It’s no surprise that the Shore Conference holds the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of its Boys & Girls basketball tournament in Monmouth County.  After all it’s been pretty much a Monmouth County event for the last decade or two or three for that matter. 

Shore Sports Network broadcast schedule

Wednesday Boys Semifinals

Point Beach                   vs.     Manasquan                    (6pm)
Lakewood                      vs.     Toms River North         (7:45)

Point Boro-St. John Vianney Plaer of the Game Kelly Hughes (Townsquare Media NJ)

Might as well hold it in the back yards of the schools that make annual trips to the Elite Eight, Final Four and Championship rounds.  However after this year tournament organizers might consider playing some games south of the county line because Ocean County is trying to bust up a party at which they rarely get an invitation.

Take for example last night’s girls semifinals at the Collins Arena on the campus of Brookdale Community College.  In the opener St. John Vianney met Point Boro and if tradition was worth points than the Lady Lancers had it all over the Panthers.

Vianney has so dominated the event that during a 16-year stretch between 1990 and 2005 they won 12 championships and three times fell in the title games meaning 15 trips to the finals in those 16 years.  Recent times have not been quite as good for the Holmdel parochial school as they lost in the championship game in 2009 and 2011.  As for Point Boro…well they did reach the finals of the SCT once before…that was in 1972, the first very year that the tournament included girls.

Well 43 years later the Boro will play for the championship after last night’s 61-58 victory in a game that had a little bit of everything and a lot of anxious moments down the stretch.  Boston College-bound Kelly Hughes scored 9 of her 22 points in the 4th quarter and Lindsey Havens hit a huge 3-pointer to help the senior-laden Panthers advance into Saturday’s final against top-seeded Red Bank Catholic, who rolled past Middletown South.  By the way Boro lost to Brick 37-27 in that 1972 final.

The Boys semifinals are tonight at Brookdale and it could produce just the third all-Ocean County final in the 76-year history of the tournament.  Point Beach takes on Manasquan in the 6pm opener while top-seeded Lakewood collides with Toms River North in the finale with both games to be broadcast on 1160/1310AM.  For the record Lakewood was the last Ocean County team to win the event back in 1991 when they claimed their 7th Shore Conference title.

Neither Point Beach nor TR North has ever won it and Manasquan’s most recent championship was in 1957.   Welcome to the Final Four…there are no Colts, Scarlet Fliers or Cougars but you’ll find a host of Piners, Mariners, Garnett Gulls and Warriors.