The Shore Daily, 2/1/15
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Brick Memorial headlined Saturday by taking home a record 15th Shore Conference Wrestling Tournament title at the expense of Class A South rival Jackson Memorial by beating the Jaguars for the second time this season.
The Mustangs' hard-fought 33-24 win came after Jackson Memorial stunned previously undefeated Howell, the defending champion and No. 1 seed, with a 27-22 win in the semifinals. In the championship match, Brick Memorial won eight of 14 bouts to win their third SCT title in the last four seasons. Junior Luke Vescovi had a clutch 11-2 major decision at 132 for some key bonus points, and seniors Cliff Ruggiero, Rob Ruggiero, Jose Bocalman and Alec Donovan, along with sophomore Gianni Ghione all picked up crucial bonus points as well.
It all added up to yet another SCT title for the Mustangs, who have been a dominant force in the Shore and state for 30-plus years now, which you can't say about too many programs at any school in the Shore.
This week ahead is now a tune-up for the NJSIAA Tournament, which starts next week. The Shore Conference has a good chance to make a run at multiple Group titles as always.
There were a few games that stood out on Saturday, mainly Manalapan's overtime takedown of No. 10 Shore Regional and Red Bank winning a tight game against Rumson-Fair Haven in a Top 10 showdown in the annual "Battle of Ridge Road" game.
Red Bank junior Jack Navitsky did what no player has really done this season and held Rumson star Brendan Barry in check, limiting him to eight points, 16 below his season average, to help key the 47-45 win. Senior Eddie Hendrex also had a big block on a potential game-winning shot in the paint as time expired to seal it. That's a good nondivisional win for the Bucs' resume come Shore Conference Tournament seeding time. Also, congrats to the member of the Buc Deck student section who became a father of twins while Rumson was at the foul line yesterday.
Manalapan senior Kyle Mullen, who has been as solid as any frontcourt player in the Shore even though he is more known as a football star, had 21 points in a 57-51 win over the Blue Devils. Zach Misischia added 18 points for the Braves in one of those games that was good compare the relative strength of Class A North (Manalapan) vs. Class A Central (Shore).
Also, nice win for Jackson Memorial, which swept the season series from Brick Memorial, which has been all over the map this season. Jimmy Markham had 12 points to lead the way for the Jaguars. Southern also picked up a solid nonconference win by beating Bridgeton at the Battle by the Bay showcase at Atlantic City High School with a 67-64 win behind 21 points from junior Peyton Wejnert. Lakewood ran into the buzzsaw in a 23-point loss to Trenton Catholic, a Top 10 team in the state, as Syracuse recruit Malachi Richardson dropped 25. Still, Lakewood is not going to see a team that good in the SCT, so it's a good test to get them ready for the postseason.
Mater Dei Prep sophomores Eddie Lewis and Artis Hemmingway played in the U-17 International Bowl last night in Dallas, and Lewis did his thing. He had a game-high six catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns in the win. The game was streamed on ESPN3, and you can watch the replay here.
Also, Red Bank Catholic defensive back Mike DeMonte, a second-team All-Shore pick by SSN, announced that he has committed to William & Mary. That now gives RBC five players headed to Division II, FCS or FBS programs. DeMonte had 21 passes defensed and two interceptions along with 59 tackles for a defense that allowed 9.8 points per game in winning the Non-Public Group III title.
On tap for tonight: I'm a Jets fan, so I am genetically predisposed to hating the Patriots. That means I'm 'bout that Seahawks action, boss. Seattle 24, New England 20.