Boys Basketball – 2022 SCT Watch: Projecting the Shore Conference Tournament
All things considered, 2021 featured a fun, interesting postseason for the Shore Conference, although not every team got to participate due to COVID-related challenges. With that being said, it’s good to know the Shore Conference Tournament is back in its traditional form this season.
While the format remains the same, there is one element this year’s tournament will have for the first time in a while: unpredictability. While there are some favorites emerging to win the tournament, they don’t appear to be as infallible as the No. 1 seeds of the last few years.
Bearing that in mind, how the seeds shake out could have a profound impact in shaping the later rounds of the tournament, so let’s pore into what the SCT seeding committee will be looking at this Sunday. For the first time in a while, there is a tough decision to make at the top of the tournament, with three teams boasting legitimate claims to the No. 1 seed. The deliberation starts there, but that won't be where it ends.
Also, please keep in mind the criteria that is used to weigh the merits of each team in the field:
- Overall body of work (strength of schedule, quality of wins, division standing)
- Head-to-head results
- Common opponents
Updated through games played on Saturday, Feb. 12
1. Red Bank Catholic (19-3, 9-1)
Division Wins: Holmdel (2), Matawan (2), Raritan (2), Shore (2), Rumson-Fair Haven
Division Losses: At Rumson-Fair Haven
Non-Division Wins: At Toms River North, vs. Toms River South, vs. Jackson Memorial, vs. St. John Vianney, vs. Marlboro, at CBA, Ranney, vs. Rutgers Prep, Donovan Catholic, Monsignor Farrell (N.Y.)
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Marlboro, Bergen Catholic
Why They’re Here: For the first time in five years, there is a debate for the top seed in the SCT. Red Bank Catholic’s win over Rutgers Prep gives it a leg up on Marlboro and Rumson for No. 1, but between the two blowout losses in the last week and the unknown availability of sophomore Zach Meeks during the tournament, the Caseys are far from a lock.
2. Marlboro (19-2, 11-1)
Division Wins: Freehold Twp. (2), Howell (2), Long Branch (2), Manalapan (2), Middletown South (2), CBA
Division Losses: At CBA
Non-Division Wins: At Matawan, vs. Toms River East, vs. Brick Memorial, vs. Manchester, vs. Red Bank Catholic, at Robbinsville, vs. St. John Vianney, Ewing
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Red Bank Catholic
Why They’re Here: After the Mustangs routed CBA two weeks ago, it looked as though they were on a rocket ship to the No. 1 seed. Since then, though, Marlboro has survived some close calls and CBA has really struggled, so the Mustangs’ demo reel isn’t quite as convincing as it needs to be to make this a slam dunk. That being said, Marlboro is undefeated when its entire starting lineup is healthy, which it is right now. That fact might make the case convincing enough within the four walls of the seeding room.
3. Rumson-Fair Haven (16-2, 9-1)
Division Wins: Holmdel (2), Matawan (2), Raritan (2), Shore (2), Red Bank Catholic
Division Losses: At Rumson-Fair Haven
Non-Division Wins: Donovan Catholic, at Red Bank, vs. Lacey, Newark East Side, at St. Rose, Newark Arts, Manalapan
Non-Division Losses: Vs. CBA
Why They’re Here: If recent performance counts above all other details, Rumson is the best choice to be No. 1. The Bulldogs ran Red Bank Catholic out of Rumson last week, which is part of a 11-game winning streak that also includes wins over two quality teams from Newark. Like Marlboro, Rumson has not lost with a full starting lineup, with both Bulldogs losses coming with senior guard Geoff Schroeder sidelined with a sprained ankle.
