By Ella Brockway
SSN Correspondent

MIDDLETOWN - Manasquan senior Jack Sheehan called it, the “craziest basketball game I’ve played in my entire life”. Manasquan head coach Andrew Bilodeau called it “hotly-contested”.

Those descriptions of Sunday afternoon’s triple-overtime thriller between third-seeded Manasquan and sixth-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals are indeed accurate, but they don’t even begin to describe this game.

Manasquan’s 80-77 win over Rumson-Fair Haven had it all. Senior Jack Sheehan led the Warriors with 35 points, eight of which came in clutch situations. Sheehan scored twice on three-point plays in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter to send the game into the first overtime, and then scored again with five seconds left in the second overtime to tie the score at 73, and force a third overtime.

“He just set the table for us,” said Bilodeau. “He did a great job moving the ball offensively, even more so in his scoring and offensive play.”

Ryan Jensen had 20 points and 27 rebounds and hit two clutch free throws to send Sunday's game vs. Rumson into overtime. (Photo by Ray Richardson)

Fellow senior Ryan Jensen scored an additional 20 points, half of which came from the foul line. Jensen added 27 rebounds and four blocks in his double-double performance, and controlled the boards after Rumson center Elijah McAllister fouled out late in the fourth quarter.

“That was the best game we’ve played in as a team,” said Sheehan. “We have great team chemistry, and we just knew that we had to win the game. Our teammates picked us up off the bench and we found a way.”

Rumson senior Brendan Barry, who averages 25.3 points per game, finished with 36 points and four assists. McAllister added seven points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks.

The Rumson bench stepped up on the shooting side of the Bulldogs’ offensive game, as Manasquan’s Shane Flanagan, Brian Paturzo and Jack Sheehan forced Barry drive into help and allowed only deep threes instead of more manageable jumpers.

Sophomore Jack Solano scored nine points off of three-pointers for Rumson, including one that gave the Bulldogs a three-point lead heading into halftime. Teddy Sourlis added 14, six of which came from behind the three-point line in the first quarter.

“It was a tough game, especially with the familiarity that the two teams have,” said Bilodeau. “I don’t think anybody is going to leave and feel like they didn’t get their money’s worth.”

The two teams had met twice earlier this season. Manasquan won the first meeting in December 55-33 when Rumson was without Brendan Barry, and Rumson won the most recent time on January 22 by a score of 53-48.

Fouling was the main story of the game for both teams. Rumson found themselves in foul trouble early in the third quarter, when they collected four fouls in the first 59 seconds of the period. A total of 58 fouls were called between both teams. Manasquan went 30-51 from the line, and Rumson made 19 out of their 26 free throw attempts.

The real excitement began with 6.8 seconds left in regulation, when Brendan Barry went to the free throw line for Rumson and drained two shots to increase a Rumson lead to two. Less than five seconds later, Ryan Jensen was fouled and made his two shots to tie the game at 53 and force the first overtime.

The first overtime came down to a strange series of events in the final 6.2 seconds of the period that began with a forced Rumson turnover off of a Teddy Sourlis steal that gave Manasquan the ball back on their own side. Ryan Jensen missed a layup off the inbounds play with 1.4 seconds on the clock and the score at 61-60 in Rumson’s favor. When Barry recovered the ball after Jensen’s miss, the Bulldogs attempted to call a timeout when they had no timeouts left and, as a result, received a technical foul. A single made free throw from Jack Sheehan tied the game at 61, and forced the second overtime.

Manasquan jumped out to a quick start in the second overtime and built up a 71-64 lead, but the Bulldogs returned with a 9-0 run, starting with a big three from Teddy Sourlis at the 1:39 mark, and capped by a steal and layup from Michael O’Connor with 15 seconds left to put the Bulldogs in front 73-71.

Jack Sheehan hit his game-tying jumper with six seconds left to force the third overtime period.

With three of Rumson’s key players (Sourlis, McAllister, and Pierson) fouled out of the game by the middle of the third overtime, Manasquan capitalized on the defensive end and from the foul line. Paturzo scored six of his eleven points in the period, but his biggest play, and one of the biggest plays of the game came with 42.5 seconds left on a crossover layup that put the Warriors up 79-77. Paturzo hit the second of a pair of free throws with two seconds left in the game, and sealed the deal after Rumson turned the ball over on an inbounds play.

The win advances Manasquan into the SCT semifinals, where they will face the first-seeded CBA. This will be Manasquan’s first semifinal appearance since 2013. The Warriors lost to CBA in the quarterfinals of the tournament last season.

 

BOX SCORE

 

1          2          3                   OT       2OT     3OT     F

Rumson          13        12        8          20        8          12        4          77

Manasquan     14        8          8          23        8          12        7          80

 

Rumson: Brendan Barry 36, Mickey Schulter 5, Michael O’Connor 4, Elijah McAllister 7, Tyler Pierson 1, Teddy Sourlis 14, Jack Solano 11

Manasquan: Ryan Jensen 20, Devin Jensen 7, Jack Sheehan 35, Tommy Sheehan 9, Brian Paturzo 6, Kyle Coyne 3