It may be premature to say winter is over. After all spring does not officially arrive for 28 days.  However if you will pardon the pun, we are skating through February in fine fashion with no snow in the forecast and above average temperatures for the rest of the month.  Here’s hoping for an early spring and not a late winter.

Just a few more days of competition left in the Winter Olympics in South Korea which have been good but for some reason have not captivated me like in the past.

I can’t really put my finger on it. It might have something to do with the U.S. Men’s Hockey team which has advanced to the quarterfinals but is not expected to get past the Czech Republic and of course is void of any big names without the NHL players taking part.  What happened in 1980 will simply never happen again although I have watched the movie “Miracle” at least three times this month alone.

The Shore Conference Basketball Tournament is one of the marquee high school events of the winter season and it’s reached the semifinal round with no real surprises.  That’s especially true when it comes to the girls bracket where you almost feel that could have started with the four teams left because they were the ones you would have predicted back when the season began.

Tonight at the RWJBarnabas Health Arena in Toms River, top seed St. John Vianney faces defending champion St. Rose at 6pm and following that second-seed Manasquan goes up against #3 Red Bank Catholic.  All four of them are ranked in the top six in the state with Vianney, Manasquan and St. Rose 1-2-3.

The boys semifinals are Thursday night with Ranney to play CBA followed by Rumson and Mater Dei Prep.  Led by highly sought-after juniors Scottie Lewis & Bryan Antione, top seed Ranney put on a show Saturday in rolling past Toms River North with the duo combining for a slew of rim-rocking dunks that dazzled the crowd, including Villanova coach Jay Wright who would love to have both of them in a couple of years.

So would Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and others who have offered them a package deal to play together at the next level.


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