Another test for Cinderella team

"We're just having fun with it," says Wilson's Chanelle Perry.
"We're just having fun with it," says Wilson's Chanelle Perry. (TOM GRALISH / Staff)
Posted: March 22, 2014

A seven-game playoff run has made heroes out of just about every player who has stepped on the court for the Woodrow Wilson girls' basketball team.

The Tigers have won in overtime, they've made furious late-game comebacks, they've hit multiple buzzer-beaters, and they've played smothering defense.

On Wednesday night, Wilson, the state Group 3 champion, continued its postseason trend of thrilling finishes as Tamara Sellers hit a three-pointer with no time on the clock to give her team a 54-51 win over Immaculate Heart Academy in the opening round of the Tournament of Champions.

"It's perfect that every night, it's somebody else," Wilson coach Bernie Hynson said. "Every night, these girls are stepping up. This is what basketball is all about."

Friday night, Woodrow Wilson (24-8) will play Manasquan (26-5) in the T of C semifinals at 5:30 p.m. at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River. It will be the Tigers' toughest test yet.

Manasquan, the Group 2 state champion, is led by 5-foot-11 junior phenom Marina Mabrey. The athletic, strong, and shifty forward is averaging 19.7 points and 8 rebounds.

Last year, Mabrey won a Group 1 state title playing for Point Pleasant Beach. Her only action against a South Jersey opponent during that run came when she dropped in 49 points in a win over Gloucester in the state semifinals.

That's the kind of potential Wilson will have to neutralize to keep its dream season alive for one more game.

It's easier said than done. And it's a task most aren't expecting Wilson to accomplish.

Sound familiar? That has been the theme of this postseason for the Tigers. Few expected them to make it this far, but every game a new hero emerges, another miraculous shot is drained, and Wilson defies the odds.

The team just keeps fighting.

"We're just having fun with it," said senior guard/forward Chanelle Perry, who is averaging 20 points. "We're here, so why not go for the Tournament of Champions?"

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