It is interesting, at least to me that as the quality of top-level girls basketball has grown in the Shore Conference the boys’ game has taken a noticeable drop.

Sophomore guard Jen Louro added a career-high 19 points to help St. Rose pick up a 20-point win over Middletown South in the SCT semifinals (Ray Richardson)

You only have to look at this week’s Shore Conference Tournament for proof of that.

Last night the girls semifinals featured four teams all ranked in the top ten of the state including the number one, number two and number three teams.

At Brick Memorial High School the top-ranked St. Rose “Purple Roses” blitzed Middletown South 69-49 behind an incredible first-half shooting performance from senior Kat Phipps. The St. Francis of New York recruit hit six 3-pointers and scored 20 points in the first half before cooling off and finishing with a game-high 24 points.

In the second game of the doubleheader broadcast live on our Shore Sports Network the state’s #2 ranked team Manasquan held off third rated St. John Vianney 53-48 as Notre Dame-bound Marina Mabrey overcame foul trouble to score 9 of her 22 points in the final quarter.

Marina Mabrey (23) looks to drive past St. John Vianney junior Gigi Caponegro (25) during Manasquan’s Shore Conference Tournament semifinals win over the Lancers on Tuesday (Ray Richardson)

That sets the stage for another Manasquan-St. Rose championship game on Friday night at Monmouth University as it will be the third time in four years these two rivals met for the bragging rights of the shore. The Purple Roses prevailed in 2012 before the Warriors got their revenge last year.

Not only are St. Rose, Manasquan and St. John Vianney 1-2-3 in the state but Middletown South is tenth, Rumson-Fair Haven 11th and Neptune 17th giving the shore six of the top 20.

However when you switch to the boys side you will not find any shore teams ranked among the state’s best with CBA the only school with a shot to crack the top 20 should they win the Shore Conference Tournament. The top-seeded Colts face #4 Toms River North tonight at 6pm at Brookdale Community College before 10th seed and surging Neptune collides with #11 Rumson. The doubleheader will be broadcast on the Shore Sports Network’s 1160/1310AM with a live audio stream available at

In defense of the boys game there is much more parity with upsets the norm while the girls’ game is made up strictly of haves and have-nots and the separation has never been greater. While three of the four girls teams in last night’s semifinals were the same as last year only CBA is back among the boys final four with the Colts advancing to the 2014 championship game before losing to Point Beach.