Playing without their captain, leader and best player was simply too much for the Lakewood Piners, who saw their basketball season come to an end with a 53-44 loss to Medford Tech Wednesday night in the State Group 2 semifinals at Perth Amboy High School. 

Ben Watson takes a shot (Vimeo)

Tyrice Beverette was forced to watch the game from the bench because of a fracture in his left ankle suffered in Monday’s sectional final win over Manasquan.  Sporting a cast and crutches all Beverette could do was support his teammates who did their best before falling to the South Jersey champs in a game that was tied early in the 4th quarter.

Junior Ben Watson scored 13 points as Lakewood finishes 26-3 and with a trio of championships to their credit: the B South, Shore Conference and Central Jersey Group 2 titles.

With Lakewood losing that leaves Point Pleasant Beach as the only Ocean County basketball team still playing and the Garnett Gulls have both their boys and girls teams very much alive and kicking.  Last night the ladies outscored Gloucester City 85-74 in the State Group 1 semifinals as sophomore Marina Mabry lit-up the Williamstown gym for 49 points, 32 of them coming in the second half.

The Beach improves to 24-1 and will play Bloomfield Tech Sunday at the Pine Belt Arena for the Group 1 state title and a spot in the Tournament of Champions.

Meanwhile the boy’s team goes up against Paulsboro tonight in the state semifinals with that game to be played at the Pine Belt Arena.  Tipoff is at 7pm and I’ll be handling the PA chores and getting another look at a Garnett Gulls team that has helped excite and unite both the school and community.

You almost have to feel bad for the Yankees as it seems every day somebody on or associated with the team suffers an injury.  All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira is going to miss the first month of so of the season due to a strained tendon in his right wrist and others hurting or recovering include Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, Dave Robertson and Boone Logan.

Even General Manager Brian Cashman could not escape the injury hex as he was wheeling around Tampa in a wheelchair yesterday following a skydiving accident.  There was even talk a vendor suffered a rotator cuff injury in Tampa while tossing bag of peanuts and is out of action for the remainder of the spring.  As for feeling sorry for the Yanks….not really.