Mustangs stun the nation’s No. 1 team, Christ the King

first_imgMustangs stun the nation’s No. 1 team, Christ the King Seize the moment. That’s what Marlboro High School’s volunteer coach Ed Zucker told the Mustangs before they took on New York’s Christ the King, the No. 1 ranked team in the country. And seize the moment they did. The Mustangs stunned the nation’s top-ranked team, rallying from nine down (49-40) in the final five minutes to score an uplifting 59-53 win at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall Sunday. It’s a win that brings legitimacy to the Mustangs. “It was just an incredible win,” noted Zucker. “The rap has been that Marlboro hadn’t won a big game. This turns the corner for the program. “The girls were excited about playing the No. 1 team,” he said. “They knew it was a great opportunity for them. It was the first time they didn’t feel the pressure to win.” Defense made all the difference for Marlboro as the Mustangs put the clamps on Christ the King’s offense in the final minutes, coming up with one huge steal after another. Sharnee Zoll and Chakhia Cole started the comeback with their steals, which were parlayed into five quick points by Cole and suddenly, the Royals were in for the fight of their lives. Marlboro’s momentum did not slow over the final minutes of the game as Zoll, Jenna Gatto and Brina Pollack all joined in the action. “They (Christ the King) were shocked,” said Zucker. “We backed them into a corner. The girls could sense that they had a great opportunity to win it.” Cole’s two free throws with 46 seconds left gave Marlboro its first lead of the quarter, 55-53. After a defensive stand resulted in another Royal turnover, Pollack sealed the upset, making two more free throws with 13 seconds left that opened up a 57-53 lead. When the Mustangs slowed the Royals down, their half-court defense proved too tenacious. Marlboro would outscore Christ the King 21-8 over the last quarter. “We did a very good job clogging the middle and getting steals,” said Zucker. “Zoll did a great job of defense on the ball. It was a team effort.” Also important was Marlboro’s offensive balance. While Cole was heroic with her game-high 21 points, Pollack added 13 and Christi Kastner chipped in with nine. Gatto and Zoll each contributed eight points as the Mustangs spread the wealth and made the Royals defend everyone. — Tim Morrislast_img

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