Manalapan's Carlson Puts Up Ten Second Half Points for Blues
By Mike Ready
LINCROFT – Trailing at the half for one of the few times this season, the Jersey Blues (20-2, 12-0) overcame a 31-30 halftime deficit to score 42 second half points, while holding Northampton Pa. (12-5, 8-1) to 19 points in a 72-50 win Thursday night at Collins Arena.
The win ran the fourth ranked Brookdale women’s winning streak to 20 games, and kept them in first place in Region XIX play as a huge game looms this Thursday with second place and fifth ranked Cumberland County College (18-1, 10-1).
Cumberland’s only loss of the season was a 68-57 defeat at the hands of Brookdale last January 6. However, Cumberland’s best player, Artaeja Loatman (17.2 pts/game and 10 reb/game), missed that game and will be back for the Dukes Thursday. Since that loss, Cumberland has won five in a row, including an 83-65 drubbing of Northampton January 18. This game should decide the No.1 seed in the upcoming Region XIX Tournament.
Brookdale jumped on Northampton to start the second half, going on a 12-0 run after Northampton scored the first two points of the half.
Marina Lukianov (Howell H.S.) put the Blues ahead for good scoring underneath at 18:05 for a 34-33 lead. Lukianov had six points in the 12-0 run while sophomore Samantha Carlson (Manalapan H.S.) dropped in six as well. Carlson had another strong game finishing with 16 points - ten in the second half – 10 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal.
“We came out a little slow but we picked up our intensity in the second half,” Carlson said. “We weren’t hitting the shots in the first half but they started to fall in the second half. Our energy level at both ends of the court in the second half was where it needed it to be.”
Carlson’s all-around game has improved by leaps and bounds this season and the 6-foot-2 inch center has developed a real presence in the paint this year for Brookdale.
“I’ve worked really hard on my game,” Carlson added. “Coach Bob helped me in the off season a lot and my teammates have trust in me and feed me the ball in the post for easy scores. I have more confidence this season, which allows me to be more aggressive. It’s been hard work and a lot of hours.”
“Sam’s play is like night and day compared to last year,” head coach Bob Dubina said. “She’s more consistent, she’s more aggressive at both ends of the court and she’s looking for shots; last night was probably one of her best games of the year. Sam’s starting to understand that if she plays the way she played last night, we can win a regional championship with her. It didn’t just happen, she puts the time in.”
Lukianov ended with 15 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Her 13-second half points led the charge.
Freshman forward Marya Trapp (Red Bank Regional) had team highs in points (17) and rebounds (13) for her third consecutive double-double. She also recorded three blocked shots.
Brookdale’s lead got as high 27 points, 67-40 at the 5:12 mark of the second half. Ten players made into the scoring column for Blues, as once again the talented Brookdale bench saw extended playing time.
Paxton Reddington (Saint John Vianney) added ten first half points, while sophomore guard Jazmin Palma (North Bergen H.S.) contributed six points, four assists and four rebounds.