Wilson's surprising run ends

With the outcome certain , Woodrow Wilson's Lyayshia Stevens holds her head in her hands after coming out of the game in the fourth quarter. ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

TOMS RIVER, N.J. - The team will be remembered for taking the city of Camden on a wild, magical ride.

The players will be talked about as examples of what can be accomplished when a team comes together, when they believe, when they care enough to pour their hearts into the game of basketball.

"The last seven games we played were amazing," Woodrow Wilson coach Bernie Hynson said of his Tigers' improbable run to Friday night's Tournament of Champions girls' basketball semifinals.

"It's been amazing. Everybody in the city of Camden will remember those seven games - they'll remember that forever."

The magic ran out midway through the third quarter Friday night at the Pine Belt Arena. Manasquan began raining three-pointers. Its star player, Marina Mabrey, found her rhythm.

And Woodrow Wilson's dream season ended in a 62-42 loss.

But the season was easy to put into perspective, even in the moments after the loss.

"I just have to say we played a great season, and we made history," said senior guard/forward Chanelle Perry, who will move on to play for Clemson. "That says it all right there. We finished top-four in the state. We're still champions. And that's all that matters."

As she has been throughout her high school career, Perry was stellar Friday night.

She led the team with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals. She held her own against Mabrey (24 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals), one of the most highly touted players in the state, and battled her most of the game.

Wilson was winning by 26-22 at halftime. But Manasquan (27-5) clicked in the third quarter. The Warriors outscored Wilson by 23-15 in the period, sinking five three-pointers. And their man-to-man defense held the Wilson offense in check.

"We let it get away from us," Hynson said. "I think it surprised the girls that they stayed man.

"We knew they were going to hit some shots. . . . But they hit a couple in a row and it just got away from us."

The loss contrasted a playoff run in which Wilson shined in every fourth quarter it played en route to a Group 3 state championship.

The Tigers (24-9), which many didn't even expect to win the South Jersey tournament, won the sectional championship in overtime and two state-playoff games on the last possession.

Each finish was more thrilling than the last.

But when players were asked what they'll remember most, the games didn't immediately come to their minds.

"I'll remember playing with Nelly [Perry]. I'm going to miss playing with her," junior guard Ciarah Bennett said.

When asked what she'll remember most about this season, Perry said:

"I'll remember the team. They're like family. Nothing can break that bond."

Woodrow Wilson 11 15 10 6 - 42

Manasquan 11 11 23 17 - 62

WW: Chanelle Perry 21, Lyayshia Stevens 8, Ciarah Bennett 5, Tamara Sellers 6, Iris Sanjurjo 2.

M: Marina Mabrey 24, Bridget Ford 6, Courtney Hagaman 14, Addie Masonius 3, Sam Sullivan 15.