JACKSON, N.J. — Three-pointers started pouring in with just over a minute left in the first quarter.
And after that, it seemed like they never stopped.
“They were tremendous—and we didn’t have an answer for it,” Gloucester Catholic coach Lisa Gedaka said Wednesday after her girls’ basketball team fell, 74-64, to hot-shooting Trenton Catholic in the Non-Public B South title game at Jackson Liberty High School.
Trenton Catholic buried 12 three-pointers in the game — a problem made worse for the Rams as they battled through several cold stretches from the floor — to steal arguably the best opportunity Gedaka and the Rams have had to win a sectional title in the legendary coach’s 30 years at the school.
Trenton Catholic’s Maniya Custis led all scorers with 26 points, including three triples. Fellow guard Naomi Shorts also hit three threes to give her 16 points for the game.
Shorts and Custis both started their careers at Paul VI before transferring this offseason and turning Trenton Catholic into a serious contender for this year’s Tournament of Champions title.
“It feels really good to be a part of this team,” said Custis whose ability to play floor general down the stretch helped her team maintain the comfortable lead it established with nine points in 70 seconds (all threes) to go up 17-9 late in the first quarter.
“This team is special — everyone is a hard worker, plays their role and is unselfish,” Custis added.
The performance by Trenton Catholic (25-3) ended the storied career of Rams guard Azana Baines. Baines will head to Duke after a stellar performance on Wednesday in which she led the Rams with 16 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks.
The Rams’ Emily Leonhardt sank four three-pointers in a 13-point performance. Forward Jada Williams added 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Still, every time the Rams (24-4) chipped into Trenton Catholic’s lead, there was an answer, often from beyond the arc.
Gedaka praised her team’s wall-to-wall effort. And her final message to Baines echoed that.
“My goal was for her to work hard all the time — every practice, every game. I told her when she goes to Duke, every player will be as talented as her. And I would ask her, ‘What’s going to separate you?’” Gedaka said. “After this game, I was able to look at her and tell her: You’re ready for Duke.”
Gloucester Catholic 9 15 18 22 - 64
Trenton Catholic 17 21 20 16 - 74
GC: Azana Baines 16, Jada Williams 15, Mycala Carney 10, Emily Leonhardt 13, Caitlyn Cordery 3, Lynzie Eggers 7.