Colts Neck - After splitting with Colts Neck this season and finishing second in B-North to the Cougars, the Long Branch boys basketball team played with an us-against-the-world attitude against its division rival Thursday in the Shore Conference Tournament round of 16 and it showed down the stretch.

Long Branch, down as many as seven points in the second quarter, never steered from their mission and used a second-half surge to pushed in front before holding on for a 53-51 victory.

The two teams each won on their home courts with Long Branch winning the opener 57-54 and Colts Neck winning 46-42, which led to the Cougars getting a slight edge heading into this matchup.

The player of the game was Long Branch's Anthony Velazquez who scored 14 points in each half on the way to a game-high 28. His 3-pointer to open the second half got Long Branch's momentum going and sparked a 13-point Green Wave third quarter and evened the score at 37-37 heading into the final quarter of play.

In the fourth quarter, Long Branch built a four-point lead three times and with just under two minutes to play, it looked like Colts Neck was finding their stride when Tom O'Reilly hit a layup to get the score to 49-47. Long Branch quickly went down and pushed the lead back to four at 51-47. Jordan deGroot got Colts Neck back to within two at 51-49 and the home team hadchance to tie it when Lloyd Daniels went to the line to shoot two. Daniels, however, missed on both and Long Branch hauled in the rebound and was quickly fouled.

After a pair of Long Branch free throws and a missed Cougars layup, the Green Wave celebration started as they pulled the first upset of the tournament and secured a spot in the quarter finals against No. 4 Toms River North at Brookdale College on Sunday at 4:15 p.m.

Long Branch is making its second appearance in the SCT quarterfinals in three years and returns to the SCT final eight one year after a frustrating 3-16 season. The Green Wave lost to Lakewood in the quarterfinals in 2014 as the No. 6 seed.

 

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