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Gateway avenges regular season loss to Schalick behind Angelina Zagone's 38 points in playoff opener

WOODBURY HEIGHTS (N.J.) - Winners of three of its last five matchups, the Gateway Regional High School girls basketball team aimed to open the playoffs with a win over Schalick.

Gateway's Angelina Zagone posted a game-high 38 points in a 50-43 win over Schalick in the first round of the South Jersey Group 1 playoffs at Gateway Regional High School in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey on Monday, February 20, 2023. Chris Baker/D2 Sports Network

Gateway, the No. 6 seed in South Jersey Group 1, fell to the 11th-seeded Cougars, 38-34, less than a month ago.

Gateway avenged its regular season loss with an electric 50-43 win behind a common offensive eruption from Angelina Zagone on Monday night.

The junior exploded for a game-high 38 points as Bella Fini added 10 for the Gators in the victory.

Angeline Chomo led Schalick with 21 points as Kerri Jackson chipped in eight. The Cougars opened the contest with a 6-2 run before Gateway responded to take an 8-6 lead and never trail again.

"This was just another game," Zagone said. "With it being the playoffs and against a team we lost to before, there's some added meaning to it, but we don't let anything other than the task at hand get our focus."

Zagone entered Monday's playoff opener averaging 21 points per game. The junior exceeded 20 points in a single game for the 14th time this season.

Her high volume scoring outings are an anomaly to Gateway coach Dan McGowan.

"She's such a special player," McGowan said. "She was a great leader taking on a big role this year and with our other main player out for the year she's stepped up even more and has just shown out.

"Words can't even describe how special of a player and how great of a person she is."

Zagone's leadership is infectious as her presence on the court is felt by spectators and teammates alike. It's all a part of an effort to win.

"I just try to do as much as I can to help us win," Zagone said. "The ultimate goal of every game is just win by any means necessary."

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