Boys Basketball – Top 10, 2/3/14
This is the final conventional top 10 before next week, when this spot will shift to the Shore Conference Tournament Watch. While parity still rules the day beyond Point Pleasant Beach and Christian Brothers Academy, the top 10 seems like it’s starting to take shape as it pertains to the SCT. There is still time for some team to mess things up with an unexpected hot streak, but this week was one of the easier lists to do this season.
1. Point Beach (15-0, 9-0) Last Week: 1
The Garnet Gulls haven’t really had to play a full game against a Shore Conference opponent yet because their first halves have been so dominant. The latest example was a 65-30 win over Middletown North in which Point Beach led 39-5 at halftime.
2. Christian Brothers Academy (11-4, 10-0) Last Week: 2
CBA has had to put in a little more effort against the Shore, but not that much more. Freehold Township gave CBA a tough half and led the Colts at halftime, but CBA bombarded the Patriots with a 29-10 third quarter and moved to 10-0 in the Shore. The difference between No. 1 and No. 2 is that Point Beach has wins over Lakewood and Jackson Memorial and will have a chance to boost the resume Wednesday against Long Branch.
3. Matawan (14-2, 7-1) Last Week: 3
The Huskies finally took a loss in Class B North with a defeat at Neptune on Monday, but are still in the driver’s seat after beating Long Branch for a second time this season on Thursday. Matawan is a classic example of a team that is good enough to make noise in the postseason while also persevering and prevailing in some very close games.
4. Long Branch (10-4, 6-3) Last Week: 4
Long Branch lost twice this week, including a loss to Matawan that is devastating to its division title hopes. Fortunately for Long Branch, the win over Lakewood is going to carry a lot of weight in light of Lakewood’s blowout win at Neptune. The Green Wave play No. 1 Point Beach on Wednesday and has a chance to open some eyes.
5. Lakewood (13-3, 9-0) Last Week: 5
The Piners had to battle in two tough division games against Point Boro and Pinelands while fighting some injuries, but ended the week with an exclamation point at Neptune on Saturday. Beating the Scarlet Fliers – who beat both Matawan and Neptune at home earlier in the week – by 23 points should prove that Lakewood is still very much in the mix for a top-four seed in the conference.
6. Neptune (8-5, 6-2) Last Week: Not ranked
The Scarlet Fliers had a brief stint in the top 10 after beating Shore at the Boardwalk Showcase, but fell out after losing to Red Bank at the buzzer. Wins over Matawan and Long Branch have Neptune alive and well in the B North race. Thursday’s rematch against Red Bank is a must-win when it comes to the Class B North race.
7. Manasquan (10-2, 8-1) Last Week: 7
Neptune gets the slight edge over Manasquan because the Scarlet Fliers beat Shore on a neutral court and Manasquan lost to the Blue Devils by 20 in the Buc Classic final. Of course, Manasquan also beat Shore by 20 at home, so there is not much of an obvious difference between the Warriors and the Fliers when it comes to rankings/seedings.
8. Jackson Memorial (12-4, 8-1) Last Week: 10
The Jaguars still have “beat Southern” on their to-do list, but two wins over Toms River South go a long way toward helping Jackson Memorial put Class A South away. At this point, Jackson Memorial's loss to Manchester should be considered a mulligan and a win that will help Manchester more than a loss that will hurt Jackson.
9. Shore (12-5, 7-3) Last Week: Not ranked
The Blue Devils are as hot as any team outside the top two, having won six straight games by 18 points or more. Winning a division title will be difficult because the Blue Devils trail Manasquan by two games in the loss column and Manasquan has already played Holmdel, Red Bank Catholic and Rumson-Fair Haven twice.
10. Red Bank (10-5, 4-4) Last Week: 9
If not for a 19-point win over Red Bank Catholic, Red Bank probably loses its top 10 spot in light of its loss to Ocean on Saturday. Despite that loss, a 10-5 record with wins over Neptune, RBC and Rumson give the Bucs a pretty nice resume.
Red Bank Catholic (10-4, 7-2) Last Week: 6 – The Caseys are still right there, but a head-to-head loss to Red Bank keeps RBC on the fringe for now.
Southern (7-6, 5-3) Last Week: 8 – The win over Jackson Memorial is great, but two losses to Lacey, one at Brick Memorial and one at home to Jackson Liberty are a lot to look past.
On the Bubble
Toms River South (10-5, 6-4) – Jackson Memorial was not kind to the Indians this week, but the Toms River South stable of guards should still present problems for lots of teams.
Freehold Township (10-6, 7-2) – The Patriots still have a win over Red Bank Catholic, but that’s really the only signature win to this point for a team that is otherwise very good.
Monsignor Donovan (10-4, 6-2) – The three teams trailing Lakewood all deserve a mention because they have all had their moments. Monsignor Donovan leads that trio.
Point Boro (9-5, 7-3) – The Panthers nearly took out Lakewood last Tuesday and performances like that suggest they will be a very tough out in the tournaments.
Manchester (10-5, 4-4) – The Hawks have been just okay within the B South division, but the WOBM run – which includes a win over Jackson Memorial – carries some weight.