Lions lose to Red Bank Catholic in state final

SPARTA. Girls basketball team, ranked No. 13 in the state, finishes with a 25-5 record.

Sparta /
| 10 Mar 2024 | 06:48

Supporters of the Pope John XXIII Regional High School girls basketball team should not be dismayed by the final result of the 2023-24 campaign.

While the Lions, ranked No. 13 in the state, bowed to No. 4 Red Bank Catholic, 80-23, in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A championship on Friday afternoon, March 8 at Rutgers University, this was one of the most successful seasons in program history.

Pope John, under the direction of first-year head coach Peter Torres, took a 15-game winning streak into the state final and finished with a 25-5 record.

The Lions won their first Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament championship with a 43-32 victory over Voorhees on Feb. 16. The team was led by Most Valuable Player Mia Washington, who had 17 points and four rebounds in the final; Katie O’Keefe, who had nine points, five assists and three steals; and Kaitlyn Platt, who collected eight points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.

With not one senior on its roster, Pope John also won its second sectional title, when it ended Immaculate Heart Academy’s 11-year stranglehold on the North Jersey, Non-Public A championship with a 39-38 decision on March 4. Addison Platt scored the eventual game-winning basket with slightly less than two minutes remaining.

The Lions, who last won a sectional title in 1998, were led this season by sophomores Addison Platt (14.4 points per game, 7.5 rebounds, four assists) and Washington (14.4 ppg, 30 three-pointers), freshman Kaitlyn Platt (9 ppg, 6.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists) and junior O’Keefe (7 ppg).

Addison Platt will enter next season with 813 career points.

Here’s how other Pope John teams fared this winter:

Indoor track

Senior Ryan Hoo finished in 11th place in the pole vault event with an effort of 12-6 to pace Pope John at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions on Sunday, March 3 at the Ocean Breeze Facility in Staten Island, N.Y.

The girls 4x800 meter relay team placed 12th with a time of 9:48.28.

Ice hockey

Pope John went 17-7 this winter and reached the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA Non-Public tournament, where it bowed to No. 2 Don Bosco Prep. The team finished ranked No. 8 in the state.

The Lions had a balanced offensive attack led by Robbie Myshkoff (13 goals, 16 assists), Matt Hughes (12 goals, 20 assists), Hunter Parrillo (12 goals, two assists), Luke Jarosiewicz (eight goals, 16 assists), Declan Murphy (five goals, six assists), Johana Bars (six goals, five assists), Nicholas Colatrella (six goals, four assists), Magnuss Bars (three goals, six assists), Cameron Guerra (three goals, one assist), Aidan Perry (two goals), Liam Ambile (one goal, four assists), Nicholas Moschello (one goal, one assist) and Alex Slater (one goal).

Anthony Conetta saved almost 500 shots this season, including a stellar 44-stop performance against Don Bosco Prep, and anchored a defense that posted seven shutouts.

Boys wrestling

Junior Carson Walsh reached the state final at 132 pounds and was edged, 8-4, by Adrian DeJesus of St. Joseph (Montvale) at the NJSIAA boys tournament at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on March 2.

Walsh finished 38-4 this season for Pope John, which finished 11-8.

Dalton Weber capped a sensational sophomore season by going 37-5 and placing third in the state at 126 pounds. He pinned Sammy Spaulding of Camden Catholic in 1:55 in the bronze-medal match.

Girls wrestling

Sophomore Kyleigh Patscher was a standout for the Lions this season.

Boys basketball

The Lions (1-20) were paced offensively this season by Anthony Schnabel (8 ppg), Tyler Houser (6.4 ppg), Deion Swift (6.3 ppg), Ty Plotts (4.5 ppg) and Alex Grubbs (3.6 ppg).


The girls team went 7-1 this season, suffering their only loss to Mount St. Dominic, 99-71, in the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA Non-Public, North tournament.

Madelyn Ball, Sofia Keller, Grace Bohen, Maria Schnabel and Julianna Kuznar led the team.

The boys squad went 3-3 this winter, keyed by Kyle Sobczyk, Hunter Gallo, Kai Batchelor, William Zerden, Marco Orlando and Sebastian Rondon.