The Rutgers Prep School girls basketball faced an early challenge in Wednesday’s NJSIAA Tournament of Champions quarterfinals at Toms River North’s RWJBarnabas Health Arena

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But as the Argonauts did when facing a first-half push from Saddle River Day in last Saturday’s Non-Public B final, Rutgers Prep simply proved to be too much for Group 1 champion.

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Junior Katie Ledden netted 23 points – all in the first three quarters and 14 in the first half – and sophomore Mikayla Blakes adds 18 points as third-seeded Non-

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Public B champion Rutgers Prep handled the sixth-seeded Group 1 champion Phoenix 68-56 to advance to the semifinals.

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University got out to a 7-2 lead, but Rutgers Prep responded with a 12-2 run and the Argos led 19-16 after one quarter,

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with Ledden netting eight points, and her team led 37-27 at halftime. Rutgers Prep increased the advantage to 53-41 headed into the final quarter.

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Destiny Johnson finished with 23 points for the Phoenix (19-8), which also got 14 points from Paradise Fisher. Key plays

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Back-to-back baskets by Ledden early in the fourth quarter extended the Argonauts to a 14-point lead. They’d maintain control for the duration.

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What it means The Argonauts move onto the Tournament of Champions semifinals for the third time since 2016. They’re looking for their first-ever trip to the final.

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What’s Next Rutgers Prep will take on second-seeded Manasquan in Friday’s TOC semifinals back in Toms River. The winner advances to Sunday’s final at Rutgers, against St. John Vianney or Sparta.

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