Boys Basketball – Manasquan Holds Off RBC to Advance to WOBM Semis
By Bobby Klatt
TOMS RIVER – After suffering its first loss of the season to Long Branch on Thursday, Manasquan bounced back Tuesday by defeating Red Bank Catholic, 51-46, for the second time in eight days to move on to the semifinals of the 2016 WOBM Christmas Classic.
After going just 1-for-8 from three-point range in the first three quarters, the Caseys caught fire with less than four minutes to go as Matt Conley and Terence Calandrillo knocked down shots from behind the arc in three straight possessions to cut the Warriors lead to 40-33.
Devin Jensen, who came into the game averaging 31 points per game in his first four games, silenced the comeback with back-to-back jump shots – four of his game-high 17 points – to extend the Warriors lead late with under two minutes to go.
A few missed free throws from Tyler Hobbie and Jensen gave RBC chances late, with Calandrillo tallying seven of his nine points in the final three minutes, but the comeback came up short as the Warriors beat the Caseys for the second time in a span of nearly a week. Manasquan – which beat RBC 76-42 on Dec. 20 – will take on Freehold Township in the WOBM semifinals Thursday night.
“We have some familiarity with them (Freehold Twp.) since we scrimmaged them,” said Manasquan head coach Andrew Bilodeau when asked about their semifinal matchup. “It’s going to be a challenge.”
The big difference in the game came at the free throw line as the Warriors shot 17-for-30 while the Caseys shot a mere 3-for-9 from the stripe.
Manasquan was without starter Brian Paturzo, who injured his ankle in the Warriors’ last game against Long Branch.
“It’s going to be an adjustment period without Brian,” said Bilodeau when asked about the absence of Brian Paturzo. “We had some guys step up and make good plays.”
To start the game, Manasquan got five from Brad McCabe along with four from Jensen – all from the free-throw line – to give the Warriors a 10-7 lead after one. The Warriors shot just 1-for-6 from behind the arc in the quarter.
RBC jumped out quickly in the opening possessions of the second as a quick 4-0 run on back-to-back trips down the floor gave the Caseys their first lead in the game. Manasquan responded right back with a 17-4 run to end the half, capped off by a Ryan Flanagan heave from behind half court that found nothing but the net to give the Warriors their biggest lead of the half, 27-15.
“We knew without Brian, we were going to have to bring it to another level and guys like Brad (McCabe) and Seamus (Hogan) did just that,” said Jensen.
The Warriors carried their momentum out of the locker room and started the second half on an 11-2 run behind four from Seamus Hogan to extend their lead to 37-24 at the end of 3. RBC’s Mike Conley notched seven of the Casey’s nine third quarter points and also led RBC with 14 points for the game.