By Ella Brockway
SSN Correspondent

RUMSON--Only 11 seconds into the first quarter of the Shore Conference Tournament second round matchup between the Rumson-Fair Haven boys basketball team and Manchester Township, Rumson senior guard Brendan Barry sank a three-pointer - his 55th of the season.

To everyone watching, it was another example of the quick-paced, straight-shooting offense that led the Bulldogs to a sixth seed in the SCT and a 20-4 record on the season. To Barry, his night was just beginning.

The Bulldogs advanced to the SCT quarterfinals with a 72-35 win over eleventh-seeded Manchester Thursday night. Barry finished with a game-high 29 points, as well as four rebounds and four assists. Eighteen of Barry’s points came in the first-half, and 15 came from behind the three-point line.

Rumson took control of the game from the start and jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first four minutes. The Bulldogs held the usually high-scoring Manchester offense to just 14 points in the first half, and 35 in the total game.

“I wrote on the board (before the game) 34.6, because that was the average number of points we gave up in our Shore Conference Tournament run last year,” said head coach Chris Champeau. “I said if we hold them under 36, we’ll win this game.”

The Rumson defense, spearheaded by sophomore Elijah McAllister (10 rebounds, six blocks) and junior Michael O’Connor (nine points, eight steals), held Manchester’s leading scorer, junior L.J. Robinson, to just three points. Robinson is averaging 15.9 points on the season.

“(Barry) takes as much pride in his offense as he does in his defense,” said Champeau on the defensive matchup between Robinson and Barry. “I think he shows that night in and night out.”

Jordan Torney finished with a team-high 13 points for the Hawks, while Shavar Reynolds added 12 points.

Thursday night’s win guaranteed the Bulldogs a spot in the SCT quarterfinals at Brookdale on Sunday, where they will face the third-seeded Manasquan Warriors. Rumson will not be unfamiliar with the setting, as they won a quarterfinal matchup with Freehold Township at Brookdale last season on their Cinderella run to the Shore Conference Tournament title.

Manasquan and Rumson have met twice this season; Manasquan won the first meeting in December by a score of 55-33, in which Brendan Barry sat out for the Bulldogs with an injury, but Rumson split the regular season series with a 53-48 win in January.

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