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Shore Conference Basketball Tournament Contenders

Ciff Lavelle, All Shore Media

It’s not unusual by the time we reach the midway point of the season to be able to whittle down the contenders from the pretenders when it comes to the Shore Conference Basketball Tournament.

As a matter of fact in past years by the middle of January you might be able to come up with only a few teams that have a realistic chance of raising the championship trophy in late February.

Well 2013 is not one of those years and this could be the wildest SCT ever.

Boys

If the tournament were to start today my guess is that Colts Neck would be the top seed as the Cougars are 11-1 and running away with the Class A North division.

The second spot would probably go to Point Pleasant Beach (9-0), especially coming off an impressive win over Manasquan. Coach Nick Catania’s Garnett Gulls are the lone undefeated team at the shore and will have a major test this Saturday when they host Colts Neck.

Manasquan and Lakewood would hold down the 3-4 spots in some order followed by the likes of Shore, Holmdel, Toms River North and CBA.

Not among the top eight is Neptune but expect the Scarlet Fliers to begin collecting wins, claim the Class B North crown and work their way into the shore’s elite. I could easily make a case for as many as six teams to win the SCT and this weekend’s Colts Neck-Point Beach matchup could be a preview of the championship game on Saturday, February 23 at Monmouth University.

Girls

Sure the old standbys are here in Red Bank Catholic, St. John Vianney, Rumson-Fair Haven and Neptune but they have plenty of company.

RBC is one of four undefeated teams on January 15th with the others being Point Boro, Middletown South and Point Beach.

Led by Boston College recruit Kelly Hughes, the Panthers won their first-ever WOBM Christmas Classic title in December and should roll to the Class B South crown. However they have their eyes on a bigger crown and certainly rate the role as one of the favorites to claim the crown won last season by St. Rose.

It would be interesting if they met up along the way with the Garnett Gulls, who obviously are at another level with the additions of Katelynn Flaherty and Marina Mabrey.

The Beach may be small when it comes to their number of students but both their basketball programs are riding a wave of success like never before. However there are quite a few girls’ teams with title aspirations and the final four figures to be a power-laden quartet.

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