4. St. John Vianney (19-4, 10-0)
Division Wins: Colts Neck (2), Freehold Boro (2), Middletown North (2), Neptune (2), Red Bank (2)
Division Losses: None
Non-Division Wins: At Middletown South, vs. Wall, Union Catholic, vs. Manasquan, vs. Manchester, at Mater Dei Prep, Freehold Twp., at Matawan, Howell
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Red Bank Catholic, vs. CBA, vs. Marlboro, vs. Life Center
Why They’re Here: The debate for No. 1 stops with Rumson, and in many ways, this part of the seeding is even trickier than picking a No. 1 team. St. John Vianney has been pretty steady all year on wins and losses, although the Lancers have had to sweat out some wins over competition that could be classified as inferior. They also lost head-to-head to CBA, but a wins over Manasquan, Union Catholic and Manchester are enough to make SJV worthy of that No. 4 spot.
5. Manasquan (17-4, 12-0)
Division Wins: Jackson Liberty (2), Monmouth (2), Ocean (2), Point Boro (2), St. Rose (2), Wall (2)
Division Losses: None
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Colts Neck, vs. Jackson Memorial, vs. Immaculata, vs. St. Joseph Metuchen, vs. Union Catholic
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Rutgers Prep, vs. St. John Vianney, at Roselle Catholic, vs. Patrick School
Why They’re Here: For such a young team, Manasquan has been one of the Shore’s more consistent teams, handling their business with relative ease in a Class C North division that does not have a team in the Warriors’ class while also picking up some strong wins outside the division. The Jackson Memorial win is looking good right now and wins over Immaculata and St. Joe’s boost the Warriors’ case as well. If you are into quality losses, Manasquan showed a lot of fight and potential in a 58-50 loss to the Patrick School on Saturday in Toms River.
6. Christian Brothers Academy (14-5, 8-4)
Division Wins: Freehold Twp. (2), Long Branch (2), at Howell, Manalapan, Marlboro, Middletown South
Division Losses: Howell, at Manalapan, at Marlboro, at Middletown South
Non-Division Wins: Holmdel, at Red Bank, vs. Rumson-Fair Haven, vs. Ranney, vs. St. John Vianney, vs. Mater Dei Prep
Non-Division Losses: Red Bank Catholic
Why They’re Here: After storming to a 10-0 start to the season, CBA has since gone 4-5 and has one loss to a team (Manalapan) that would have missed the tournament if not for the win over CBA and another that did not make the tournament (Middletown South). Throw in some very close calls throughout the 10-game winning streak and the Colts have looked vulnerable enough to drop out of the top five despite picking up December wins over Ranney and Rumson, as well as early-January victories over Marlboro and St. John Vianney. It’s worth pointing out Ranney, Rumson and Marlboro were all missing a starter in those CBA wins, but it’s also worth mentioning the wins themselves – which make CBA a default choice for No. 6 at this point despite its immense struggles over the last two-plus weeks.
7. Brick Memorial (16-4, 10-2)
Division Wins: Southern (2), Toms River East (2), Toms River North (2), Toms River South (2), Central, at Jackson Memorial
Division Losses: Jackson Memorial, at Central
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Toms River North, Barnegat, at Pinelands, Freehold Boro, Wall, Brick
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Marlboro, Middletown North
Why They’re Here: While Brick Memorial hasn't done much outside of Class A South and even loss a key game against Middletown North, it's hard to deny the Mustangs this spot given their division championship that required beating out Jackson Memorial. With Jackson Memorial taking out Raritan and Manchester, Brick Memorial gets an accompanying boost over those teams, as well as Ranney, Manalapan and Holmdel. It might have been better for Brick Memorial had the Mustangs been more convincing Thursday vs. Southern, but they again showed grit and, to put it bluntly, it doesn't take much to get the No. 7 seed at this point.
8. Jackson Memorial (15-5, 9-3)
Division Wins: Southern (2), Toms River East (2), Toms River South (2), at Brick Memorial, Central, at Toms River North
Division Losses: Brick Memorial, at Central, Toms River North
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Central, Manalapan, Raritan, Manchester, Brick, at Jackson Liberty
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Red Bank Catholic, vs. Manasquan
Why They’re Here: A home loss to Toms River North has to put Jackson Memorial’s status as a potential top-eight seed in some question and subsequent close calls vs. Southern and Toms River South don't help the Jaguars' cause either. Before that, though, you would be hard-pressed to find a hotter team in the Shore Conference and Jackson Memorial would have had a serious argument to go ahead of CBA at No. 6. It might be a good idea to take a deep breath and settle somewhere in the middle on the Jaguars, and with wins over Raritan, Manchester and Manalapan, No. 8 is a reasonable spot for them.
