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An impressive rally on the road by Red Bank Regional, a milestone for Lacey's Chris Iapicco, and another electric performance by Tymere Berry in a big Toms River South win highlighted Thursday night's action.

Before I get to that, I just want to say that all of us here at Shore Sports Network are excited about the exclusive media partnership with the Shore Conference that was announced by its executive committee yesterday. You can read all about it here. 

Matt Manley was in the house at Wall to see a key Class B North game against the visiting Bucs, who dug themselves out of a 13-point fourth-quarter hole to get the win, which is no easy feat in a state that doesn't have a shot clock. Despite going 1-for-10 from the foul line, junior Sadiq Palmer was clutch in the end, scoring 11 of his 15 points in the fourth to complement a 19-point effort by fellow senior Tyler Christie.

Shore Conference boys basketball stat leaders through Jan. 21

The win put Red Bank back into a three-way tie for first in the division with Wall and Colts Neck after the Bucs lost to rival Red Bank Catholic on Tuesday. They turned up the defensive intensity in the second half to help create some quick offense to fuel the comeback against a Wall team that had won eight straight. Red Bank is a very tight-knit team, and it showed with that gutsy performance in a hostile atmosphere.

In this clip of a big fourth-quarter bucket by Palmer, watch how fired up Red Bank's bench gets, led by senior forward Eddie Hendrex. This is a group of players that seems to have really bought into the team concept pushed by coach Scott Martin.

This season has shown that it's really going to be all about the match-ups in the Shore Conference Tournament, rather than a few powerhouse teams looming over the landscape. Wall's only two losses in the division are to Red Bank, and Red Bank's only two losses this season are to Red Bank Catholic. You also look at a team like Pinelands, which is 2-6 in Class B South yet has given division front-runner Lakewood its two hardest divisional games of the season by far, including a 55-52 win last night that the Piners had to pull out on three free throws by Ryan Lawrence in the final minute.

Thanks to another nuclear night by Berry, Toms River South is now breathing down rival Toms River North's neck in the Class A South race. Berry, who already has a 42-point game on his resume this season, dropped 38 on No. 10 Southern in a big 74-66 overtime win that put the Indians alone in second place, one game in the loss column behind the Mariners, who they still play one more time this season.

Toms River South senior Tymere Berry did it again with a 38-point strafing of Southern in a big A South win. (Photo by Bill Normile)

The most impressive thing about Berry is that it's not just his prolific scoring, as he leads the Shore Conference at 26.7 points per game, but his all-around game. In his 42-point game against Brick Memorial last week, he also had 16 rebounds and six assists. Against Southern last night, he added 12 rebounds and seven steals. He is certainly right in the Player of the Year discussion at this point. He also is only four points away from 1,000 for his career heading into the Indians' next game, which is Tuesday against Lacey.

Speaking of Lacey and 1,000-point scorers, senior center Chris Iapicco notched his 1,000th point last night for the Lions on a putback in a 56-39 loss to No. 3 Toms River North, finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds. While the Lions have struggled at 3-7, Iapicco has been a machine, averaging 23.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

In two other notable performances from Thursday, Toms River East, which has played some quality teams tough, got over the hump and knocked off Brick Memorial, 66-59, as junior guard Ryan West led the way with 18 points. This program continues to improve under second-year coach Jim Dempsey. Also, Brick ended a 10-game losing streak by beating Jackson Memorial by two, as both of the Green Dragons' wins this season are over the Jaguars.

Also, keep an eye on Keyport's Travis Alvarez, a 6-foot-6 junior center who is quietly averaging a double-double this season at 14.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. He put up another one with 16 points and 10 boards in a win over Henry Hudson last night to get the Red Raiders within a game of .500 at 4-5.

On the girls side, Asbury Park's Destiny Smith had a huge game with 30 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Keansburg that continued the best Blue Bishops' girls season in a while as they improved to 6-3.

In football news, Shore Regional senior kicker Jake Monteiro will continue his career as a preferred walk-on at Rutgers. Monteiro has the school records for career and single-season field goals and looks to compete with incumbent Kyle Federico for the kicking job and then have a shot to really make a run at a starting spot and a scholarship in 2016 after Federico graduates.

More on Friday:

  • A northern California high school football team got banned from the state playoffs for two seasons and fined $6,000 for forfeiting a consolation (!) game.
  • University of New Mexico point guard Hugh Greenwood admitted after a win that he was motivated by a Twitter troll who was making jokes about his mother's breast cancer and writing things like he was going to bring Greenwood's mother to the game in a hearse. I seriously weep for humanity.
  • You would think that "Friday Night Tykes" show that makes youth football in San Antonio look like a horrifying nightmare of obsessed coaches and crazy parents would have a chilling effect on participation. Actually, the number of players has increased 35 percent since the show began.
  • It's not just fans road tripping it to spring training.
  • The superintendent of a Texas high school district is apologizing after a school has been accused of racism after fans chanted "U-S-A! U-S-A!" at a girls basketball game against a team with a majority of Hispanic players.
  • Josh Shaw, the USC football player who made up that lie about saving his cousin in a pool when he was really running from the cops now has to deal with the fallout heading into the NFL Draft.
  • Fun story on the company that invented the video game cartridge and spawned a billion-dollar industry.

On tap for tonight: The two main boys basketball games tonight are in Class A Central and Class A North as the division races start to hit the home stretch.

In A North, No. 4 Freehold Township hosts No. 1 Christian Brothers Academy at 5:30 p.m. in what is always a great atmosphere. CBA already has a three-game lead on everyone in the division after Freehold Township lost to Manalapan on Tuesday, so the Colts can all but officially put the division crown on ice tonight with a win. They have not lost to a Class A North team since the 2012-13 season and routed the Patriots in the season opener in their first meeting.

In A Central, No. 5 Rumson-Fair Haven travels to No. 8 Manasquan that will knock the losing squad out of a first-place tie in the division race. Those two are currently tied with Shore Regional in the loss column with one divisional loss apiece. The Bulldogs enter as the hottest team in the Shore with a seven-game winning streak behind explosive junior guard Brendan Barry, one of the Shore's top scorers.

Manasquan is still trying to find its footing, having lost to a sub-.500 Neptune team last week and squeezed out a four-point win over Raritan on Tuesday, as the Warriors try to win their third straight division title. Shore Regional also hosts Raritan at 6:30 p.m. and needs a win to keep pace with the winner of Rumson-Manasquan atop the division.

This game is also big on the girls basketball side, as two of the top 10 teams in the state collide at Rumson after Manasquan won Round One against the Bulldogs.

There also is a big wrestling match tonight as Brick Memorial looks to take the final step in clinching the Class A South title when it heads to Southern at 6:30 p.m. in a Top 10 showdown. Jackson Liberty can also wrap up the Class B South crown with a win at Central at 5:30 p.m.

I'll end with Wall's Crimson Crazies, who pulled out all the stops to try to get the win over Red Bank, including bringing Alien Ray Rice to the game.