The Manasquan boys basketball team is going to Jersey Mike’s Arena Saturday for the NJSIAA Group II championship game.

No, not that Group II championship game.

The Manasquan girls basketball team will play in the Group II championship at 2 p.m. at Rutgers University and the members of the boys team plan on being among the throng of fans that make the trip north on Route 18 to Piscataway.

The players on the boys team woke up Friday with an appeal by the Manasquan Board of Education still ongoing, but found out Friday evening that the final appeal by the BOE attorney to overturn the outcome of Tuesday’s loss to Camden was denied by the New Jersey State Superior Court Appellate Division.

The Appellate Court was Manasquan’s final chance to overturn the outcome or to delay the Group II final until the case could be heard by the court.

Manasquan’s first appeal to NJSIAA was denied, which prompted the BOE to file a lawsuit in Ocean County with the hope of the court establishing jurisdiction over the case and granting an injunctive relief, which would have delayed the state title game until there was a decision handed down on the case.

Judge Mark A. Troncone denied Manasquan’s appeal to the Chancery Division of the State Superior Court in Ocean County, referring the case to the Commissioner of Education and the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.

The Department of Education denied the appeal early on Friday, citing the NJSIAA correctly following its own protocol and deferring to the state’s governing body of interscholastic athletics. Manasquan’s last appeal came with the Appellate Division, which again was denied.

The Manasquan BOE decided after the latest rejection to end its pursuit of legal action.

At each stop along the process of appeals, officials and judges acknowledged that the official made an error and that Manasquan should have won the game, but that the NJSIAA rules do not allow for the result of the game to be overturned under the given circumstances.

“While we are obviously pained by the outcomes of the past few days, the Manasquan Boys Basketball Program is very proud of the season we had,” Manasquan coach Andrew Bilodeau said in a statement that was also posted to Manasquan Boys Basketball social media accounts. “We will always love our school community and cherish the experience. We would like to thank the Manasquan School district for their support as well. Dr. (Frank) Kasyan and the Board of Education protected our best interests with fervor. We will always be grateful.

“The men and women who endeavor to officiate interscholastic athletics are people of character and love of the game. They do their absolute best, as do the coaches and players. We have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for all who are involved in athletics. Kids first, kids always.

“We certainly want to congratulate Camden on a remarkable season and a game well played. It was an honor competing against the storied Camden program.

“We have turned our attention to supporting the Manasquan Girls Basketball team this Saturday in their quest for the Group 2 Championship.


What makes Saturday’s girls game even more interesting, beyond what happens on the court between the Warriors and fellow finalist Madison, is what will be going on in the stands.

There are four games at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Saturday and it just so happens that the Manasquan girls will follow Camden in the boys Group II final, which tips off at noon.

Manasquan’s fans will be filing into Jersey Mike’s Arena as Camden’s game vs. Newark Arts is ending which could make for an awkward, perhaps even volatile, situation. Both Camden and Arts were disqualified from last year’s NJSIAA Tournament for exceeding the number of permitted player disqualifications for a season and both are now a win away from redemption.

While there may be a portion of Manasquan fans who vocalize their displeasure should Camden win its second Group II title in three years, Bilodeau will not be among that group.

“This is not okay for the Camden kids,” Bilodeau said. “They are going to go out and win Saturday and a lot of people are going to question the validity of it and things like that and that’s not right. Whoever wins a state championship deserves to be celebrated and I hope people don’t take it out on those kids. They are innocent in all this.”

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