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Local players enjoy senior all-star game

March 29, 2012

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP — The best of the best from the class of 2012 had one final opportunity to display their hoop skills at the high school level last Wednesday during the 30th annual Shore Basketball Coaches North-South Senior All Star Game. The annual all-star event, which is sponsored by the United States Army, provides seniors an enjoyable night to go out and play basketball with other top athletes in a pressure-free setting.

“It is definitely just fun,” said St. Rose senior Diana Malanga.

Sam Costantino, The Coast Star

Including Malanga, The Coast Star saw six players from its coverage area selected to the all-star roster. Joining Malanga on the South squad were St. Rose teammates Morgan Barry, Samantha Clark and Kasey Chambers and Manasquan senior Michaela Mabrey. Playing for the North was Wall senior Emily Cilinski.

Cilinski, like Malanga, enjoyed Wednesday night’s laid-back atmosphere at Central Regional High School. In the end, it would be Cilinski and the North taking a 134-100 victory over the South in a game which saw 31 3-point field goals drop through the nets.

“It was really fun and no pressure — just go out and play basketball,” said Cilinski, who scored six points on back-to-back 3 pointers in the first half. “We loved it.”

For Wall Head Coach Colleen Kilmurray, who helped coach the South, witnessing her point guard put an exclamation point on a great career with an all-star appearance was a proud moment.

“Being elected to an all-star game is an honor and Emily definitely deserved it,” said Kilmurray of Cilinski. “It was great to see her enjoy it tonight.”

Despite not coming away with the win, Malanga, who next fall will attend Kutztown University in Kutztown, Penn. to play soccer, was grateful for the opportunity to team up with Barry, Clark and Chambers for a final send off.

“It was a good experience to play [with my St. Rose teammates] one more time,” she said. “I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”

Adding to the experience for the St. Rose teammates was another chance to be coached by Joe Roman. Roman joined Lacey’s Patti Cooke and Central’s John Truhan on the North coaching staff.

“We were saying how it is the last time coach Joe [Roman] would be coaching us,” Malanga added. “We wanted to enjoy it.”

Roman felt St. Rose having four representatives in the game, the highest number from any school, was a compliment to the dedication put forth by his players since joining the program as freshman.

“It says a lot about what type of effort those girls put forward the last four years,” Roman said. “I was happy to see it recognized by the other [Shore Conference] coaches. I was just happy to get the chance to coach them in one more game.”


Both players and coaches enjoyed the opportunity to not only team up with former teammates last Wednesday, but, to meet new people and take in their respective skill sets during the game’s high-paced action.

“I got to see some of my friends from old teams I was on and I got to meet some new girls,” Cilinski said. “It was great.”

Roman noted how the all-star game provided an in-depth look at the large quantity of girls basketball talent circulating throughout the entire Shore Conference.

“It is nice you get to see come kids from other divisions who you don’t get to see play,” said the coach. “There are some talented girls out there.”


Michaela Mabrey, who recently led the Manasquan girls basketball team to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament of Champions title, was unable to participate in last Wednesday’s action due to NCAA regulations.

The NCAA has a rule in place which states a player cannot participate in more than two all-star events following the season.

However, she was at the game, sitting in the stands, to lend her support.

Yesterday Mabrey, who will attend Notre Dame next year, took part in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American game and, on Saturday, will compete in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American game in Denver, Colorado.

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