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Boys Basketball – SCT Watch: Projecting the SCT Field

After a significant week of results, the Shore Conference Tournament will be seeded on Sunday afternoon. Here is a look at the 24-team field and how the qualified teams stack up within the field.

1. Mater Dei Prep (19-3, 13-1)

Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Henry Hudson (2), Keansburg (2), Keyport (2), Point Beach (2), St. Rose (2), at Ranney
Division Losses: Ranney
Non-Division Wins: Freehold Boro, Central, Sayreville, Union Catholic, Lakewood, Holy Trinity (N.Y.)
Non-Division Losses: Patrick School, Newark East Side
Why They’re Here: After winning at Ranney and showing off some shooting prowess that wasn’t all there at the beginning of the year, Mater Dei is looking like a team ready to defend its title. Friday’s win over Point Beach should put a ribbon on a regular season that earns Mater Dei the No. 1 seed in the Shore Conference Tournament for a second straight year.

2. Ranney (17-3, 13-1)

Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Henry Hudson (2), Keansburg (2), Keyport (2), Point Beach (2), St. Rose (2), at Mater Dei
Division Losses: Mater Dei
Non-Division Wins: Oviedo (Fl.), Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.), Rutgers Prep, Montclair Immaculate
Non-Division Losses: Sickles (Fl.), St. Anthony
Why They’re Here: The Panthers drop to No. 2 after Mater Dei beat Point Beach for a second time. Ranney’s claim for the No. 1 seed is probably based on its win over N.Y. power Archbishop Stepinac, but Stepinac was missing leading scorer Alan Griffin in that game, so Ranney does not get the full bump. Although the Panthers have to settle for No. 2, that shouldn’t really hinder them in the tournament given they will still play at home until the quarterfinals and will still be a favorite in every game they play. A win over East Side on Sunday would be a tiebreaker in Ranney’s favor, but the seeds will be done by then.

Ranney sophomore Bryan Antoine vs. Mater Dei in last year's SCT. (Photo by Mark Brown, B51 Photography)
Ranney sophomore Bryan Antoine vs. Mater Dei in last year’s SCT. (Photo by Mark Brown, B51 Photography)

3. Freehold Township (20-1, 13-1)

Division Wins: Colts Neck (2), Freehold Boro (2), Howell (2), Manalapan (2), Marlboro (2), Neptune (2), at CBA
Division Losses: CBA
Non-Division Wins: Brick Memorial, Wall, Manasquan, at Toms River North, Holmdel, Hammonton, at Red Bank
Non-Division Losses: None
Why They’re Here: Freehold Township survived a serious scare on Friday when the Patriots beat Manalapan – a team without any wins in A North play – on a buzzer-beater by Ryan Cardone. In light of that win, Freehold Township still has a better overall collection of wins than Rumson does and, thus, will likely stay in the No. 3 slot. Rumson still has the stronger loss of the two teams (to Roselle Catholic by just three points), but the Patriots boast wins over Toms River North and Manasquan and play in a far better division.

4. Rumson-Fair Haven (19-1, 12-0)

Division Wins: Holmdel (2), Matawan (2), Raritan (2), Red Bank (2), St. John Vianney (2), Shore (2)
Division Losses: None
Non-Division Wins: Fort Hamilton (N.Y.), Barnegat, at Middletown South, Marlboro, Point Beach, Red Bank Catholic, Manasquan
Non-Division Losses: Roselle Catholic
Why They’re Here: An argument for the No. 2 seed probably went out the window with Mater Dei beating Ranney, but the Bulldogs still have a great case to be the No. 3 team. The one thing holding Rumson back is the rest of A Central, which has not challenged the Bulldogs and has not done much against out-of-division competition. With both Rumson and Freehold Township looking like they will be one-loss division champions going into Sunday, the edge goes to Freehold Township.

5. Toms River North (21-1, 13-0)

Division Wins: Brick (2), Brick Memorial (2), Central (2), Jackson Memorial (2), Southern (2), Toms River East (2), Toms River South (2)
Division Losses: None
Non-Division Wins: Middletown South, Point Boro, St. Rose, Colts Neck, CBA, Cherry Hill East, Woodbridge, Wildwood Catholic
Non-Division Losses: Freehold Twp.
Why They’re Here: The No. 5 spot is one of the more cut-and-dried spots in the field at the moment. Toms River North has lost just once and it was to Freehold Township. The Mariners also have a similar problem to that of Rumson in that A South has not been particularly strong this year, although it has been a notch above A Central. With another perfect week, Toms River North could still likely make a case that it should be No. 4 based on a nice set of wins over St. Rose, Point Boro, Colts Neck, CBA and Wildwood Catholic, but Rumson’s Roselle Catholic loss might be the tiebreaker, as crazy as it sounds.

