Boys Basketball – CBA, Rumson, Central, Manalapan Rise in Latest Shore 16, Presented by Iron House Performance Center
We have reached the point of the Shore Conference boys basketball season at which the field has beat up on one another enough that the bias toward the most recent results is starting to take effect. It is almost impossible to honor every win a team has by ranking that team ahead of all the others they beat, and that is going to start to show up this week.
This week’s rankings are not all “what have you done for me lately” but now a month into the season, that question is part of the picture. That is sure to put even more emphasis on these next 19 days leading up to the Shore Conference Tournament seeding meeting.
1. St. Rose (12-1) Last Week: 1
After another perfect week that included wins over top-10 teams Holmdel and Red Bank Catholic, St. Rose has won 12 straight is in position to move to the No. 1 spot in the state rankings to go with its No. 1 standing at the Shore. Don Bosco lost to an Archbishop Stepinac team that St. Rose defeated at the Jordan Classic in Manhattan, while St. Peter’s Prep lost to a St. Benedict’s squad that St. Rose beat in overtime at the Boardwalk Classic.
2. Manasquan (10-1) Last Week: 2
The Warriors got a scare last week when they needed to erase a three-point deficit in the final 40 seconds to eek out a road win over St. John Vianney. Despite the close call, it was an all-in-all good week for Manasquan thanks to the return of senior Alex Konov from a foot injury. Manasquan has found its way through some close games since losing to Toms River North and will get another good test Saturday against Egg Harbor at Central Regional’s Jimmy V event.
3. Holmdel (10-2) Last Week: 3
Despite losing by 32 at home this week, Holmdel holds in the No. 2 spot. That loss was to No. 1 St. Rose and since no Shore opponent to date has done much better against the Purple Roses, there is no reason to drop a team that has only lost to No. 1 and No. 2 in the rankings. Holmdel bounced back from the home loss by routing Freehold Township and will take on a pair of unranked teams this week in Wall and Point Boro.
4. Christian Brothers Academy (8-3) Last Week: 6
With a head-to-head loss to Manasquan on a neutral floor, CBA does not quite have the credentials to be No. 2, but the Colts could very well be the second-best team in the Shore Conference. They had Manasquan beat if they could have closed the game out at the free-throw line and are playing noticeably better since losing at Red Bank before winter break. CBA closes out this coming week by hosting Red Bank Catholic in the Founder’s Cup rivalry game.
5. Rumson-Fair Haven (10-2) Last Week: 9
The Bulldogs opened last week by pulling away for a rivalry win over Red Bank and finished it off by playing St. Peter’s Prep tough for three quarters following a rough first quarter against the 10-1 Marauders. Like CBA a couple of weeks ago, Rumson is starting to hit its stride and will play two unranked opponents this week (Freehold Township and Middletown North) before a huge week next week that includes road games at Colts Neck and Red Bank Catholic.
6. Red Bank Catholic (9-4) Last Week: 8
Like Holmdel, Red Bank Catholic does not get penalized for getting smoked by St. Rose. In fact, the Caseys move up two spots. RBC has lost to No. 1 and No. 2 in the rankings, dropped a game at East Orange and lost to Colts Neck without Tyler Burnham, who has done his best work against RBC’s toughest opponents. The Caseys are currently without senior guard Colin Cavanaugh due to a foot contusion and are hoping to get one of their best shooters and ball-handlers back in time to face CBA on Saturday.
7. Central (8-3) Last Week: 11
Central has not lost since the calendar flipped to 2024 and its most recent win was a convincing victory over Toms River North – a team that beat the Golden Eagles in the final week of 2023. The Central offense has dealt with some inconsistency this year, but has begun to hit its stride during a four-game winning streak. The defense, however, has not been streaky; it has just been flat-out good all year. The Golden Eagles can effectively put the division away this week with games against Jackson Memorial and Lacey and will close out the weekly slate with a good test against Mainland on Saturday at the Jimmy V Showcase.
8. Toms River North (7-3) Last Week: 4
Since rolling through Colts Neck, Central and Manasquan to win the WOBM Christmas Classic, Toms River North has struggled against the good teams it has run into in 2024. Holmdel shut the Mariners down in the fourth quarter to win in Toms River and Central led wire-to-wire in its win over Toms River North last week. The Mariners are still in good position to win Class A South and will look to get back on track this week against Toms River East, Manchester and Matawan.
9. Red Bank (10-3) Last Week: 5
After a climb into the top five, the Bucs fall back to No. 9, but they are solid in this spot with a chance to climb. They still boast a win over CBA and their only losses are to teams ranked ahead of them (Manasquan, Rumson, Red Bank Catholic). With Central and Toms River North both losing to teams ranked below them, Red Bank has a case to be higher and is in a stretch of winnable games, including five in a row against unranked opponents.
10. Marlboro (6-5) Last Week: 10
The season has had a little bit of everything for the Mustangs, who have beaten ranked teams (Central), routed ranked teams (Colts Neck), been routed by ranked teams (Red Bank, Manasquan) and lost close to ranked teams (Rumson, Colts Neck, Red Bank Catholic). To its credit, Marlboro has not slipped up against unranked teams and a 35-point win over St. John Vianney two nights after the Lancers nearly upset Manasquan was eye-opening. Marlboro has a big week coming up with games against Manalapan and Howell.
11. Manalapan (9-4) Last Week: Not ranked – The Braves make their Shore 16 debut after an impressive road win at Colts Neck, which is their seventh win in the last eight games.
12. Colts Neck (7-4) Last Week: 7 – The Cougars are 4-4 after their 3-0 start, but with such a deep, even field in Class B North, the division title is still well within their grasp.
13. Freehold Boro (8-3) Last Week: 15 – Since losing to Freehold Township on opening night, the Colonials are 8-2 with losses to St. Rose and Manasquan and a statement win last week at Ranney.
14. Ranney (6-5) Last Week: 12 – The Panthers lost sophomore scoring threat Shaan Nayar to an injury vs. Freehold Boro and did not have him in Saturday’s one-sided loss at CBA.
15. Toms River South (8-3) Last Week: 13 – After a humbling couple of losses to Point Boro and Central, the Indians bounced back by beating Manchester at Brick. Wins over Toms River North and Donovan Catholic continue to carry the résumé.
16. Donovan Catholic (8-3) Last Week: 14 – The loss to Toms River South keeps Donovan Catholic down at No. 16, but the Griffins have a solid résumé and will get a chance at revenge against Toms River South before the Shore Conference Tournament.
Henry Hudson (11-1) Last Week: 16 – The Admirals kept rolling last week, but it will be hard for them to stay ahead of teams like Manalapan and Freehold Boro that go on hot streaks vs. ranked teams.