Boys Basketball – Rumson, St. John Vianney Make Moves in Jan. 24 Top 10
The Top 10 continues to evolve as we push closer and closer toward the Shore Conference Tournament next month. Red Bank Catholic established itself as the No. 1 team last week and it is going to take a lot of dominoes tumbling to knock the Caseys out of the top spot before the postseason.
As for the rest of the list, there is still much to be determined. For the first time since the first few days of the season, it appears as though there is room in the top seven for a team other than the top seven teams. We are still, however, waiting for a team to emerge as a clear challenger for a top-seven spot outside of the teams that have already been there.
The No. 8 spot is now up for grabs along with the Nos. 9 and 10 spots, which have been a game of musical chairs all year and will remain so through the end of the season if the first month is any indication.
1. Red Bank Catholic (13-1, 6-0) Last Week: 1
After finding themselves in a surprisingly-competitive game with Shore Regional on Thursday, the Caseys closed the week with another statement win by shutting down Ranney, 56-29, with their best defensive performance of the season. After divisional games at Matawan and vs. Raritan during the week, Red Bank Catholic will face its toughest challenge yet when the Caseys take on Rutgers Prep Saturday at the Jimmy V Showcase at Central Regional High School.
2. Christian Brothers Academy (12-1, 7-0) Last Week: 2
CBA’s grip on first place in Class A North hung in the balance on Friday night and it was then the Colts showed, once again, how nails they are in clutch situations. Trailing Freehold Township by eight in the final two minutes, CBA closed the game with 11 straight points, capped by a Peter Noble three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to pull out a dramatic 53-50 win. Now, CBA prepares for its biggest game of the year: a trip to Marlboro on Monday with a chance to take a significant step toward winning the outright Class A North championship.
3. Marlboro (11-2, 5-1) Last Week: 3
Before CBA’s improbable comeback against Freehold Township, it was Marlboro that broke Freehold Township’s heart earlier in the week by erasing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and running away with a 72-61 win. Now, Marlboro prepares for a rematch against CBA after losing to the Colts on Jan. 4 while missing senior starter Zach Molod. That Monday rematch is just one of Marlboro’s games this week against top Shore Conference competition, with the Mustangs squaring off against St. John Vianney at the Jimmy V Showcase on Saturday.
4. St. John Vianney (12-2, 5-0) Last Week: 5
It has been a methodical climb up the rankings for St. John Vianney, which opened the season No. 8 and has spent time at No. 7, No. 6, No. 5 and now settles in at No. 4. And guess what? This Saturday, the Lancers will have their chance to move up to No. 3 when they take on Marlboro at the Jimmy V Showcase. Vianney looks poised to run away with the Class B North title and the Lancers will have a chance to get greedy this weekend and are in great position to secure a top-four seed in the Shore Conference Tournament.
5. Manasquan (9-2, 5-0) Last Week: 6
The Warriors have been steamrolling the Class C North division, but the one team that played Manasquan close was 10-1 Point Pleasant Boro. To wrap up the division, Manasquan will have to fight off Point Boro one more time and that rematch will take place on Thursday in Point Pleasant. After that, Manasquan will dive back into its loaded out-of-conference schedule with a game Sunday at Roselle Catholic.
6. Rumson-Fair Haven (7-2, 3-1) Last Week: 7
Prior to last week, Rumson’s case as the No. 7 team was based mostly on reputation. After last week, the Bulldogs now have some serious substance and can start making their case to climb into the top five as a team quickly gaining on the likes of Manasquan and St. John Vianney. The Bulldogs rolled over a solid Raritan team on the road, then notched an impressive home win over Newark East Side on Saturday. Throw in the return of senior Geoff Schroeder from an ankle injury and it was a feel-good week for the Bulldogs.
7. Ranney (7-2, 4-0) Last Week: 4
While Rumson’s No. 7 ranking was based on reputation, Ranney’s No. 4 ranking was more or less the same thing. The Panthers’ body of work at the moment includes overpowering Class B Central competition for four wins, wins over Sayreville and Middletown North and a win over a team from Arizona at home. The overtime loss to CBA suggested Ranney was right there in the top-five conversation, but a 56-29 drubbing at the hands of RBC leaves the Panthers with something to prove. They can get to work on that this week, when Manchester pays them a visit on Wednesday in a huge game for both teams.
8. Brick Memorial (8-3, 5-1)
The Mustangs return to the Top 10 as part of a wild race that is shaping up for the Class A South championship. The Mustangs have a big road win over Jackson Memorial that they will have to validate this week, when the Jaguars come to town on Monday in a huge Class A South clash.
9. Jackson Memorial (8-4, 4-2)
It has taken some time to put the pieces together over the past year, but it appears as though Jackson Memorial is hitting its stride. The Jaguars won four games last week, including two over ranked teams in Raritan and Manchester – the second of which was an overtime win that gives the Jaguars a lane to be Ocean County’s top-ranked team. To do so, the Jaguars will have to stay hot and overtake Brick Memorial and Central for the A South title.
10. Manchester (8-3, 5-0) Last Week: 8
The Hawks were due for a tight game against a good opponent after overwhelming Class B South competition in recent weeks. Now, we will see how the Hawks bounce back, as Manchester is looking at a week that includes a huge trip to Ranney on Wednesday.
Raritan (7-3, 2-2) Last Week: 9 – The Rockets encountered some adversity this week with losses to Jackson Memorial and Rumson-Fair Haven and will try to bounce back as a top 10 hopeful.
Central (10-3, 5-1) Last Week: 10 – A loss to Donovan Catholic knocked the Golden Eagles out for now, but they are still right on the doorstep with multiple chances to get back in.
Top 10 Watchlist
Holmdel (7-5, 3-2) – With Rumson-Fair Haven and Central on the schedule this week, the young Hornets have a chance to make a Top 10 statement this week.
Freehold Township (7-6, 4-3) – Two crushing road losses to Marlboro and CBA were missed opportunities of the Patriots, who continue to show they can play with top teams while they try to figure out how to get over the hump.
Donovan Catholic (8-4, 5-1) – With a win over Central, Donovan Catholic now has two wins over ranked teams this season as the Griffins keep their name in the conversation for a Top 10 spot.
Point Pleasant Boro (10-1, 5-1) – The Panthers will get their Top 10 shot this week when they host No. 5 Manasquan in a huge Class C North division game.
Howell (7-4, 3-3) – The Rebels will get another shot at Freehold Township this week and still have rematches coming up vs. Marlboro and CBA.