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Christian Brothers Academy has forfeited its first round game in the Shore Conference Boys Basketball Tournament, according to tournament director Nick Pizzulli, because the team is in excess of the games-played limit in the most commonly-used provision of the NJSIAA basketball-specific rules on maximum games played.

The forfeit means Raritan - the No. 25 seed in the tournament - will advance to the round of 16 on Thursday to play on the road against the winner of Tuesday's opening-round game between No. 24 Donovan Catholic and No. 9 Ranney.

The Colts - the No. 8 seed when the tournament was seeded on Sunday - could technically enter the tournament but if they were to win their first two games, they would have to forfeit their quarterfinal game. Pizzulli said CBA was asked to forfeit out of the tournament rather than risk that scenario and the team obliged.

According to Section 8 of the NJSIAA's basketball-specific rules, there are three options for teams to follow as it pertains to games-played limits. Option 1 allows for 20 regular-season games, plus two tournaments - which can include holiday tournaments and conference or county tournaments. CBA played 21 games plus two tournament games over the holiday break, which means it exceeds the limit for Option 1.

Option 2 allows for a team to play 22 games and one tournament, criteria which CBA currently meets. Playing in the Shore Conference would exceed that, which would trigger Option 3. Under Option 3, a team may play in 26 games, including all regular-season and tournament games.

With CBA limited to Option 3 and having already played 23 games (13-10), the Colts can play just three more games before the start of the NJSIAA Tournament. Forfeits count as games played, which means if CBA were to defeat Raritan and win its subsequent round-of-16 game, it would have to forfeit its quarterfinal game as its 26th game.

The Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals are scheduled as a quadruple-header for this Sunday at RWJ Barnabas Health Arena in Toms River.

According to Pizzulli, teams forfeiting Shore Conference Tournament games is not unprecedented, with Long Branch and Holmdel among the programs that have had to take similar action in the past.

On the girls side, Shore Regional was denied entry into this year's tournament for the same reason. Shore won on Saturday to improve to 12-12 and reach the requisite .500 winning percentage to qualify for the SCT but it also marked their 21st game outside of three holiday tournament games in December. Like CBA, that also limits Shore to Option 3.

If the seeds held true, CBA would have hosted Ranney in the Round of 16, which would have been a high-profile showdown between the two foremost Monmouth County non-public programs - CBA with its 16 SCT titles and Ranney with its back-to-back championships in 2018 and 2019.

It also could have been an early look at the 2021 championship game, or at least a meeting between two very early favorites. Between the two teams, only one senior sees regular rotation time and none of the 10 starters are seniors.

CBA athletic director Vito Chiaravalloti had not returned a request for comment at the time of this post.


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