Rams Girls Basketball Secures State Sectional Championship with Remarkable Comeback Against Mendham


Leo Hernandez

Rams Girls Basketball secured a State Sectional Championship title, beating Mendham, 53-43, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. The team faces Teaneck next, at the NJSIAA Group 3 Semifinal, starting at 5:00 p.m. tonight, Thursday, March 2, at Ramapo High School.

Brett Shuster, Staff Reporter 

The Rams Girls Basketball defeated the No. 11 seed Mendham Minutemen at home on Tuesday, Feb. 28, in the State Sectional Finals. The Rams played an energetic and nerve-wracking game, prevailing with a final score of 53-43.

“I think the team did great; we knew going in what we needed to do to win, and we executed and played our game,” senior co-captain Madison Jenisch said.

In the first quarter, Mendham came out strong in the early minutes of the quarter, mounting an 8-0 lead. The Rams were defensively strong yet came up short on the scoreboard. With just four minutes left in the quarter, senior co-captain Allyson Kuridza scored the first point for the Rams. Katie Tighe had strong defensive positioning, allowing for an impressive block permitting the Rams to gain possession and score again. Despite Randolph’s strong offensive and defensive play, Mendham was left in the lead at the end of the first quarter, 17-11.

The Rams started off the second quarter determined to make a comeback. They began to dominate offensively, and it gave them the opportunity to regain control of the court. Aliyah Lambo’s and Tighe’s strong defensive play forced turnovers that allowed the Rams to cut the deficit to one with a fast break layup with four minutes remaining in the half. The Jenisch sisters, being key playmakers all season, led the Rams to their first lead of the game, sending the Randolph faithful into a frenzy. The Rams ended the half leading 29-23.

“I think as a whole we really came together during the game even though we were off to a rough start in the beginning, but I think everyone on the team contributed in some way to the win,” Kuridza said. “I think everyone brought it all last night and worked their hardest getting steals, points, rebounds and blocks.”

In the second half, the Rams showed why they earned the No. 1 seed. Their strong defensive tactics and high energy play allowed them to regain control of the court. Despite Mendham putting points on the scoreboard, the Rams’ lead grew. Randolph was able to collaborate on both ends of the floor with the team knocking down big shots at the end of the third quarter. The Rams were left on top at the end of the quarter with a score of 44-32.

The Rams continued to shine defensively with impressive steals, rarely allowing the ball to venture into Mendham’s offensive side. With four minutes left in the game, Kuridza sealed the victory with a 2-pointer, leaving the score at 49-37. The exciting game had the crowd ready to burst at the sound of the final buzzer. Mendham continued to be aggressive, but the Rams held them to a final score of 53-43. The Rams made an enormous comeback from the first quarter and were able to capture their second state sectional title in four years.

“In this game we had a different atmosphere than normal, so we really had to focus and stick to our game plan,” Kuridza said. “With the pressure of playing on a big stage for a state championship and against a good team, we needed to play our hardest to win.”

The Rams advance to the NJSIAA Group 3 semifinal and face Teaneck at 5:00 p.m., tonight, Thursday, March 2, at Ramapo High School.