Boys Basketball – Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week: Manalapan
Last year, the Manalapan boys basketball team won five games over the course of the entire 2018-19 season.
Last week, the Braves matched their 2018-19 win total early in the week, then passed it with one of their most noteworthy wins of the season.
Coming off a win over Freehold Township on Jan. 10, Manalapan avoided a letdown loss against Freehold Boro on Jan. 13, then turned in its best defensive performance of the season in a win over Christian Brothers Academy on Thursday.
Now in the midst of a five-game winning streak that includes wins over the top two teams in the 2018-19 standings - CBA and Freehold Township - Manalapan is the third Jersey Mike's Team of the Week of 2020.
After outlasting Freehold Township, the Braves nearly had a slip-up against 2-12 Freehold Boro but held on to beat the Colonials, 46-45.
Three days later, Manalapan traveled east on Newman Springs Road to take on CBA and downed the Colts, 48-38, for the program's first win over CBA since 2013.
Senior Ryan Knorr has led Manalapan in scoring in seven straight games and the Braves are 7-1 when Knorr (20.1 points per game) leads the team in scoring. He scored 23 points vs. Freehold Township, 18 vs. Freehold Boro and 19 in the win at CBA.
Seniors Blake Henis, Jason Junquet and Ryan Szatkowski have taken turns playing second fiddle to Knorr over the course of the season, with Szatkowski scoring 12 points vs. Freehold Township, Junquet scoring nine vs. Freehold Boro and Henis nine vs. CBA.
The Braves are currently ranked No. 6 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - the program's first SSN ranking since 2015, which is the last time Manalapan reached the Shore Conference Tournament. Based on its play during the first time through the division, the senior-led Braves appear poised to put an end to the four-year absence.