LONG BRANCH – Missing two starters in one of its more challenging games to date, the Manasquan boys basketball team operated with the rallying cry “all hands on deck” in order to stay with Matawan in the final game of Saturday’s Hoop Group Boardwalk Showcase.

The rallying cry resonated with the Warriors, perhaps because it has been their calling card all year long.

Junior Jack Sheehan scored the go-ahead basket with a little more than two minutes left for his 15th point and senior Luke O’Shaughnessy also added 15 points to earn team MVP to help lead the short-handed Warriors – No. 8 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 – to a win over the No. 7 Huskies.

Manasquan senior Luke O'Shaughnessy, pictured last year against Matawan, scored 15 points in a 42-40 Warriors win over the Huskies on Saturday. (Photo by Cliff Lavelle)

“We came in with that motto: ‘All hands on deck,’” O’Shaughnessy said. “It’s been the way we’ve operated all year with the injuries and guys missing and today was no different. We have guys who know their roles and are ready to help in any way we can.”

Manasquan played Saturday’s game without senior starters Aidan McMenaman and Kyle Bradshaw, making it the ninth game in which the Warriors missed part of their starting lineup. McMenaman suffered a hyperextended knee against Bishop Ahr on Wednesday and Bradshaw was ejected from Friday’s game against St. John Vianney, according to Manasquan coach Andrew Bilodeau. Bradshaw – a Monmouth Regional transfer who returned from a foot injury to make his season debut against Bishop Ahr – will miss one more game before returning from his requisite two-game suspension.

In addition to overcoming its missing talent, Manasquan overcame an 11-3 start by Matawan and a slow scoring night from its leading scorer. Manasquan answered Matawan’s fast start with an 18-3 run to take a 21-14 lead and built a 26-18 lead by halftime.

“Matawan showed how dangerous they can be in those first few minutes because before we can ever get settled, we’re looking up at the scoreboard like, ‘Oh crap, it’s 9-2,’” O’Shaughnessy said. “But there was no frustration, no panic. We just changed up our defense a little bit and kept playing hard.”

Junior Ryan Jensen, meanwhile, scored only one point in the game, but he grabbed 10 rebounds and helped shut down the paint on the defensive end. Matawan hit 10 3-pointers to stay in the game, but the Huskies converted just two field goals in the paint in the half-court and went to the foul line only six times.

“We have guys who are ready to step up and give anything they can give,” Jensen said. “My focus is always on defense and rebounding and even though I didn’t do much on offense, we had guys like my brother (Devin Jensen) and Tommy Sheehan step in and give us some key baskets, and that’s what this program has been about for the three years I’ve been here. If we lose one guy, the next guys steps up.”

The Warriors employed a triangle-and-two for a majority of the game, with a defender assigned to each of Dunne and Joe Piscopo. Dunne and Piscopo combined for nine points in the first three minutes, but combined for 13 the rest of the way once Manasquan changed up its defense.

Manasquan’s lone loss of the season came against Toms River South in the WOBM Christmas Classic quarterfinals, a game in which the Warriors went heavy on the triangle-and-two and were burned by the Indians’ secondary options in a 62-60 loss.

Although Manasquan took control of the game in the second quarter, Matawan rallied to take the lead with a 19-9 third-quarter burst, sparked by senior Jason Dunne. The senior University of Hartford recruit scored 10 of his game-high 16 points in the quarter, including his 1,000th career point on a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:02 left in the third.

After a brief stoppage of play to acknowledge the milestone, Dunne buried a long three from the left wing to cap the third and give the Huskies a 37-35 lead heading into the fourth.

Manasquan shut down Matawan in the fourth, allowing the Huskies only three points. Matawan also clamped down defensively, and took a 40-39 lead with 2:29 left on a 3-pointer by sophomore Pat Hennessy. In fewer than 10 minutes of playing time off the bench, Hennessy knocked down three 3-pointers for nine points, all of which came in the second half.

Matawan’s one-point lead was short-lived, as Sheehan came right back with a driving lay-up to put Manasquan ahead with 2:16 left. Hennessey had a good look at a shot to take the lead in the final 30 seconds off a kick-out from Dunne, but the shot from the right wing hit the back of the rim.

By beating the Huskies on Saturday, Manasquan also exacted a measure of revenge against Matawan, which beat Manasquan on the very same floor in last year’s Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals. Ryan Jensen and Jack Sheehan were starters on last year’s team, while O’Shaughnessy came off the bench.

“It wasn’t a huge emphasis, but there was definitely some extra motivation once we stepped on the court,” Jensen said. “The guys who played against them last year remember losing that game and it definitely stung. Winning today doesn’t change it, but it’s good to know it’s behind us and we were able to get a big win tonight.”

 

Box Score

Manasquan 42, Matawan 40

1

2

3

4

F

Manasquan (8-1)

11

15

9

7

42

Matawan (4-4)

11

7

19

3

40

 

Manasquan (42): Jack Sheehan 5 2-2 15, Luke O’Shaughnessy 5 4-6 15, Ryan Jensen 0 1-2 1, Matt Paturzo 0 0-0 0, Devin Jensen 1 2-4 5, Liam McAllister 0 2-2 2, Tommy Sheehan 1 2-2 4. Totals: 12 13-18 42

Three-pointers: J. Sheehan 3, O’Shaughnessy, D. Jensen

Fouled Out: J. Sheehan

Matawan (40): Joe Piscopo 2 0-0 6, Jason Dunne 5 2-2 16, Samson Ore-Onitolo 0 0-0 0, Nick Smith 1 2-4 4, Mergim Gjyriqi 1 0-0 2, Matt Esposito 0 0-0 0, Michael Dunne 1 0-0 3, Randy Myers 0 0-0 0, Pat Hennessy 3 0-0 9. Totals: 13 4-6 40

Three-pointers: Piscopo 2, J. Dunne 4, M. Dunne, Hennessey 3