Players from the Red Bank Middle School girls’ basketball team, seen here with coach Amy Campbell and boys’ coach Issac Nathanson, won plaudits at the borough council meeting Wednesday night for nabbing their first Shore Athletic League championship in 24 years last month.With a 32-11 win over Henry Hudson School of Highlands at home on February 15, the Rockets capped a “Cinderella” 13-2 season, said Councilman Erik Yngstrom, liaison to the parks and rec department.

From his remarks:

The team of fourteen 6th through 8th grade girls worked hard to train and learn new skills. Over half of the players were new to the game of basketball. Knowing they had their work cut out for them, the team and coach committed to working hard at two-a-day daily practices. Additional training and support was provided to the girls’ team through a community partnership with Jersey Fusion Elite Trainers. The Lady Rockets set a long term goal to win the championship, but with the focus of handling it one game at a time. Throughout the winning season the efforts, commitment, and dedication were led by 8th grade CoCaptains,Taniya Morris and Mandy Zheng. A breakout performance by 7th grade student Claudia “The Wall” Garcia was strong when coupled with Tyasia Cooper’s constant crashing at the boards. Bringing it all together was the suffocating defense from Lillian Wooley. By working together, these young women rose to victory and captured the hearts of the school community. The strong season helped the Lady Rockets earn home court advantage for the playoff and championship games. The enthusiasm and pride for the team was evident as both games brought in a packed house. Special fan appearances were made by members of the Monmouth University Women’s’ Basketball Team who have served as role models for the Rockets. Throughout the championship game, the Lady Rockets played their best to beat Henry Hudson 32-11. Coach Amy Campbell summed up the season by saying: “I am so proud of how the girls came together to accomplish their goal. They played with heart, class, and passion, which is an unstoppable combination”. In this Cinderella story the Lady Rockets did not need a glass slipper to fit, but the basketball sneakers sure did!!!

District Superintendent Jared Rumage, who exhorts students under the motto “Red Bank Borough is Best in America,” said of the girls: “They own our school, they own our culture and they really are the Red Bank public schools.”

(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)