9. Raritan (14-6, 5-5)
Division Wins: Matawan (2), Shore (2), at Holmdel
Division Losses: Red Bank Catholic (2), Rumson-Fair Haven (2), Holmdel
Non-Division Wins: St. Rose, at Steinert, vs. Voorhees, at New Egypt, Newark Lab, at Brick, at Monmouth, at Jackson Liberty, at Ranney
Non-Division Losses: At Jackson Memorial
Why They’re Here: Raritan got a huge win over Ranney to give the Rockets an angle toward a top-eight seed, but a 20-point home loss to Holmdel might have cost them in that pursuit. Other than the Holmdel loss, all of Raritan's losses are to teams that are very likely to be in the top 10.
10. Ranney (15-3, 11-0)
Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Keansburg (2), Keyport (2), Mater Dei Prep (2), Point Beach (2), Henry Hudson
Division Losses: None
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Sayreville, vs. Middletown North, Rancho Solano (Ariz.), Manchester
Non-Division Losses: Vs. CBA, at Red Bank Catholic, Raritan
Why They’re Here: While nothing went right for Ranney in a 56-29 loss at Red Bank Catholic, the Panthers are kicking themselves over two losses to CBA and Raritan in which they seemed to have both games in hand. With CBA, it was a missed layup in the final 30 seconds that would have raised the degree of difficulty for the Colts, while against Raritan, Ranney led by six with 1:10 left and lost at the buzzer after missing the front end of a 1-and-1. With Manchester and an out-of-state opponent serving as the best wins, Ranney looks like it might be stuck at No. 10, although with no team really seizing that No. 6 spot, the argument for Ranney -- given the Panthers' talent -- remains legitimate.
11. Manchester (16-4, 12-0)
Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Brick (2), Donovan Catholic (2), Lacey (2), Lakewood (2), Pinelands (2)
Division Losses: None
Non-Division Wins: Middletown North, vs. Middletown South, vs. Donovan Catholic, Neptune
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Marlboro, vs. St. John Vianney, at Jackson Memorial, at Ranney
Why They’re Here: Manchester has more or less been a predictable team this season, beating the opponents it outmatches in talent while coming up short in a few out-of-division games where the talent has either been even or tilted toward the other side. The most regrettable loss for Manchester was at Jackson Memorial, where the Hawks fell behind, 10-0, and could not finish the game off in overtime after coming back.
12. Manalapan (9-9, 6-6)
Division Wins: Long Branch (2), CBA, Freehold Twp., at Howell, at Middletown South
Division Losses: Marlboro (2), at CBA, at Freehold Twp., Howell, Middletown South
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Old Bridge, vs. Holmdel, vs. Neptune
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Seton Hall Prep, at Jackson Memorial, at Rumson-Fair Haven
Why They’re Here: Manalapan rattled off five straight wins that included victories over SCT qualifiers CBA, Freehold Township and Howell. could not hang with Rumson and dropped a home loss to 8-13 Middletown South. Manalapan also lost to all three of CBA, Freehold Township and Howell in divisional play, but have a big win over Holmdel in December that could very well keep the Braves in the No. 12 spot.
