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TOMS RIVER -- While the first Shore Conference Tournament semifinal between Ranney and St. Rose pushed into overtime and built toward a dramatic conclusion, the Manasquan boys basketball team paid little regard to the chaos that was determining its potential championship opponent.

"They didn't even come out of the locker room," Manasquan coach Andrew Bilodeau said of his players and their whereabouts during Ranney's shocking, come-from-behind victory over St. Rose in game one of Tuesday's double-header at RWJBarnabas Health Arena. "They didn't want to. They were doing what they do. We do us."

When Manasquan finally did emerge from its locker room, the top-seeded Warriors remained all business in taking apart No. 4 Raritan, 68-42, to reach their fifth consecutive Shore Conference championship game.

As it turned out, a few of the Warriors did catch a glimpse of the conclusion of game one while waiting to take the court, but the focus remained the same.

PHOTO GALLERY: Manasquan vs. Raritan by Ray Rich Photography

Manasquan sophomore Darius Adams shoots over Raritan senior Billy Tigar. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)
Manasquan sophomore Darius Adams shoots over Raritan senior Billy Tigar. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)

"We watched the end of the game," junior Ryan Frauenheim said. "I just told our team, 'Don't let that outcome determine how hard we play. That meant nothing to us until after our game. We just had to be focused on us and nothing else."

Tuesday was another display of Manasquan's excellence in the Shore Conference Tournament, which has reached new heights over the last five seasons. The Warriors have been to the SCT quarterfinals in 12 straight seasons and 14 of the 15 seasons in which Bilodeau has been the head coach.

Since 2018-19, the Warriors are 2-2 in Shore Conference championship games, which includes a win in the eight-team tournament that was played during the COVID-shortened season. Last year, with five new starters -- four of which were underclassmen -- Manasquan reached the SCT final in Toms River, where the Warriors lost to a senior-loaded Marlboro squad.

"If you win to some degree, it's very simple: you have talent," Bilodeau said. "People, even some in my profession, don't understand that sometimes. It is one thousand percent about the kids. So we win because we have good players who come from great families. Period. That's why we're successful: we have players. That's what it's about."

Frauenheim and sophomore Darius Adams powered Tuesday night's performance, with the two guards representing two of the four Manasquan players to reach double-figure scoring. Adams finished with 19 points and seven assists, while Frauenheim added 14 points and five assists to lead the way.

PHOTO GALLERY: Manasquan vs. Raritan by Ray Rich Photography

Junior Alex Konov came off the bench to knock down 11 points, including three three-pointers, while sophomore Griffin Linstra scored all 10 of his points in the first half. Konov was a starter last season and opened the season as such this year before carving out a new niche as instant offense and knock-down shooting as the sixth man.

"He was sick a week ago or so and you can see him feeling better now," Bilodeau said of Konov. "I thought he ran the floor really well, had a couple big rebounds, hit some open shots and did a really nice job."

"It just shows how dangerous we are," Frauenheim said. "On any given night, anyone can go off. People see we only play seven (players), but we're really a deep seven."

Manasquan wasted little time jumping on top of Raritan, with the Warriors dictating the tempo during the first eight minutes and building up a 21-11 lead with a balanced offensive attack that saw Konov score six points and Frauenheim and Linstra each put in five.

Adams took over in the second quarter with 10 of his 19 points, pushing Manasquan's lead up to 34-11 before the Warriors settled on a 39-21 halftime lead. Raritan did not let the lead grow by more than 23 until the final three minutes of the fourth quarter, but could not put a significant dent in the deficit either.

"We have to be ready to go for every single second of the game," Frauenheim said. "We let up, and they score on us and coach doesn't like when that happens. We just have to be mentally locked-in for the whole 32 minutes."

Seniors Mike Diller and Jack O'Leary led the Rockets with 10 points, while classmates Jack Coleman and Matt Agar each added nine. Raritan was playing in its first SCT semifinal since winning the tournament in 2011 and could be in line to face Manasquan again in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II semifinals. The Rockets are the No. 3 seed in the bracket, while Manasquan is seeded No. 2 and would host the potential semifinal, should both teams advance twice.

"They have a really tough team to defend," Bilodeau said of Raritan, which entered Tuesday with just one loss all season and none within the Shore Conference. "They are super-well-coached and prepared on that end. They made some things tough for us."

Manasquan moves on to face Ranney in Sunday's SCT championship at Monmouth University, with tipoff scheduled for 2 p.m. following the girls championship game. Sunday will mark the fourth time Manasquan has faced Ranney in the Shore Conference Tournament, with the Warriors winning the last two SCT meetings. Manasquan also beat Ranney twice during Class C North divisional play this season, bringing its winning streak over the Panthers to four games.

"They are dynamic," Bilodeau said of Ranney. "They are physical, athletic, talented and can really score the ball. It's going to be a heck of a game.

"I didn't think that were an 11 seed to begin with, so no, I'm not surprised they are there. They have three guys who can really score the ball, they have a really experienced staff and they have a lot of pride. They have a history and that's important."

PHOTO GALLERY: Manasquan vs. Raritan by Ray Rich Photography

Raritan senior Jack O'Leary, guarded by Manasquan sophomore Griffin Linstra. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)
Raritan senior Jack O'Leary, guarded by Manasquan sophomore Griffin Linstra. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)

Frauenheim had the two highest-scoring games of his career in the two regular-season wins against Ranney, going for 29 in a 79-53 win over the Panthers in December and pouring in 33 in the second meeting -- an 84-73 Manasquan win.

"They just have two elusive, very good guards," Frauenheim said. "We need to lock in on defense and make sure they don't kill us."

Frauenheim was a freshman contributor on Manasquan's 2021 team that beat Marlboro in the Shore Conference championship game. He then watched Marlboro celebrate on the floor at RWJBarnabas Health Arena last year -- one year after suffering championship heartbreak. Frauenheim and his teammates are now hoping to complete the same journey.

"We remember the feeling in the locker room last year after losing to Marlboro," Frauenheim said. "We remember watching them celebrate on the court, us walking with our heads down back to the locker room. We remember that and we don't want it to happen again."

PHOTO GALLERY: Manasquan vs. Raritan by Ray Rich Photography

Raritan senior Jack Coleman defended by Manasquan senior Jack Dettlinger. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)
Raritan senior Jack Coleman defended by Manasquan senior Jack Dettlinger. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)

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