DEPTFORD (N.J.) - Two of the finest Group 3 teams in the Garden State. A trip to Toms River North for an opportunity to win a highly-coveted state championship on the line.
Ewing's Joi Johnson tallied a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds to lift Ewing past Ocean City in the Group 3 state semifinals at Deptford Township High School in Deptford, New Jersey on Thursday, March 2, 2023. Chris Baker/D2 Sports Network
Ewing secured the Central Jersey Group 3 title with a gutsy win over battle-tested Ocean Township on Tuesday. Ocean City stunned Cape-Atlantic League rival Mainland, a team it lost to twice in the regular season, to capture the South Jersey Group 3 crown on the same day.
The two teams crossed paths on Thursday and the Blue Devils' prevailed, 55-44, to advance to the NJSIAA Group 3 state final for the first time since 2018.
Te'Yala Delfosse, Joi Johnson, and Rhian Stokes combined for 53 of Ewing's 55 points. The trio also snagged 24 of the team's 27 rebounds. Johnson posted a game-high 20 points, Delfosse tallied 17 and Stokes added 16.
Tori Vilet led Ocean City with 16 points and drained four 3-pointers in the first half.
Ewing coach Dan Montferrat credited his team's resilience for fending off multiple comeback attempts by Ocean City.
"The experience the girls gained from our shortcoming at this stage last year helped build character for this season," Montferrat said. "Experiencing something like that helped mold these girls to weather adversity when times get tough."
Johnson recalled finishing as a state semifinalist to Mainland at the same venue in the same round last season.
The junior fulfilled the requirements to avoid a heartbreak for the second year in a row.
"After the pain and heartbreak we felt last year, we knew we couldn't feel the same this year," Johnson said. "We all bought in and now we're heading to the state finals."