MANASQUAN - It has been two full seasons since bitter rivals Manasquan and Rumson-Fair Haven played in the same Shore Conference division and yet, one of the Shore's best boys basketball rivalries has raged on over these last two years.

Now the two foes are back to competing against one another in the Class A Central division and Manasquan senior Brad McCabe is as happy as anyone in the rivalry. After losing all three games against the Bulldogs over the past two seasons, McCabe and Manasquan are hoping to exact revenge more than one time during McCabe's final year.

McCabe helped his Warriors finally beat Rumson Monday night, scoring 19 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in a 65-48 win for the No. 3 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 over the No. 4 Bulldogs.

"We knew we had them coming to our place first so we really wanted to step it up against them after last year and the year before," McCabe said. "We had to stay mentally tough, come out and hit shots. When we were down six (points), we had to step up and we came through with some big shots."

Manasquan senior Brad McCabe goes up over Rumson senior Jackson McCarty in traffic. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
Manasquan senior Brad McCabe goes up over Rumson senior Jackson McCarty in traffic. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

The win is the first for Manasquan over Rumson since a 65-46 triumph in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II semifinals in 2016. Over the past two seasons, Rumson did not lose a regular-season to another Shore Conference team, which included two wins over Manasquan.

McCabe endured a tough shooting first half, but found his offensive rhythm in the third quarter, during which he scored 10 of his 19 points. Even through his first-half shooting woes (seven points on 2-for-9 shooting), McCabe was a force on the glass with seven rebounds, which he matched in the second half.

"I think he is the focus for a lot of teams and they were playing him real tight early," Manasquan coach Andrew Bilodeau said. "Once we started to move the ball a little bit, I thought were were able to find him a little bit off penetration. But he did a great job running the floor and he did an awesome job on the glass. He is unsung in that regard because he plays the two (guard) for us. He's on the perimeter and we needed him inside a little bit and he came through."

Monday's game started off as though Rumson would continue its hex over Manasquan. The Bulldogs took a 26-20 lead into halftime and extended the gap to nine points when senior Jackson McCarthy opened the second-half scoring with a three-pointer.

From that point on, however, Manasquan controlled the game, beginning with an 8-0 run to cut the Rumson lead to 29-28. Rumson answered by stretching the lead back up to five at 36-31 and that's when Manasquan started its game-breaking run.

The Warriors scored seven straight points to take the lead, 38-36, with McCabe draining a three from the right wing to vault Manasquan in front. Rumson answered with a pair of free throws by sophomore John Baker to tie it, but Manasquan again had an answer: 12 straight points to make it 50-38 and break the game open.

During Manasquan's 19-2 run that spanned the second half of the third quarter and the first two minutes of the fourth, McCabe scored seven points, junior Alex Galvan scored five and junior Kieran Flanagan also netted four.

"A lot of the first-half shots didn't fall for me and for some of our guys but everyone was telling me to keep shooting," McCabe said. "I just had to focus on getting open shots and a lot of those shots would start falling."

The other three points in the run came on sophomore Casey Mulligan's three-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer and give Manasquan the lead for good, 41-38.

Mulligan finished with eight points, Galvan put up 14 points and eight rebounds and freshman Ben Roy contributed 10 points and 4 assists off the bench.

Galvan spent the vast majority of the first half on the bench, picking up two early fouls in the first quarter and his third in the opening two minutes of the second. The foul trouble went a long way in curtailing his red-hot start the season, which included 26 points and 12 rebounds against Raritan on opening night and 30 points and 16 rebounds in an overtime win over state-ranked Union City.

"Even if the play doesn't come to me, I'm working for the rebounds," Galvan said. "The play is not always going to be for you so you're not always going to be the star and you have to find other ways to score and contribute."

Manasquan junior Alex Galvan. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
Manasquan junior Alex Galvan. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

"He's a stud," Bilodeau said of Galvan, who is verbally committed to play baseball at Louisville. "He is a natural. He's got fantastic hands and he's got a great feel for the game. His secret to me is his timing. He's got really unbelievable timing. The ball goes up on the glass and he just seems to jump at the right time."

Roy's 10-point night extended his start to three straight games of scoring in double-figures to open his freshman campaign. He is averaging 13.3 points after Monday.

"(Roy) is making an adjustment right now to a completely different game," Bilodeau said. "He is in a different program, he is learning terminology, he is learning how we want to be playing - there's an adjustment period. But I haven't seen him struggle in any way. He has hit the ground running."

Not only did the young back-court of Roy and Mulligan pitch in on offense but the two took turns guarding Rumson leading scorer Ian O'Connor throughout the game when Manasquan was in man-to-man defense. O'Connor did score a game-high 23 points to go with 10 rebounds, but slowed down the second half after scoring 17 before the break.

"He has shown some poise," Bilodeau said of Roy. "Foul trouble against Raritan gave him some extended minutes and he filled in. I thought against Union Catholic on Saturday, he and Casey Mulligan played very well against pressure. Our guard-play has been very good."

McCarthy - Rumson's only other regular back from last year's 25-3 squad - added 11 points in the loss.

"Last year they were huge," McCabe said of Rumson. "They had every piece to the puzzle so it was hard to handle them on both ends of the floor. This year, we thought we could key on their two guys more on defense. They are still very good but the match-up was a little better for us."

Foul trouble was a problem for Rumson as well, with McCarthy picking up three in the first half before eventually fouling out. The teams combined for 45 fouls and three technical fouls and were both in the bonus before the five-minute mark of the second quarter and the four-minute mark of the fourth.

The rivalry will continue on Jan. 22 in Rumson, where the Bulldogs will try to even the season series. Although Rumson had won three in a row over the past two seasons - including a sectional semifinal game in 2016-17 - Manasquan now owns a 9-5 series advantage since 2012-13, when the Warriors moved back into Class A Central after two years away. Manasquan is 2-1 in postseason tournament games, including a win in an 80-77, triple-overtime classic at Brookdale College back in the 2016 Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

"It's always fun playing Rumson and I like beating them a lot," Galvan said. "We wanted to get the series back after losing the last three times and once last year, so that was big for us."

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