Zoe Brooks has been the star of the Saint John Vianney girls’ basketball team for the past two years. That star power was revealed again when she scored a buzzer beating bucket to launch her squad to a 63-61 victory over Paul VI for the NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A championship.
The shocking climax was fitting to a hectic fourth quarter that saw five lead changes and four ties.
Janie Bachmann grabbed a rebound off her own missed foul shot and put it up for a 61-58 advantage with 34 seconds remaining. However, the Eagles responded with a three pointer to knot the score at 61-61 with 18.8 seconds on the clock. The Lancers were now setting up for a one-shot strategy, and everyone in the house knew who would be handling the ball. Brooks navigated past two defenders and popped a fade away shot just inside the foul line. The buzzer sounded as the ball completed its drain of the net. An on-court celebration ensued immediately.
SJV got off to a slow start and trailed by 12 at halftime. The locker room chat seemingly corrected all ills as the Lancers posted a 20-6 third quarter scoring edge and led 42-40 going into the fourth quarter.
Brooks led all scorers with 33 points, 23 coming in the second half. Playing with a nagging foot injury, the senior also pulled down seven rebounds and was 15 for 18 on free throws.
Ashley Sofilkanich scored 11 points, recorded three steals and utilized her 6-foot-3 height to swipe six rebounds. Holy Cross commit Bachmann put up nine points and was three for four at the foul line.
A close game was anticipated as SJV was ranked No. 1 statewide and the Eagles No. 2. Both squads were recognized in Maxpreps.com’s national rankings at No. 7 and 9, with the Lancers receiving the higher rank.
The contest obviously lived up to the pre-game hype. The victory extends Saint John Vianney’s win streak over New Jersey opponents to 92.
Brooks will continue her athletic career at North Carolina State playing for Head Coach Wes Moore. Sofilkanich will be sporting Bucknell colors next year.