13. Holmdel (13-8, 5-5)
Division Wins: Matawan (2), Shore (2), at Raritan
Division Losses: Red Bank Catholic (2), Rumson-Fair Haven (2), Raritan
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Hamilton West, Freehold Twp., Toms River North, Middletown South, at Central, at Middletown North, at Franklin, Red Bank
Non-Division Losses: At CBA, vs. Union, vs. Manalapan
Why They’re Here: The Hornets are starting to look like a problem, with a 20-point win at Raritan serving as exhibit A. All of Holmdel's losses are to teams in the Top 10 except for Union and Manalapan and both came in December. The one concern among the quality losses Holmdel has had is that none have been very close, which is why picking up the Raritan win is important for their chances to sneak up toward the top eight. Ultimately, the Manalapan loss is going to make it hard to make that leap, but with Manalapan losing to Middletown South on Friday, there is an argument to be made that Holmdel is playing well enough to look past that December loss and give the Hornets the bump.
14. Donovan Catholic (14-6, 10-2)
Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Brick (2), Lacey (2), Lakewood (2), Pinelands (2)
Division Losses: Manchester (2)
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Freehold Twp., Long Branch, Central, at Toms River North
Non-Division Losses: At Rumson-Fair Haven, vs. Manchester, at Red Bank, at Red Bank Catholic
Why They’re Here: Donovan Catholic is another team without a bad loss, with the Griffins’ only loss to a team behind them in this projection coming at Red Bank – a team that has caught fire of late. While the Griffins don’t have any wins over teams currently or likely to be seeded in the top 10, they did beat two teams – Freehold Township and Central – that were ranked at the time. With a solid performance in a win at Toms River North on Friday, Donovan Catholic should at least get a home game in the first round.
15. Freehold Township (12-8, 7-5)
Division Wins: Howell (2), Long Branch (2), Middletown South (2), Manalapan
Division Losses: CBA (2), Marlboro (2), at Manalapan
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Middletown South, Newark Academy, at Cinnaminson, Allentown, at Freehold Boro
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Donovan Catholic, at Holmdel, at St. John Vianney
Why They’re Here: Freehold Township has played competitive games against both CBA and Marlboro, but as it stands, the Patriots have three wins over teams in the tournament and the highest projected seed of the three is a win over Manalapan on opening night. On the plus side, Freehold Township finished ahead of Manalapan in the Class A North standings, and while Holmdel should be seeded ahead of them, the Patriots could make a case for No. 13. In this projection, though, Manalapan gets the nod with an extra win over a common opponent outside the division (Holmdel).
16. Howell (10-8, 6-6)
Division Wins: Long Branch (2), Middletown South (2), at CBA, at Manalapan
Division Losses: Freehold Twp. (2), Marlboro (2), CBA, Manalapan
Non-Division Wins: At Montgomery, vs. Middle Twp., at Southern, at Neptune
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Lenape, at St. John Vianney
Why They’re Here: Of its eight losses, Howell was on the cusp of victory in five of them, with potential wins over Freehold Township, Marlboro, CBA and St. John Vianney slipping away, as well as an additional win vs. Manalapan that the Rebels could not close. The win over CBA was a big one for Howell, although CBA's struggles take a little bit of punch out of it. Still, it's enough to get Howell at home game in this iteration of the projected seeds.
17. Central (12-7, 7-4)
Division Wins: Toms River East (2), Toms River South (2), Brick Memorial, Jackson Memorial, Southern, Toms River North
Division Losses: At Brick Memorial, at Jackson Memorial, at Southern, at Toms River North
Non-Division Wins: Lacey, vs. Toms River South, vs. Colts Neck, at Shore, Barnegat
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Jackson Memorial, at Donovan Catholic, Holmdel
Why They’re Here: With head-to-head losses to Donovan Catholic and Holmdel, Central is just barely in the running for a first-round home game and the Golden Eagles are probably a bit of a longshot for that. On the other hand, they have been playing without two starters and now that sophomore Miles Chevalier (foot) is back for the tournament, sticking the Golden Eagles too low based on shorthanded losses could just serve as punishment for whoever has to play them.
