Boys Basketball – Manasquan Rallies Past Point Beach to Stay Unbeaten
LONG BRANCH - Manasquan junior Devin Jensen is a first-year starter for the Warriors and one thing that has stood out to him about his team is that they don't seem to ever worry about losing. Not because it wouldn't bother them, but more because they never let it happen.
For the fourth straight game, Manasquan - the No. 3 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - rallied from a halftime deficit to extend its season-opening unbeaten streak, this time coming back from nine down late in the third quarter to beat Point Pleasant Beach Saturday at the Hoop Group Boardwalk Showcase at Long Branch High School.
"When we get down, this team just doesn't panic," said Jensen, who scored a season-high 19 points along with seven rebounds to earn team MVP honors. "We never feel like we're in trouble as long as there is game left to play."
In its last three wins prior to Saturday, Manasquan beat Toms River North, Allentown and St. John Vianney all after trailing while heading to the locker room at half. Point Beach led by just one at halftime, but built up a 36-27 lead by the final two minutes of the third quarter.
The Warriors, however, began a rally that started with a basket by junior Bryan Paturzo to cut the Garnet Gulls lead to seven before the and of the quarter. The bucket ignited an 18-0 run over a span of nine minutes that turned what appeared to be Manasquan's first loss into its ninth straight win.
Jensen led the fourth-quarter push with nine points in the frame. He converted a three-point play to cut the deficit to 36-32 on the first Warriors possession of the fourth, then knocked down a three from the wing to cut pull Manasquan within a point.
Senior Jack Sheehan hit a pull-up jumper to give Manasquan the lead for good, 37-36 with more just under six minutes still to play. Sheehan added a drive to the basket to make it 39-36 and his younger brother, Tom, scored the next couple of Manasquan baskets to push the lead to seven.
Jensen scored on a feed from Tom Sheehan to give Manasquan its largest lead, 45-36, before senior Jimmy Panzini hit a three to end the Point Beach scoring drought with 1:07 left in the game.
Jack Sheehan scored 12 points and added six rebounds and four assists, while senior Ryan Jensen grabbed 12 rebounds and handed out four assists to go with his six points - all of which came in the first quarter.
Senior Mike Rice was named Point Beach MVP with eight points, 10 rebounds and three assists, while Panzini led the Gulls with nine points.
Manasquan's defensive performance in the fourth quarter Saturday was reminiscent of its fourth quarter against Toms River North in the WOBM Christmas Classic final in which the Warriors held the Mariners without a field goal for the first six minutes of the quarter.
Since a 19-point loss to Mater Dei Prep on opening night, Point Beach has been on the short end of a number of tight games. The Garnet Gulls sufferred a three-point home loss to St. Rose, lost to Monsignor Scanlan of the Bronx, 55-54, and held fourth-quarter leads of seven points against both Ranney and Manasquan before losing.