came as a result of her powering through defenders for layups – the Franklin High School Lady Warriors basketball team reclaimed the NJSIAA Group IV state champion title with a dominant 68-36 blowout over the Sayreville War Memorial High School Bombers.

It is the second time in the last two years that Franklin’s girls have won the group title.

There was no doubt that the Lady Warriors came to take the championship.

Franklin took a 3-0 lead less than 10 seconds into the game, when Camille Gray was fouled after she scored a quick two points after tipoff and then sank the extra point.

As it turned out, that was about as close as Sayreville got to Franklin all night.

Franklin never looked back, steadily building their lead through the first eight minutes, and ending the frame up by seven, 21-14.

The second quarter was more of the same, with the Lady Warriors going on an 11-point tear during the last four minutes, holding the Bombers to a mere four points. Franklin led at the half, 36-18.

In that first half, Franklin shot 45 percent from the field, compared to Sayreville’s 25 percent. The Lady Warriors also shot 67 percent from the foul line, while Sayreville made half of their free throws.

The Lady Warriors outscored the Bombers 20-9 in the third quarter, ending the frame with their largest lead to that point, 56-27.

The Bombers were again held to nine points in the final quarter, while the Lady Warrior recorded 12. Diamond Miller contributed six points via two free throws and two field goals, and Camille Gray and Monique Davis-Campbell also chipped in.

Franklin shot just under 50 percent from the field in the second half, ending the game hitting 47 percent of their field goals, while Sayreville cooled off, hitting 21 percent of their field goals in the second half and 23 percent for the game.

The Lady Warriors maintained their 67 percent free-throw shooting for the second half and the game, while Sayreville hit 60 percent of their free throws in the final frame and 57 percent for the game.

Davis-Campbell’s 19 points led all scorers; Gray scored 14 points and Miller scored 12. Also contributing were twins Kennady and Keona Schenck with 8 points each, Tiana Jackson with 5 points, and Kiersten McCloud with 2 points.

Miller, who usually has a hot hand from the 3-point zone, was ice cold from downtown during the game, missing all nine of her attempts.

That didn’t stop her from contributing, though. Showing an in-game maturity not often seen in a sophomore, Miller changed her game, focusing on rebounds, feeding her teammates and sinking layups.

“I was just trying to help my team in all aspects of the game, and my shot was off today, so I just passed the rock and got them open,” Miller said. “I was just trying to get my shot, but my shot wasn’t working today so I had to change my game up a little bit.”

“I’ve got to step up for my  team and if that takes growing up a little faster, then I gotta do it,” she said.

Davis-Campbell said all she was doing was finding holes through which she could move to the basket.

“I always want to make sure that I use my strength to my advantage,” she said. “I try not to get offensive fouls, but once I see that there’s a little opening, I’m gonna try my best to fit through it and score for my team.”

“Monique was awesome today,” Lady Warriors head coach Audrey Taylor said. “We always say, ‘Welcome to Mo’s,’ and today was welcome to Mo’s. Mo was amazing. She was just in tune, she was finishing, she was taking her time, but more than anything, she realized how dominant she could be. So once she realized that, it was just a matter of putting the ball in the rim.”

Taylor also had praise for how Miller switched up her game.

“Her rebounding, assists, her leadership,” Taylor said. “Diamond’s a big part of what we do. And without her making those beautiful passes … I think in the first half she had 6 assists, which is great. If you can’t make it, distribute it, which is what she did.”

Overall, the girls’ defense won the day for them, Taylor said.

“They held their defense, and another thing is, I think from going over and knowing those players, knowing what they’re going to do, knowing what the attacks are, they played a smart defensive game,” she said. “They didn’t bail them out, didn’t reach, didn’t have silly fouls.”

“I’m so proud of them,” Taylor said.

The next challenge is the Tournament of Champions Taylor said the teams will know their brackets on March 13.

2017 NJSIAA Group IV Championship Game


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