Boys Basketball – Manasquan (NJ) Rallies Past Christian Brothers and Into Shore Conference Title Game
The two most recent opponents of the Manasquan boys basketball team have made the Warriors look anything but perfect, but with round game remaining in the 2021 Shore Conference Postseason, the Shore's No. 1 team over the past two seasons is one win away from finishing the season just that.
For the second straight game within the Shore Conference Pod A Playoffs, Manasquan - the No. 1 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 and the No. 3 team in the state by NJ Advance Media - overcame a five-point halftime deficit to win a low-scoring grinder. Wednesday's version was a 45-35 win over fourth-seeded Christian Brothers Academy, with the Warriors overcoming an eight-point third quarter deficit.
For the third straight season, Manasquan will play in a version of the Shore Conference Championship Game, with the Warriors reaching each of the past two Shore Conference Tournament finals before making it to this season's unofficial version of the game. Manasquan will effectively be looking to defend its 2020 title Friday night, when the Warriors host No. 3 Marlboro after the Mustangs upset No. 2 Ranney on Wednesday night.
Manasquan survived a slow offensive start to the game, to say the least, going 6:38 before scoring its first point - a corner three-pointer by senior Casey Mulligan. CBA, meanwhile, could not take advantage of its defensive effort as the Colts scored only six points in the same timeframe.
Mulligan (eight points, three assists) hit a pair of threes to highlight the first half for Manasquan, which picked things up in the second quarter after scoring only three points in the first. CBA took a 20-15 lead to the break on a trio of three-pointers by 6-foot-8 center Dane Moran - Moran's only nine points of the game.
Junior Ben Roy and senior Jack Collins finally got going in the scoring department in the second half. Roy scored 11 of his game-high 16 points after halftime and Collins scored all 12 of his after the break. Roy also added six rebounds and four assists, while Collins grabbed nine boards.
CBA's largest lead was 25-17, at which point Manasquan ripped off a 10-2 run to draw even. CBA junior Pat Lautato answered with a putback to beat the third-quarter buzzer and the Colts took a 29-27 lead into the final four minutes.
Roy jump-started the fourth quarter with an acrobatic reverse layup to tie the game, a long three from the left wing to break the tie and a nifty feed to senior Connor Walsh (seven points, nine rebounds) to make it 34-29.
Collins later added a three-pointer from the right wing that made it 37-30 and started the process for Manasquan of winding down the clock.
Senior Colin Farrell led CBA with 13 points, but it was a far cry from the 30 that he hung on Red Bank Catholic in Monday's quarterfinal round. CBA will get one more game this season, which will come in the form of a trip to play No. 2 Ranney in the Pod A third-place game.