6. Marlboro (14-5, 11-3)

Division Wins: CBA (2), Colts Neck (2), Freehold Boro (2), Howell (2), Manalapan (2), at Neptune
Division Losses: Freehold Twp. (2), Neptune
Non-Division Wins: Donovan Catholic, Point Boro, at Manasquan
Non-Division Losses: St. Rose, Rumson-Fair Haven
Why They’re Here: Marlboro appears to have the clamps on the No. 6 seed thanks to Neptune’s recent slide. Tthe Mustangs pulled out an overtime win over CBA, so they are the undisputed second-place team in A North, which means only Middletown North and Point Beach have a case to be ahead of them.

7. Middletown North (13-8, 10-4)

Division Wins: Middletown South (2), Monmouth (2), Wall (2), at Long Branch, Ocean, Red Bank Catholic
Division Losses: Long Branch, at Manasquan, at Ocean, at Red Bank Catholic
Non-Division Wins: Shore, Matawan, at Point Beach
Non-Division Losses: Sayreville, Central, Neptune, Newark East Side
Why They’re Here: With Neptune falling off this week, Middletown North has pounced thanks to a win over Manasquan and a rather clean resmue with Rob Higgins healthy. The win over Point Beach turns out to be big, while the losses to Neptune and Central don’t weigh the Lions down because Higgins didn’t play in either.

8. Colts Neck (12-7, 9-5)

Division Wins: CBA (2), Freehold Boro (2), Howell (2), Manalapan (2), at Neptune
Division Losses: Freehold Twp. (2), Marlboro (2), Neptune
Non-Division Wins: Irvine (Ca.), Garden Spot (Pa.), Middletown South
Non-Division Losses: Rejoice (Ok.), at Toms River North
Why They’re Here: No team boosted their resume in the last week as much as Colts Neck did. The Cougars beat CBA to end last week and took down Neptune in convincing fashion right befor the cutoff.

9. Christian Brothers Academy (14-8, 8-6)

Division Wins: Freehold Boro (2), Howell (2), Manalapan (2), at Freehold Twp., Neptune
Division Losses: Colts Neck (2), Marlboro (2), Freehold Twp., at Neptune
Non-Division Wins: Kennedy Catholic (N.Y.), St. Laurent (Canada), Hackettstown, William Floyd (N.Y.), Marist, Red Bank Catholic
Non-Division Losses: Toms River North, Wildwood Catholic
Why They’re Here: The Colts miss out on a top-eight seed because Colts Neck beat them twice, but the nine-spot means they will likely have a shot at the Cougars again in the quarterfinals – this time with a full roster. CBA lost to the Cougars without sophomore Liam Kennedy (ankle) and he is now back in action after returning on Saturday against RBC.

10. Point Pleasant Beach (14-8, 10-4)

Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Keansburg (2), Keyport (2), St. Rose (2), at Henry Hudson
Division Losses: Mater Dei (2), Ranney (2)
Non-Division Wins: Irvington, St. Peter’s (N.Y.), Union, Manasquan
Non-Division Losses: At Rumson-Fair Haven, Middletown North, at Point Boro, Linden
Why They’re Here: Although Point Beach lost to Point Boro, the Garnet Gulls hold firm in the seeding with a solid resume while Point Boro drops in light of its second loss to Donovan Catholic. Point Beach has a pair of wins over St. Rose and wins over St. Peter’s of Staten Island, Union and Manasquan cement the Gulls as a top 10 team.

11. Lakewood (15-7, 12-2)

Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Jackson Liberty (2), Lacey (2), Manchester (2), Pinelands (2), at Donovan Catholic, Point Boro
Division Losses: Donovan Catholic, at Point Boro
Non-Division Wins: Long Branch, Bloomfield Tech, at Pemberton
Non-Division Losses: St. Joseph Metuchen (2), Piscataway, Haddonfield, Mater Dei
Before the Cutoff: Vs. Lacey
Why They’re Here: Lakewood’s chances at winning a seventh straight outright division title seemed bleak at the start of the week, but Donovan Catholic did the Piners a favor by beating Point Boro on Friday and Lakewood jumped on the opportunity to seal up the B South title. The Piners have some high-end losses and Long Branch’s recent push should help their case as well.

