The last two seasons of Barnegat boys basketball have included a number of firsts for the program and last week, the Bengals added another to the list of accomplishments never before seen in the 12-year history of the program.

Hosting a Shore Conference Tournament game for the first time ever on Feb. 13, Barnegat upended Middletown South, 57-47, to capture the program's first ever win in the Shore Conference Tournament and stake its claim to the Week Eight Jersey Mike's Team of the Week Award. The win might have marked the start of a run through the tournament, but the Bengals ran into the top seed and No. 4 team in the state, Ranney, in the round of 16 and bowed out two days after the SCT win.

Senior Carson Francisco was Barnegat's scoring leader in the two SCT games, scoring 22 in the win over Middletown South and 16 in the loss at Ranney.

Last week's SCT win was not an aberration from some middling team. Heading into the tournament, the Bengals had won eight straight games and 15 out of 17 since opening the season 1-3. The win over the Eagles made it nine in a row with a 16-2 mark over the 18 games between losses to St. Peter's Prep in December and Ranney on Feb. 15.

After losing to Ranney, Barnegat defeated Monmouth Regional, Red Bank Regional and Red Bank Catholic to reach 20 wins, which established a new single-season program record. Last year's team won 18 games while advancing to the South Jersey Group II semifinals for the first time ever.

Barnegat is the No. 9 seed in this year's South Jersey II bracket, but finds itself with a chance to make a run to its first ever sectional final. The Bengals are on the side of the bracket opposite purported favorites Camden and Haddonfield, while top-seeded Cinnaminson - Barnegat's potential quarterfinal opponent if it can clear Middle Township in the first round - is only 17-7 with a loss to 3-20 Pemberton on Feb. 15.

2018 Team of the Week Winners

Week 1: Manasquan

Week 2: Rumson-Fair Haven

Week 3: Christian Brothers Academy

Week 4: Central

Week 5: Red Bank Catholic

Week 6: Holmdel

Week 7: Neptune

 

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