18. Middletown North (10-8, 7-3)
Division Wins: Colts Neck (2), Freehold (2), Neptune (2), Red Bank
Division Losses: St. John Vianney (2), at Red Bank
Non-Division Wins: Vs. Long Branch, at Brick Memorial, at Woodbridge
Non-Division Losses: At Manchester, vs. Ranney, at Westfield, at Middletown South, Holmdel
Why They’re Here: Middletown North is a hard team to place with senior standout Tommy Giannone out of action. The loss at Red Bank heading into the weekend leaves them with two wins over teams in the tournament and one loss (Middletown South) to a team that didn’t make it. A win over Brick Memorial is carrying Middletown North, but that was with Giannone on top of his game and the Lions may be a different squad at this point.
19. Point Pleasant Boro (16-2, 10-2)
Division Wins: Jackson Liberty (2), Monmouth (2), Ocean (2), St. Rose (2), Wall (2)
Division Losses: Manasquan (2)
Non-Division Wins: At Bridgewater-Raritan, Matawan, Freehold Boro, Brick, Academy for Urban Leadership, at Pinelands
Non-Division Losses: None
Why They’re Here: Point Boro hasn’t had many games against top competition outside of two division losses to Manasquan, but to the Panthers’ credit, they haven’t tripped up against lesser teams. A blowout win over St. Rose on Monday gave the Panthers a season sweep over the Purple Roses and an advantage over Keyport, which needed a halfcourt buzzer beater to beat the Purple Roses.
20. Keyport (15-3, 10-2)
Division Wins: Asbury Park (2), Henry Hudson (2), Keansburg (2), Mater Dei Prep (2), Point Beach (2)
Division Losses: Ranney (2)
Non-Division Wins: St. Rose, Highland Park, Koinonia Academy, Academy for Urban Leadership, at Toms River North
Non-Division Losses: At South River
Why They’re Here: Keyport got a big road win over Toms River North and that is not a win over a tournament team, the Red Raiders needed to manufacture a little peace of mind for themselves and the committee. Keyport will be a motivated team and a dangerous first-round opponent, but a light resume means it will likely have to be as a road underdog.
21. Southern (9-9, 6-6)
Division Wins: Toms River North (2), Toms River South (2), Central, Toms River East
Division Losses: Brick Memorial (2), Jackson Memorial (2), at Central, at Toms River East
Non-Division Wins: Mainland, at Millville, at Lacey
Non-Division Losses: Holy Spirit, Howell, at Lower Cape May
Why They’re Here: With Toms River North upsetting Jackson Memorial, Southern’s body of work is looking pretty good thanks to two wins over the Mariners, but with Toms River North missing the tournament, Central is Southern's lone win over a team in the tournament. Southern played both Jackson Memorial and Brick Memorial tough, so while the Rams have slipped a little during the course of the week, they have not fallen too far.
22. Red Bank (11-8, 7-3)
Division Wins: Colts Neck (2), Freehold Boro (2), Neptune (2), Middletown North
Division Losses: St. John Vianney (2), At Middletown North
Non-Division Wins: Ocean, Sayreville, Donovan Catholic, Thomas Edison Energy
Non-Division Losses: Toms River North, Rumson-Fair Haven, CBA, Lacey, at Holmdel
Why They’re Here: A win over Donovan Catholic has proven to be significant for Red Bank, both because it effectively clinched the Bucs an SCT berth before this week and also gives them a solid win over a tournament team that they otherwise wouldn’t have. A win over Middletown North adds some flare to the resume, but a loss to Toms River North means the Bucs might have a tough time making a case to be ahead of either Southern or Keyport.
23. Jackson Liberty (13-8, 6-6)
Division Wins: Ocean (2), Wall (2), at Monmouth, St. Rose
Division Losses: Manasquan (2), Point Boro (2), Monmouth, at St. Rose
Non-Division Wins: At Barnegat, Lakewood, at Shore, vs. Monmouth, at Pinelands, at Colts Neck, Lacey
Non-Division Losses: Raritan, Jackson Memorial
Why They’re Here: With a 7-2 mark outside of Class C North, Jackson Liberty left itself no drama this week, as the Lions were in the field heading into the final week of the regular season. Five wins over tournament teams is a good number, but none of them are of major impact.
