The Shore Daily, 1/28/15
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There were no Shore Conference sports last night because of the snow, so I'm only doing this so I won't get fined.
In some quick football news, the commitments keep rolling in with National Signing Day coming up next Wednesday. Red Bank Catholic senior wide receiver Trevor Cowley, who had a team-high 27 catches for 479 yards and 7 touchdowns for the Non-Public Group III champs, announced Tuesday night that he has committed to Elon University, where he will join Rumson safety Sam Eisenstadt among the incoming recruiting class. Eisenstadt's Rumson teammate, cornerback Grant Rataski, will continue his career at Bryant University as a preferred walk-on, according to coach Bryan Batchler. Also, Cowley's RBC teammate, senior lineman Neil Horenburg, added an offer from Seton Hill University on Wednesday.
In case you missed it, Toms River North senior tight end Jordan Craig has committed to the University of Maine.
I also did a feature on the future of Ranney basketball with eighth-grade phenom Scottie Lewis and more in the fold. It could be a whole different world for the Panthers next season. The best photo from our shoot was this one of Lewis dunking over seated teammate Alex Klatsky, and he did it with ease. I like my nonchalant look of, "Oh, another eighth-grader doing an NBA dunk contest-style dunk over a teammate. See that all the time." Yeah, actually I haven't seen something like that out of a player that young since J.R. Smith. Our great photographer, Mark Brown of B51 Photography, gave me this look like, "Is this normal?" Uh, no.
With a light schedule in boys basketball highlighting today's action and the Shore Conference Wrestling Tournament not getting started until Friday, let's take a look at how the basketball division races are shaping up as we head down the stretch.
Class A North
No. 2 Christian Brothers Academy still has a two-game lead on the rest of the field for the overall title with six divisional games to go. Considering the Colts have only lost one of their last 21 division games dating back to the 2012-13 season, it's a good bet they are on their way to repeating as champs. The real intrigue is for the public title, where Freehold Township is currently in the lead as the second-place team in the division. The Patriots are only one game ahead of the cluster of Manalapan, Howell, Marlboro and Middletown North and still have to play everyone else except CBA again, so there are plenty of games left to decide that race.
Class A Central
This is a three-team race between two-time defending champion Manasquan, Shore Regional and Rumson-Fair Haven, with Manasquan and Shore currently tied for first. Shore hosts Rumson on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in a pivotal game between fierce rivals that should be a great atmosphere. The Blue Devils play Manasquan for a second time on Feb. 5 at home in a game that could decide the division title depending on how things shake out.
Class A South
No. 1 Toms River North leads a pack of four teams that are all in the hunt, as the Mariners have a one-game lead on second-place Toms River South and a two-game lead on Brick Memorial and Southern. Toms River North is at Southern on Friday for a big one after beating the Rams in their first meeting, and then it hosts Toms River South on Monday at Pine Belt Arena looking to beat the Indians for the third time this season. Toms River North could just about put the division title away with back-to-back wins in those games. The Mariners also have to go to Brick Memorial on Feb. 5 to face the team that handed them their lone loss of the season.
Class B North
This is one of the fiercest races remaining, with four teams still right in the mix and two others, Neptune and Matawan, who could monkey wrench the race. Red Bank, Wall and Colts Neck are all tied for first with two divisional losses, and Red Bank Catholic is right behind them with three. Tonight, Red Bank faces a Neptune team that has played well of late, followed by Matawan tomorrow. The Bucs are then at Colts Neck on Feb. 9 after beating the Cougars in their first meeting. That could be a potentially huge game considering the Bucs have already played RBC and Wall twice.
Colts Neck also still has Neptune and Matawan and then has to play at RBC on Feb. 5 after beating the Caseys in their first meeting. The Cougars also host Wall on Feb. 12 in another potentially big game depending on how things shake out. Wall also has to play RBC a second time in a game that is being rescheduled because of the snow after beating the Caseys in their first meeting.
Class B Central
This division is coming down to the Point Beach-St. Rose rematch on Feb. 7 at Point Beach. The defending champion Garnet Gulls won the first round with the Purple Roses, so there most likely will either be a tie for the overall title or Point Beach will win it outright because both teams have been a cut above this division.
Class B South
Lakewood is only a game ahead of Manchester, but routed the Hawks in their first meeting, so the Piners are still a heavy favorite to repeat as champions. Donovan Catholic and Central are two games behind the Piners in the race, but the only team that has really come close against Lakewood is Pinelands, and the Piners already played the Wildcats twice. Lakewood hosts Donovan Catholic on Friday, travels to Central on Monday and then will be at Manchester on Feb. 13 in a game that will be for the division title if neither team gets knocked off before then.
More on Wednesday:
- Boston Red Sox right-hander Anthony Ranaudo got traded to the team that originally drafted him out of St. Rose.
- If you want to make some money on local standout Tim Wright, you can win a prop bet if the Wall/Rutgers grad makes one catch for at least one yard in the Super Bowl.
- The Warriors unveiled an 8-foot-high bobblehead of the late Manute Bol last night, and yes, it's awesome.
- A girls basketball player in Oklahoma dropped 55 one week after putting up 51 points.
- The Seahawks have a roving sports shrink who is on the sidelines during games.
- The strange and sad final days of radio legend Casey Kasem.
On tap for tonight: There are four basketball games tonight, highlighted by Neptune heading to Red Bank in Class B North, and a Toms River East team that has been playing some solid ball going down Route 37 to face No. 1 Toms River North in Class A South. Things then will get going full swing again tomorrow, followed by the wrestling SCT on Friday and Saturday.
I'll leave you with this awesome image of an unidentified man who shoveled out the finish line of the Boston Marathon in the midst of the blizzard up there yesterday. I spoke to the guy who took the photo for a story from my day job working for NBC's TODAY Show. Great image.