The Few. The Proud. The Beach! 

Scoreboard showing Point Beach's win (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

With apologies to the U.S. Marine Corp Point Pleasant Beach has used that motto to describe life at the tiny Group 1 high school whose enrollment usually hovers right around 450 students between grades 9-12.

While the school does have a fairly rich athletic history the current senior class has experienced more success than any group that’s occupied the more than 100-year old building that sits between Trenton and Forman Avenues.  Considering the impact Superstorm Sandy has had on not only Point Pleasant Beach but the sending towns of Mantoloking, Bay Head and Lavallette that success has been very welcome.

Two years ago the boy’s soccer team won its first-ever state sectional title and last year both the boys and girls basketball teams collected first-ever state group championships.  Just three months ago the Garnett Gulls football team upset Shore to claim the first state sectional crown in the long history of the school.

Last night Point Beach hosted Shore with another Central Jersey Group 1 title on the line, this one in boy’s basketball.  Early in the day I called Athletic Director Ellen Magliaro to confirm the 6pm game time and got a sense that it was not just another basketball game.  Magliaro said she had been fielding calls for a couple of days inquiring about everything from advance tickets to what time the doors would open to the tiny gym that would have made an ideal setting for the movie “Hoosiers.”

If you’re looking for modern and state-of-the-art look somewhere else.  Anyway I had some work to do so I got a cup of coffee and headed over to Point Beach early or what I thought was early.  I pulled up in front of the gym shortly after 4pm and there were people already lined up outside. Thank goodness it was a nice day.

By the time the doors opened at 5pm the line was around the corner and it would get worse.  I can’t tell you official numbers but about 500 people got into the gym, another couple of hundred watched on closed-circuit TV in the cafeteria and another large group went home unhappy.

By the way those that did get in saw a terrific game as an underdog Blue Devils team gave Point Beach all they could handle before Noah Yates and Matt Farrell led the Garnett Gulls to a 67-61 victory in the final home game of their careers.

Now it’s on to the Group 1 semifinals tomorrow night at the spacious Pine Belt Arena in Toms River against South Jersey champion Pittman.  At least the few and the proud won’t have to worry about seats!