Boys Basketball – Jensen’s Milestone Highlights Manasquan Win Over Southern in SCT
MANASQUAN - The 1,000-point milestone is one of the more commonly-celebrated individual achievements in high school basketball around the nation, but in the eyes Manasquan senior Ryan Jensen, that accomplishment takes a back seat to the one he achieved Thursday night despite slightly less fanfare.
In addition to his game-high 20 points, Jensen hauled in 22 rebounds and joined the 1,000-rebound club during Manasquan's 73-58 win over Southern in the Shore Conference Tournament round of 16 Thursday night. Jensen scored his 1,000th point earlier his season.
"I think it's a bigger accomplishment (than 1,000 points) for me," said Jensen, who now has 1,006 career rebounds. "You can get 1,000 points shooting twos and threes, but with rebounds, it's one at a time and you have to do it a thousand times. I still couldn't do it without everybody around me boxing out and going hard after every rebound. The team commitment to it is something we've always been about since I've been here."
Jensen - who also blocked eight shots in the game - is the second Manasquan player in the last four years to attain both the 1,000-point and 1,000-rebounds marks. Class of 2013 standout Jimmy Walsh became the first 1,000-1,000 player at Manasquan during his four-year varsity career.
"I've have three guys get a thousand points and a thousand rebounds in their career and that was (Manchester and Rutgers forward) Jaron Griffin, Jimmy Walsh and now Ryan Jensen," said Manasquan coach Andrew Bilodeau, who coached at Manchester and Toms River North prior to landing at Manasquan. "That's pretty rarified air he's in."
"I learned the right way from him," Jensen said of Walsh, who was a senior starter and All-Shore player in 2012-13 while Jensen was serving as the first player off the bench as a freshman. "Just watching and playing against him every day in practice, he kind of showed me the right way to do things. Everyone asks me if there is a certain way I rebound and I think it's just about going after the ball all the time. You just work on it every day in practice and kind of figure out the best way to go about it."
Jensen's effort Thursday night helped Manasquan emerge with a win over a Southern team that stayed close into the fourth quarter before the Warriors outscored the Rams 15-5 over the final four-plus minutes.
Jensen matched Southern leading scorer Peyton Wejnert, whose 20 points were 10 shy of his per-game average this season. The senior forward entered the game as the second-leading scorer in the state and within 150 points of the 2,000 career mark for his career.
Manasquan defended Wejnert by deploying a combination of senior Shane Flanagan and junior Bryan Paturzo to defend him man-to-man, which allowed Jensen to both roam the paint for blocked shots and stay out of foul trouble. Paturzo scored seven points while Flanagan chipped in five, including a three in the fourth quarter.
"Those guys want that assignment," said Bilodeau of his two 6-foot guards who matched up against the 6-6 Wejnert. "Just like there are guys who want to take the last shot, there are guys that want that big defensive assignment and no matter who it is, how big or how fast they are, Shane and Bryan want to take a shot at them."
Warriors junior Tommy Sheehan added 18 points for Manasquan and senior Jack Sheehan netted 12 despite missing a large portion of the first half after suffering a hip injury in the first quarter, according to Bilodeau. Jack Sheehan was also limited by foul trouble in the second half upon his return.
Junior Devin Jensen added nine points on three three-pointers for Manasquan.
Senior Ethan Dubois and sophomore brother Jake each scored 16 points for Southern. Jake Dubois caught fire in the second quarter, when he drained 4-of-5 three-point attempts, the last of which pulled Southern within 24-23 of Manasquan.
The Rams would again draw close in the fourth quarter when junior Mark Valeriani's three-pointer chopped the Manasquan lead to 58-53, but the Warriors responded with a 15-3 run that catapulted them into the quarterfinals for the fifth straight year and sixth time in the last seven.
Manasquan will face a familiar foe Sunday when it takes on Shore Conference Class A Central rival and defending SCT champion Rumson-Fair Haven in the second game of the quadruple-header, which is scheduled for a 12:45 p.m. tip. The two teams split the regular-season series, but Manasquan's win came on opening night when Rumson senior star and reigning Shore Sports Network Player of the Year Brendan Barry was out while nursing a broken bone in his hand.
While the Bulldogs won the SCT championships last year, Manasquan actually swept the regular-season series from Rumson before the Bulldogs went on their postseason run.
"I'm so excited to play them because we've played them so many times over the years and played some great games," Jensen said of Rumson. "They beat us when I was a freshman, then we'd beaten them the last couple years. It's a quarterfinal game, but it's going to be a championship atmosphere, so that's awesome."