Star N.J. girls basketball player moves from 1 state power to another in massive transfer | RopSport
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Star N.J. girls basketball player moves from 1 state power to another in massive transfer

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Finding a way to slow down St. John Vianney, the No. 1-ranked girls basketball team in New Jersey in each of the past two seasons, was already a daunting task for even the state’s best programs.

That job, it turns out, will be even harder — if even possible — this winter.

Zoe Brooks, a First Team All-State guard and a do-it-all player for Trenton Catholic through her first two high school seasons, has transferred to St. John Vianney and will join forces in the backcourt with two-time defending Player of the Year Madison St. Rose at the Shore Conference school.

Brooks’ father, Maurice, confirmed the transfer to NJ Advance Media. Brooks officially enrolled at St. John Vianney on Thursday.

The move itself is unsurprising, coming just days after Bob Fusik announced his departure from Trenton Catholic, a school that nearly closed its doors at the end of the 2020-21 school year, but managed to remain afloat.

Trenton Catholic finished ranked No. 2 in 2020 and 2021, finishing both times behind St. John Vianney. The two teams never met in the 2020 season that was ended prematurely because of the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic near the end of the state tournament. In 2021, St. John Vianney beat Trenton Catholic, 62-55, en route to a perfect, pandemic-shortened, state tournament-less season. Brooks had 17 points and six rebounds in the loss.

St. John Vianney, one of the best programs in state history under legendary coach Dawn Karpell, was already expected to be the unanimous No. 1 team entering play this winter. But the arrival of Brooks should make the Lancers one of the top teams in the country, too.

Zoe Brooks (35) of Trenton Catholic drives against Ashley O’Connor (11) of St. John Vianney during the girls basketball game between No. 1 St. John Vianney and No. 2 Trenton Catholic at St. John Vianney High School in Holmdel, NJ on Friday, February 26, 2021. St. John Vianney won 62-55.Scott Faytok | For NJ Advance Media

Brooks, who has garnered attention from virtually every major Division-1 program in the country, was an All-State player in each of her first two high school seasons at Trenton Catholic, earning a Third Team All-State selection as a freshman — despite coming off the bench — before proving to be one of N.J.’s top players last winter. She recently picked up an offer from South Carolina in addition to offers from Miami, Delaware, George Mason, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest.

In 2020, she averaged 19.3 points, 4.5 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game. Those numbers should be even better playing alongside St. Rose, a Princeton commit who was named the NJ.com Player of the Year in 2019 and 2020 and figures to be the frontrunner for a three-peat this year.

Brooks’ move to St. John Vianney should be seamless, filling a role left vacant by the graduated Katie Hill, now at Richmond. Brooks has also proven to be a top-level defender in her first two seasons at Trenton Catholic, collecting 190 steals in 44 career games.

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Brian Deakyne may be reached at bdeakyne@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrianDeakyne.

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