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For almost a full year, every one of the starters on the Marlboro boys basketball team looked forward to a chance to redeem themselves in the Shore Conference Tournament championship game.

Last season ended with the five Mustangs -- all of whom were juniors last year and are seniors now -- pushing undefeated Manasquan to overtime and nearly pulling off the huge upset before the top-seeded Warriors pulled out the win in the final seconds.

So when Marlboro made it back to this year's Shore Conference Tournament final with Manasquan as the opponent, the Mustangs had a chance to bring things full circle by authoring the ending that had eluded them one year earlier.

With another big second half, Marlboro vanquished Manasquan, 63-46, and with that, captured the program's first ever postseason tournament championship. For completing Marlboro's first SCT championship in boys basketball, the Mustangs are the ninth Jersey Mike's Team of the Week in 2022.

Marlboro powered its way through its first two games of the Shore Conference Tournament and in its quarterfinal win over Jackson Memorial, Marlboro put up 85 points and had all five of its starters -- Jack Seidler, Jonathan Spatola, Zack Molod, Jay Ratner and Vincent Spatola -- scored at least 12 points.

Scoring was not as easy to come by in the last two rounds of the tournament last week, with Christian Brothers Academy holding the high-powered Mustangs to 16 points in the first half. Marlboro responded by dominating the second half on the defensive end and nailed down a 45-37 win over CBA, giving Marlboro a 2-1 season-series win over the Colts.

In the final, Manasquan got off to a fast start and led 20-18 with about three minutes left in the half, but Marlboro ended the half on an 11-4 run despite Molod heading to the bench with three fouls when it was 20-18.

Marlboro put the game away in the fourth quarter, with Molod and Ratner hitting big three-pointers and Seidler claiming the game MVP with his 22-point performance.

Including the loss in the unofficial Shore Conference championship in 2021, Marlboro has been to three Shore championship games since 2017, when coach Mike Nausedas led the Mustangs to the SCT final for the first time in program history. Sunday, Marlboro added a program first and hopes to add another one over the next several days by winning the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV championship after losing at the buzzer in the 2020 championship.

 

2022 Jersey Mike's Team of the Week Winners

Week 1: CBA

Week 2: Manasquan

Week 3: Red Bank Catholic

Week 4: Jackson Memorial

Week 5: Manalapan

Week 6: Rumson-Fair Haven/Holmdel

Week 7: Brick Memorial

Week 8: Manchester