12. Manasquan (14-8, 10-4)

Division Wins: Monmouth (2), Ocean (2), Wall (2), Long Branch, Middletown North, at Middletown South, Red Bank Catholic
Division Losses: At Long Branch, at Red Bank Catholic, at Middletown North, Middletown South
Non-Division Wins: St. Rose (2), Lacey, Red Bank Catholic
Non-Division Losses: Freehold Twp., Point Beach, Marlboro, at Rumson-Fair Haven
Before the Cutoff: Vs. St. Rose
Why They’re Here: With a second win over St. Rose, Manasquan stays in the Nos. 11-to-14 range, which should suit the Warriors well. At No. 12, they will avoid Ranney, Mater Dei and Freehold Township in any potential round of 16 matchup.

13. Neptune (12-10, 9-5)

Division Wins: Freehold Boro (2), Howell (2), Manalapan (2), CBA, at Colts Neck, at Marlboro
Division Losses: Freehold Twp. (2), at CBA, Colts Neck, Marlboro
Non-Division Wins: Asbury Park, Ewing, at Middletown North
Non-Division Losses: Bloomfield Tech, Bloomfield, at St. Joseph Metuchen, at Bayonne, Long Branch
Why They’re Here: Neptune took the biggest hit of any team over the last week, losing to CBA, Colts Neck and Long Branch. The Scarlet Fliers are still in a good spot to make a run, but they will now have to do it on the road.

14. Red Bank Catholic (13-8, 10-4)

Division Wins: Middletown South (2), Monmouth (2), Ocean (2), Wall (2), Manasquan, Middletown North
Division Losses: Long Branch (2), at Manasquan, at Middletown North
Non-Division Wins: Manchester, Red Bank, at St. John Vianney
Non-Division Losses: Manasquan, Wall, at Rumson-Fair Haven, at CBA
Why They’re Here: With a second loss to Long Branch, RBC holds at the No. 14 position and holds off both Long Branch and Point Boro for the No. 14 spot. The Caseys still have a better divisional record than the Green Wave and a win over a full Middletown North squad is a solid enough win to hold off Point Boro.

15. Point Pleasant Boro (15-5, 11-3)

Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Jackson Liberty (2), Manchester (2), Pinelands (2), at Lacey, Lakewood
Division Losses: Donovan Catholic (2), at Lakewood
Non-Division Wins: Jackson Memorial, Freehold Boro, Brick Memorial, Point Beach
Non-Division Losses: At Toms River North, Marlboro
Why They’re Here: A second loss to Donovan Catholic relegates Point Boro to the No. 15 spot. The Panthers still have that win over Point Beach, which should be enough to earn them a home game in the first round.

16. Long Branch (14-7, 9-5)

Division Wins: Red Bank Catholic (2), Wall (2), Manasquan, at Middletown North, Middletown South, Monmouth, Ocean
Division Losses: At Manasquan, Middletown North, at Middletown South, at Monmouth, at Ocean
Non-Division Wins: Asbury Park, Al-Ghazaly, at Shore, at Red Bank, at Neptune
Non-Division Losses: Lakewood, Ewing
Why They’re Here: Long Branch gave itself a chance to push toward the top 10 by beating RBC and Neptune to cap the week, but a couple bad losses against Monmouth and Middletown South are still prohibiting the Green Wave from making a huge jump.

17. Central (18-4, 11-3)

Division Wins: Brick (2), Brick Memorial (2), Jackson Memorial (2), Southern (2), Toms River East (2), at Toms River South
Division Losses: Toms River North (2), Toms River South
Non-Division Wins: Red Bank, Middletown North, Jackson Liberty, at Donovan Catholic, Colonia, at Lacey, Ridge
Non-Division Losses: Mater Dei
Why They’re Here: Central has been getting squeezed out of the top 10 despite its impressive record because the Golden Eagles have a bad loss without a real signature win. Their 56-55 win over Middletown North came while Higgins was hurt and their next best win was over a sub-.500 Ridge team. Central has had a chance to open some eyes against both Mater Dei and Toms River North and while the Eagles fought hard in those games, they never really threatened to win any of them.

18. St. Rose (14-9, 8-6)

Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Henry Hudson (2), Keansburg (2), Keyport (2)
Division Losses: Mater Dei (2), Point Beach (2), Ranney (2)
Non-Division Wins: Toms River South, Marlboro, at St. John Vianney, at Donovan Catholic, Holmdel, Raritan
Non-Division Losses: Manasquan (2), Toms River North
Why They’re Here: St. Rose gets a tough break with the No. 18 seed given that the Purple Roses have only lost to five teams in the top 12 of the seedings. St. Rose does have a win over Marlboro, but since it came when the Mustangs did not have P.J. Ringel, it only serves to keep them ahead of the likes of Ocean and Donovan Catholic.

