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The St. Rose girls basketball team won a regular-season game for the ages with a result that rippled across the entire country as it knocked off top-ranked Manasquan 60-57 on a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in a game between two top-25 teams in the nation yesterday.

St. Rose-Manasquan photo gallery by Larry Murphy of Sports Pix NJ

Matt Manley was there to take in the classic, which could arguably be the biggest regular-season win in St. Rose's proud history. Kat Phipps was the hero with what turned out to be the game-winning 3-pointer, as Manasquan failed to connect on its final possession to tie the game. Phipps went full Reggie Miller, scoring 19 of St. Rose's 21 points in the fourth quarter with one clutch bucket after another and finishing with 34 points to offset a 37-point game by Manasquan star Marina Mabrey, a Notre Dame recruit.

It's not often you see the crowd storming the court at a girls basketball game in the Shore Conference, but the St. Rose students were right there to celebrate after a monster win that all but officially locked up the No. 1 seed in the Shore Conference Tournament for the Purple Roses. The rivalry between these two teams has really ratcheted up several notches in the last few seasons, as the two teams have played each other in the last two SCT finals, with the teams splitting the games, and they are the favorites to meet again this season, although St. John Vianney, Rumson-Fair Haven, Middletown South and others are hoping to have some say about that.

“This game is right there with the Shore Conference championship,” Phipps told Matt yesterday. “That was obviously a great accomplishment, but we played the number one team in front of our home crowd and beat them today. We didn’t do that that year.”

The tandem of Phipps and Jess Louro is as good as any in New Jersey, and they showed it on Saturday. They give St. Rose the firepower to keep up with Manasquan's high-scoring unit. They could potentially see each other two more times, in the SCT and then the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, where Manasquan was the runner-up to Shabazz last season. If the games are going to be that good, we can only hope that happens.

On the boys side, two teams got some big resume-building wins on the day of the SCT cut-off and yet another player joined the 1,000-point club this season.

Shore took down No. 4 Red Bank, 54-53, in a nondivisional game thanks to a game-winning free throw by senior guard Jack Byrne with 1.3 seconds left that avenged an earlier loss to the Bucs from the Buc Classic in December. Dan Largey had 19 to lead the way and get the Blue Devils a quality win outside of Class A Central to improve their seeding.

The most eye-opening score of the day belonged to Point Beach, which returned guard Jimmy Panzini from an ankle injury and took it to No. 3 Toms River North with a 72-57 nondivisional win. That was huge for the Garnet Gulls' seeding, as they didn't really have a marquee win outside their division and now they have one to hang their hat on. Florida Atlantic recruit Jesse Hill has really turned his game up the past two weeks and is red-hot going into the SCT, as he poured in 27 while Panzini added 13 in the win. Hill has been under the radar for much of the season despite being one of the few Division I recruits in the Shore, but he looks to be a major factor as Point Beach tries to defend its SCT title.

Finally, congrats to Colts Neck senior guard Chris O'Reilly, who scored his 1,000th career point as part of a 24-point afternoon in a win over Long Branch. That makes two O'Reillys in the 1,000-point club at Colts Neck, as his older brother Sean, who now plays at Dominican College, also hit that mark for the Cougars. Their father, Mike, also played for Colts Neck coach Lou Piccola in the early 1980s when Piccola was at New York City non-public power Xaverian High School in Brooklyn.


Congrats to Raritan head coach Rob Nucci, who picked up his 300th career victory in a nondivisional win over Central that was part of a tri-match with Middletown North and Toms River South on Saturday. Now in his 14th season with the Rockets, Nucci has built them into a perennial power that has won a division title in 10 of the last 11 seasons, captured Central Jersey Group II titles in 2004 and 2012, and won the overall Group II title in 2012 while also winning three District team titles under his guidance.

Raritan wrestling coach Rob Nucci reached an impressive milestone on Saturday.

Also, Raritan has had wrestlers finish in the top eight in the state 11 times, and eight of them have come since Nucci took over. Plain and simple, he helped put Raritan wrestling on the Shore Conference and state map.

More on Sunday: 

On tap for today: The NJSIAA Wrestling Group Championships got underway Sunday morning, with Brick Memorial gunning for the overall Group V title and Jackson Memorial pushing for a Group IV crown. Bob Badders has all the live updates right here and will have full coverage with stories, photos and video highlights.

Also, the SCT seeding meetings for boys and girls basketball are today at 1 p.m. Matt Manley will have the seeds right after they are finalized. The boys meeting should be done some time around midnight given the parity this season.

I will end with Zach LaVine, the 19-year-old from the T-Wolves who single-handedly saved that abortion of an NBA Dunk Contest last night.