MANASQUAN - When a basketball season is only 15 games long, even the scrimmages are intense.

Scrimmage week at the Shore opened up on Wednesday night and the headline matchup was in Manasquan between the reigning Shore Conference champion Warriors and perennial state power Roselle Catholic.

Manasquan is scheduled for 12 regular-season games and three postseason games, which amounts to less than half of its 32-game schedule last season. With one of the state's best programs paying them a visit on Wednesday, the Warriors did not want to treat it like any other scrimmage.

"We're treating every game like it's a real one," Manasquan junior Ben Roy said. "With the shortened schedule and everything going on, we just want to go out and compete at the highest level and I feel like we did a great job doing that tonight."

Roy played all four quarters and scored 28 points while the Warriors used their personnel similar to the way they would in a regular-season game against a team the caliber of Roselle Catholic. The Lions did the same and the result was a 54-51 score in favor of Roselle Catholic, with a step-back, 23-foot three by Roy at the buzzer coming up short.

Roy and senior teammate Connor Walsh starred for Manasquan, with Roy raining six three-pointers and Walsh showing off his full range of abilities: rebounding over a big, long Roselle Catholic front line, blocking shots, hitting three-pointers and finding open teammates from the post and off the dribble.

"I think he is poised for a breakout season," Roy said of Walsh. "I'm really sad that he only has 15 games this year, but Catholic (University) got a steal with him. He's a phenomenal player, a phenomenal kid and I'm pumped to be able to be on the court with him this year."

Manasquan outscored Roselle Catholic, 22-8, in the first quarter behind a three-point barrage that totaled six - four of which came from Roy. From that point on, Roselle Catholic won each of the final three quarters as Manasquan cooled off from behind the arc.

Wednesday was also a chance to see how referees handled a game in 2021. This year, referees are prohibited from touching the ball, which means the game starts with a side out of bounds play by the team who is determined to have first possession during the pre-game meeting between the teams.

The referees used their feet to direct the ball but often simply direct the players to pass the ball to an inbounder or free-throw shooter and give a verbal command to put the ball in play or shoot it once they determine both teams are set.

As a favorite to finish the season No. 1 at the Shore again in 2021, Manasquan has a loaded schedule that includes home-and-home matchups with Ranney, Wall and Neptune, as well as non-conference tilts against the Patrick School and Bergen Catholic.

The Warriors are scheduled to open up their regular season at home on Jan. 27 vs. local rival St. Rose.

"We're prepared for anything," Roy said. "We know a lot of teams are going to come at us. We're coming off a really good year last year, we play some good teams in the state this year so we want to use that momentum that we had from last year and keep going."

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