The Shore Conference Basketball Tournament is special and to me the highlight of the season even though the state tournament is still to come.  If you win the shore crown you are the best among 47 teams that you probably know pretty well…opposing players could be friends who you play or train with during other times of the year. The SCT has provided some dramatic moments over the years and has produced upsets that have seen high seeds sent home wondering what happened.

Most of the top ranked teams on both the boys and girls side drew opening round byes but everyone will be in action today as we have reached the round of 16.  Manasquan and St. Rose are heavily favored to meet in the boys finals but will likely have a bump or two to get there.  Squan, who has reached the title game three straight years (there was no official tournament in 2020) hosts Southern today while emerging powerhouse St. Rose will be home versus Point Boro who they have already beaten twice this year.  Today’s most intriguing matchups find Jackson Memorial hosting Ranney, Central traveling to a Middletown South team that has won 15 straight and Toms River North hosting Shore.

The girls bracket is a bit different because nobody expects St. John Vianney to lose.  The undefeated Lady Lancers are ranked #1 in the state and in their half of the bracket only St. Rose would appear to pose any obstacle.  The other half includes once-beaten Red Bank Catholic and Manasquan who are both battle-tested and quite familiar with SJV.

Zoe Brooks of SJV is one of the top playerrs in the US Tom Smith |
Zoe Brooks of SJV is one of the top playerrs in the US
Tom Smith |

Today’s winners advance to the quarterfinals at Middletown South with the boys to play Saturday and the girls on Super Bowl Sunday well before the Eagles meet the Chiefs. The championship doubleheader returns to Monmouth University on Sunday, February 19.

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