24. St. Rose (10-9, 6-6)
Division Wins: Ocean (2), Wall (2), Jackson Liberty, Monmouth
Division Losses: Manasquan (2), Point Boro (2), at Jackson Liberty, at Monmouth
Non-Division Wins: At Neptune, Matawan, Asbury Park, Academy Charter
Non-Division Losses: At Raritan, at Keyport, Rumson-Fair Haven
Why They’re Here: St. Rose is officially in after taking care of Wall at home on Saturday. The Purple Roses have only two wins vs. the SCT field, which is why Jackson Liberty is in line for a higher seed.
25. Shore (10-10, 2-8)
Division Wins: Matawan (2)
Division Losses: Holmdel (2), Raritan (2), Red Bank Catholic (2), Rumson-Fair Haven (2)
Non-Division Wins: Long Branch, Freehold Boro, Monmouth, at Toms River East, Point Beach, at Henry Hudson, Asbury Park, at South Hunterdon
Non-Division Losses: Jackson Liberty, Central
Why They’re Here: Shore’s wins over Point Beach and Monmouth are the only wins over teams that are in the field, so the Blue Devils will at least be ahead of both the Falcons and the Garnet Gulls.
26. Monmouth (10-10, 6-6)
Division Wins: Ocean (2), Wall (2), at Jackson Liberty, St. Rose
Division Losses: Manasquan (2), Point Boro (2), Jackson Liberty, at St. Rose
Non-Division Wins: At Freehold Boro, Barnegat, Henry Hudson, Academy Charter
Non-Division Losses: Vs. Jackson Liberty, at Shore, at Matawan, Raritan
Why They're Here: The Falcons are in the SCT field for the first time in 12 years and are 13 years removed from being a legitimate contender to win the tournament. This year's team doesn't appear to have that ceiling and a head-to-head loss to Shore will keep Monmouth near the bottom of the field, but the Falcons will certainly be a feel-good story heading into next week.
27. Pinelands (8-8, 6-5)
Division Wins: Barnegat (2), Lakewood (2), at Brick, Lacey
Division Losses: Donovan Catholic (2), Manchester (2), Brick
Non-Division Wins: Wall, Point Beach
Non-Division Losses: Jackson Liberty, Brick Memorial, Point Boro
Why They're Here: Pinelands is in after a win over Lakewood and a postponement of a Saturday game vs. Shore Regional what would have done neither team any good. With the only win over an SCT coming in the form of a home win over Point Beach, Pinelands' seed will almost certainly be No. 27.
28. Point Pleasant Beach (8-8, 5-6)
Division Wins: Henry Hudson (2), Asbury Park, at Keansburg, Mater Dei Prep
Division Losses: Kayport (2), Ranney (2), at Asbury Park, at Mater Dei Prep
Non-Division Wins: At Brick, Ocean, at Freehold Boro
Non-Division Losses: At Pinelands, at Shore
Why They’re Here: With no wins against teams in the field, Point Beach is ticketed for the last seed, which means the Garnet Gulls will have a very tough first-round matchup. They showed plenty of fight in two competitive losses to Keyport and in a win over Mater Dei, so whichever team draws them will have to work for its first-round win.
Brick (9-11, 6-6)
Toms River North (10-12, 6-6)
Lacey (8-12, 4-6)
Projected First Round Pairings
(17) Central at (16) Howell, winner at (1) Red Bank Catholic
(18) Middletown North at (15) Freehold Twp., winner at (2) Marlboro
(19) Point Boro at (14) Donovan Catholic, winner at (3) Rumson-Fair Haven
(20) Keyport at (13) Holmdel, winner at (4) St. John Vianney
(21) Southern at (12) Manalapan
(22) Red Bank at (11) Manchester
(23) Jackson Liberty at (10) Ranney
(24) St. Rose at (9) Raritan
(25) Shore at (8) Jackson Memorial
(26) Monmouth at (7) Brick Memorial
(27) Pinelands at (6) CBA
(28) Point Beach at (5) Manasquan