Monday kicks off a week filled with plenty of games on the boys and girls sides that will have an effect on the Shore Conference Tournament seeding position as well as division titles.
Starting on the girls side, the Class A South title is going to be decided on Monday, with Jackson Memorial favored to grab its share of the title by beating last-place Toms River East, and Southern being forced to earn it by beating Toms River North, which upset the Rams in their first meeting this season. Southern has been playing great the last two weeks, and with a division title hanging in the balance, you can expect Kristen Sharkey, Avery Hodgson and Co. to be going all out, but the Mariners will be doing the same as they try to improve their SCT seed with a second win over the Rams.
On the boys side, Lakewood heads to Monsignor Donovan with the Class B South overall title essentially on the line (Mon Don still has a game left against Pinelands) after the Piners beat the Griffins soundly in their first meeting. The first time around, Lakewood’s was hitting everything from deep and slashing to the rim, while surrounding Mon Don’s Sean Griffin on defense. Tyquan Strand, Jacob Grant and Jarrod Davis all had big games in the win over the Griffins the first time around, so we’ll see if Mon Don can neutralize one or two of them on its home floor in its bid to repeat as division champs. With the win, Lakewood or Mon Don should have a shot at a top 10 seed.
One other boys note. Red Bank coach Scott Martin strongly disagreed with my notion in a previous blog entry that Shore wanted it more down the stretch in the Bucs’ loss to the Blue Devils on Saturday in a game that each team had to have to qualify for the state playoffs. He felt that the loss came down to missed shots and it should be pinned on him rather than his team. He has a valid argument to a degree, as guards Eric Raybon and Rob Grover did hit the floor at times, so I thought he deserved to have his say on here and defend his team, and good luck to the Bucs this week as they try to qualify for the Shore Conference Tournament. Also, he did not say anything specifically to me about the officials after the game after being hit with two technicals. In an earlier entry, it linked his in-game displeasure with the officials to gripes from other coaches about the officiating in Shore’s building, but Martin never said anything about that post-game, so I didn’t mean to insinuate that he did. My apologies.