19. Ocean (14-7, 7-7)

Division Wins: Middletown South (2), Monmouth (2), Long Branch, Middletown North, Wall
Division Losses: Manasquan (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), at Long Branch, at Middletown North, at Wall
Non-Division Wins: Tottenville (N.Y.), at Matawan, Old Bridge, Pinelands, at Freehold Boro, Shore, at Henry Hudson
Non-Division Losses: None
Why They’re Here: In some cases, a holiday tournament performance can make a difference in seeding and Ocean is a case in point. The Spartans won the Husky Classic by beating both Matawan and Old Bridge, and that’s going to land them in the top 20. A win over Middletown North within the last two weeks also helps and with some good wins on the resume, Ocean figures to be a dangerous team in the first couple rounds, especially if the Spartans are not playing Ranney or Mater Dei in a potential round of 16 game.

20. Donovan Catholic (11-9, 10-4)

Division Wins: Jackson Liberty (2), Lacey (2), Pinelands (2), Point Boro (2), Lakewood, at Manchester, at Lakewood
Division Losses: Barnegat (2), Manchester
Non-Division Wins: Middletown South
Non-Division Losses: Marlboro, Toms River South, Central, Highland, St. Rose
Why They’re Here: The Griffins have some serious warts on their resume but a second win over Point Boro cements their place in the top 20, especially considering they also won a win over Lakewood.

21. Holmdel (10-8, 10-4)

Division Wins: Raritan (2), St. John Vianney (2), Shore (2), at Matawan, at Red Bank
Division Losses: Rumson-Fair Haven (2), Matawan, Red Bank
Non-Division Wins: Manalapan, at Brick Memorial
Non-Division Losses: A.L. Johnson, Watchung Hills, at Freehold Twp., at St. Rose
Why They’re Here: The Hornets scored a convincing win at Matawan on Tuesday, which gives them their first win over a team that will be in the SCT. The best part about Holmdel’s resume is the Hornets don’t have any glaring losses and they have challenged themselves with some good opponents (Rumson, Freehold Township, A.L. Johnson and St. Rose).

22. Barnegat (14-8, 8-6)

Division Wins: Jackson Liberty (2), Donovan Catholic (2), Lacey (2), Manchester, Pinelands
Division Losses: Lakewood (2), Point Boro (2), at Manchester, at Pinelands
Non-Division Wins: Fort Hamilton (N.Y.), Raritan, at Keyport, at Monmouth, at Henry Hudson, Gateway
Non-Division Losses: At Rumson-Fair Haven, Middletown South
Why They’re Here: The Bengals have played well enough recently to climb out of the last spot in the tournament, especially with Brick and Matawan struggling to cross the finish line.

23. Brick (13-8, 7-7)

Division Wins: Brick Memorial (2), Toms River East (2), Jackson Memorial, Southern, Toms River South
Division Losses: Central (2), Toms River North (2), at Jackson Memorial, at Southern, at Toms River North, at Toms River South
Non-Division Wins: At Pinelands, at Monroe, Wall, at Monmouth, Henry Hudson, at Keansburg
Non-Division Losses: Perth Amboy
Why They’re Here: Losses to Southern and Jackson Memorial put Brick in jeopardy of getting the last seed, but the Green Dragons at least have a decent case to avoid it. The non-divisional schedule is very weak and could still land them at No. 24, but there is one team that might be worse off.

24. Matawan (11-9, 6-6)

Division Wins: St. John Vianney (2), Shore (2), at Holmdel, at Red Bank
Division Losses: Raritan (2), Rumson-Fair Haven (2), Holmdel, Red Bank
Non-Division Wins: Carteret, at South Plainfield, Nutley, at Brick Memorial, Monmouth
Non-Division Losses: Ocean, Union, at Middletown North
Why They’re Here: The two losses to Raritan probably keep Matawan in the last spot. Brick is not leaps and bounds ahead of Matawan, so it the committee finds Brick’s non-divisional schedule completely unappealing, the Huskies might avoid the last seed.

 

Eliminated

Red Bank (8-11, 6-6)

Jackson Memorial (8-9, 5-7)

Wall (8-12, 5-9)

Keansburg (7-12, 4-10)

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