MANASQUAN - At the end of last season, Ryan Jensen joked with his younger brother Devin that he wouldn't be able to join him among the ranks of 1,000-point scorers at Manasquan with only one season left in his career.

Challenge accepted.

Manasquan senior Devin Jensen celebrated becoming the 10th player to reach 1,000 points in Manasquan history with head coach Andrew Bilodeau. (Photo by Scott Stump)

"I think it was pretty cool because (Ryan) told me I couldn't get it last year, so I wanted to prove him wrong,'' Devin said.

While Ryan moved on to play at The College of New Jersey, Devin returned as a senior with just over 400 career points after mainly playing a complementary role on some talented Warriors teams in his first three varsity seasons.

That meant it was going to take a big season for him to hit quadruple digits, and a big season is exactly what he has delivered.

Jensen has been among the top two in scoring in the Shore Conference all season at better than 21 points per game, and he joined Ryan in the 1,000-point club as part of a game-high 29 points on Monday night during fourth-seeded Manasquan's 68-43 rout of 13th-seeded Robbinsville (11-13) in the first round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II playoffs. 

The Warriors (17-10) will now host fifth-seeded North Plainfield in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Ryan was in attendance on Monday as he and Devin became the first brothers in Manasquan history to both reach the 1,000-point mark. Devin is the 10th player overall in school history to reach four digits. 

He entered the night needing 17 to reach 1,000, which he surpassed on a third-quarter lay-up after senior guard Brian Paturzo whistled a pass to him on the block.

 

Jensen started the game shooting 3-for-10 from the field, as he was admittedly forcing the action in trying to quickly put the milestone in the rearview mirror to focus on the Warriors' playoff run. "A little bit,'' he responded when asked if he was pressing. "Definitely in this situation because we're just waiting to get back at Rumson (for a regular-season loss) and get prepared, so you kind of just want to get it over with and move on." While Jensen was tasked with making the leap from third or fourth scoring option to the main guy this season, head coach Andrew Bilodeau felt it was a natural transition. "Guys like (former stars) Jack Fay and Tommy Toole and Jack Sheehan and his brother Ryan and J.R. Hobbie - Devin learned from those guys,'' Bilodeau said. "That's how it works. He's just been a part of that lineage." "I just think that in the summer I worked pretty hard,'' Jensen said. "These guys do an awesome job of getting me the ball and with screens and stuff." The plan was not necessarily for Jensen to shoulder as much of the scoring load as he has this season, but it became imperative because a rash of injuries to key players like Paturzo, Ryan Flanagan, and Justin Gladden meant that the Warriors have rarely had their full lineup out there this winter.  "A couple guys went down and Devin stayed the same and helped carry the team,'' said Paturzo, who chipped in 15 points on Monday night. He worked on his ball-handling knowing that he needed to do more than just come off screens for jumpshots this season, especially given that he draws the opposing team's best defender in every game. In the process, Jensen blossomed into a scholarship player, as he is headed to play at Division II Merrimack College. "He's become much more aggressive, willing to put it on the floor and get in the lane, and I think his shot selection has really improved,'' Bilodeau said. "Last year he was more of a catch-and-shoot guy, but this year he's creating his own shots a lot more,'' Paturzo said. He still can light it up from long range, as he showed on Monday by burying six 3-pointers in one of the quietest 29-point games you'll see.  

That helped him reach a milestone that looked like a bit of a long shot coming into the season. Now he and the Warriors can focus on finishing the job in Central Jersey Group II, where they lost to Bordentown in the championship game last season.

"There's really nothing to say - you lose one, you're out,'' Jensen said. "Wednesday will probably be our last time playing in this gym so we just have to put it all out there. (Bilodeau) just said in the locker room, 'Treat every play like it's life and death,' so that's what we're gonna do."

Contact: stump@allshoremedia.com or @Scott_Stump

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