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Note: Tonight's Central Jersey Group I final at Point Beach against visiting Shore Regional at 6:30 p.m. is sold out, according to Point Beach athletic director Ellen Magliaro. If you did not buy a pre-sale ticket, you will not be able to get in. 

The highlight of Tuesday night was definitely Manasquan boys basketball's 61-45 win over Bordentown to claim its first Central Jersey Group II title since 2009 in front of one of the best home crowds I have seen all season.

The Warriors were the only Shore Conference boys team to win last night, as Freehold Township lost a heart-breaker at home to Hillsborough to be denied its first state sectional title, and Middletown North and Toms River South each lost in the sectional semifinals.

Manasquan celebrated its first Central Jersey Group II title since 2009 after a win over Bordentown on Monday night. (Photo by Scott Stump)

Manasquan is moving on to Wednesday's Group II semifinals at Perth Amboy High School at 7 p.m. against South Jersey champ Camden, the same team that beat them in the Group II semifinals in 2009. They haven't been to the overall Group final since the days of all-time leading scorer Tom White, who was in attendance last night, in 2004, when they lost to Qa'rraan Calhoun, Marques Johnson and Raritan in the Group III championship. They went out in style in their last home game last night with a packed student section dressed in costumes roaring from beginning to end before storming the court in celebration.

Senior forward Kyle Bradshaw led the way with 23 points, 10 boards and 3 blocks as he teamed with junior forward Ryan Jensen to pound Bordentown with their size advantage. Jensen had 14, 18 and 4. Bradshaw is a Monmouth Regional transfer who has hit his stride late in the season after battling a foot injury for December and a chunk of January. He prevents teams from being able to gang up on Jensen in the interior and gives Manasquan another quality rebounder, shot-blocker and help defender.

Senior guard Luke O'Shaughnessy has been the defensive eraser of this tournament. He neutralized Spotswood guard Marlon Hart when the Warriors held the Chargers to 35 total points in the quarterfinals, then held Hartford-bound Matawan star Jason Dunne to nine points in the semifinals, then followed that by limiting Bordentown star Myron Gordon to 10 points on 3-for-13 shooting last night. He did a great job of keeping the quick Gordon in front of him and forcing him to either settle for jumpers or contested shots in the lane with Jensen and Bradshaw also in his face.

Bordentown had entered with two impressive road victories against Lakewood and Shore Conference Tournament champion Rumson-Fair Haven thanks to two big performances by Gordon, but after trailing 4-3 early in the game, Manasquan took the lead and never trailed again. By about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, one of the Bordentown guards was f-bombing their coach to his face with all the reporters sitting about 10 feet away, so it was pretty much over at that point. Once the smoke cleared, not even the bleachers survived.

Surprisingly, Manasquan credited one of the games it picked up between the SCT and the state tournament for lighting a fire for the run. Several players mentioned a loss at home to Central after losing to Christian Brothers Academy in the SCT quarterfinals as their wake-up call along with a three-point win over 15th-seeded Cinnaminson in the first round of the state tournament.

The Manasquan student section joined in the celebration after the Warriors' captured the Central Jersey Group II title. (Photo by Scott Stump)

Matt was at Freehold Township's tough 66-58 home loss to 13th-seeded Hillsborough in Central Jersey Group IV that denied the Patriots their first sectional title while giving the Raiders their first sectional crown. Hillsborough essentially ran through the Freehold Regional District/Class A North, beating Manalapan, Howell, Marlboro and then the Patriots to claim the title, one season after graduating their entire starting lineup.

I saw Hillsborough in its win over Howell, and its balance is just so tough to stop. All the guards can shoot, and the forwards attack the offensive glass. Plus, they don't get rattled. When the crowd at Howell was roaring during a big fourth-quarter run, they fended off the Rebels. They went into a loud gym last night and did it again.

One thing that stands out even in the loss for Freehold Township is how close-knit the players are in that program. Many of them still spoke of how they would always remember this run and all the great crowds at the games. It's one of those programs where you always see former players stopping by at games to say hello to the coaching staff and catch up because playing there truly meant something to them.

Toms River South fell to second-seeded Winslow Township in the South Jersey Group III semifinals despite one last 22-point night by senior guard Tymere Berry, who had an outstanding season in his last year of playing basketball before heading off to play football at Monmouth University. Middletown North's Cinderella run in Central Jersey Group III halted with a loss on the road to Hamilton West in the semifinals, but this may just be the start of something rather than the end for the Lions, who return some quality young talent and nearly their entire lineup next season.

On the girls side, the big score was defending Non-Public B champion St. Rose staying right in hunt for a repeat with a 67-59 win over a fellow state heavyweight in Rutgers Prep to reach the Non-Public South B final. St. Rose now has another tough test in Roselle Catholic in the sectional final tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Jackson Liberty. Kat Phipps had 21 points and Jess Louro added 16 to lead the way last night.

Neptune also waxed Allentown by 37 points behind 24 by Marajiah Bacon to set up a rematch with defending champion Middletown South in the Central Jersey Group III final tonight at 6 on the Eagles' home court.


Monmouth Regional senior quarterback Jimmy Green, who was third in the Shore Conference with 1,975 yards passing along with 14 touchdowns this past season, announced on Twitter Monday that he will continue his career at Montclair State.

More on Tuesday: 

On tap for tonight: There are two boys basketball sectional finals and four on the girls side.

Those looking for a double-header of action, the St. John Vianney girls play Gloucester Catholic at 5 p.m. in the Non-Public South A final, followed by CBA vs. St. Augustine at 7 p.m. in the Non-Public A final, both at Jackson Liberty.

As noted above, Shore will play at Point Beach in the boys Central Jersey Group I final at 6:30 in front of a sold-out crowd. Point Beach is trying to win its third straight sectional title and second straight against Shore, while the Blue Devils are trying to make history with their first sectional title.

Point Beach is looking to make it three straight Central Jersey Group I titles.

The Rumson-Fair Haven girls head to face defending Group II champion Manasquan in the sectional final at 6 p.m., with the Warriors having already beaten Rumson twice during the regular season in Class A Central. The Middletown South-Neptune girls rematch in CJ III is at 6 p.m., and the Marlboro girls travel to top-seeded Monroe at 7 p.m. for the Central Jersey Group IV final.

I'll end with more from the outstanding Manasquan student section, which broke out the selfie stick to great effect last night.