Check back all day for updates, notes, random observations and anything else that pops in my head during a full day of boys basketball at Brookdale in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
Two quick reminders – The Shore Coaches Association Boys and Girls Senior All-Star games will be held on March 24 at Freehold Township, with the girls game at 6 p.m. and the boys game at 8 p.m. with a 3-point shootout also being held during the event.
Also, another reminder in that the SCT semifinals and final will be broadcast live on the radio and over the Internet by the Shore Sports Network, WOBM AM 1160 an Fox Sports Radio 1310 AM, so if you can’t make it, Kevin Williams and his award-winning broadcast team will be bring it right to your living room.
First game – Christian Brothers Academy 77, Keyport 45 (Final)
Second game – Freehold 62, Middletown South 60 (Final)
Third game – Neptune 81, Asbury Park 59 (Final)
Fourth game – Monmouth 62, St. Rose 49 (Final)
Updated 5:43 p.m.
Now for the live blog from Sunday’s Brookdale Community College men’s basketball practice, which is kicking off in a matter of minutes. Just kidding. I’m done for the day, hope everybody enjoyed it and see you at the semifinals on Wednesday at the Ritacco Center.
Updated 5:35 p.m.
Sophomore Loren Jackson, who is a transfer from Lakewood, had the best game of his career on a big stage for the Falcons, as he had a game-high 17 points in the win. Junior guard Neil Thompson added 15 points, 6 assists and 3 steals and Anthony Gibson had 13 points and 5 rebounds in the victory. Sean McPaul led St. Rose with 15 points, Joey Quinn added 13 and Chris Hueth had 10. Monmouth shot 55.3 percent from the field in the victory and forced 15 turnovers, including shooting 15-for-22 (68.2 percent) from the field in the second half while St. Rose shot 10-for-27 from the field after halftime and 43.2 percent for the game.
Updated 5:31 p.m.
Monmouth beat St. Rose 62-49, with forward Loren Jackson slamming one down in the final seconds as the exclamation point to cap the best game of his career and Monmouth’s second straight trip to the SCT semifinals, where they will face nemesis Neptune, which they split with during the regular season, at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday at the Ritacco Center.
Updated 5:27 p.m.
Monmouth leads 52-46 with 1:29 left in the game and will have possession coming out of the timeout. St. Rose is trying to trap Monmouth’s guards at halfcourt and will have to start fouling soon.
Updated 5:22 p.m.
Monmouth’s lead is at 52-44 with 2:40 left in the game against St. Rose, and every time the Falcons push it to 10, the Purple Roses answer with two straight baskets.
Updated 5:17 p.m.
Monmouth’s lead is down to 44-38 with 5:02 left in the game against St. Rose after being as high as 14 points thanks to consecutive buckets by St. Rose’s Chris Hueth and Sean McPaul, as the Purple Roses are really attacking the offensive boards in an effort to come back.
Updated 5:11 p.m.
Monmouth leads St. Rose 40-28 after the third quarter thanks to a driving lay-up in the final seconds in traffic by Anthony Gibson, who had 7 points in the quarter for the Falcons. St. Rose only had five points in the quarter and is settling for long-range jumpers against Monmouth’s zone that are off the mark, rather than trying to get it inside to big man Sean McPaul.
Updated 5:09 p.m.
Monmouth has raced to a 38-28 lead over St. Rose with 55.9 seconds left in the third quarter as Neil Thompson and Anthony Gibson are starting to exert their will, while St. Rose has five turnovers and only five points in the period. Thompson and Gibson have combined for nine points in a 9-2 run that has put the lead into double digits.
Updated 4:46 p.m.
First off, a big thanks to Neptune statistician Shannon McMillan, who has done a great job for the stats from the Neptune game and is now tracking the Monmouth-St. Rose game, so all these numbers are courtesy of the computer program that Shannon uses as Neptune’s manager.
Monmouth leads St. Rose, 25-23 at the half in a game of mini-runs for each team with no team able to get much separation. Reserve Loren Jackson had a great first half with 9 points and guard Neil Thompson had a strong first half for Monmouth with 7 points and 4 assists, while Joey Quinn has 8 and Sean McPaul has 7 for St. Rose. St. Rose had 7 turnovers in the first half, and a big part of this game will come down to how much pressure Monmouth’s guards can apply and get turnovers vs. how much St. Rose can get it in deep to McPaul for easy buckets on the block.
St. Rose is shooting well, as it went 52.9 from the field in the first half, while Monmouth shot 11-for-25. It’s really the turnovers that allowed Monmouth to stay in front because St. Rose is getting buckets when it takes care of the ball. The rebounding is about dead even at 13-11 in favor of St. Rose.
Updated 4:39 p.m.
Monmouth has grabbed a 22-17 lead with 3:26 left in the half with Brent Shelton dumping in a pair of buckets during a 9-5 run so far this quarter.
Updated 4:31 p.m.
Monmouth’s lead over St. Rose is still at 13-12 at the end of the first quarter as both teams turned the ball over multiple times toward the end of the quarter. Monmouth’s Neil Thompson has gotten into the lane and set up Loren Jackson (8 points) with some lay-ups, while St. Rose is trying to pound it to Sean McPaul against Monmouth’s zone defense and try to find little gaps for 15-foot jumpers for its guards.
Updated 4:27 p.m.
Monmouth leads St. Rose 13-12 with 1:50 left in the first quarter and I’m sure St. Rose coach Dennis Devaney is shaking his head because guess who has eight of Monmouth’s points? Forward Loren Jackson, a little-used reserve until recently. I’m guessing he wasn’t featured too prominently on the scouting report, but he’s playing his best game of the season and his career right now.
Updated 4:10 p.m.
Our man NEP84 is in the stands today and wanted it noted before the St. Rose-Monmouth game tips off that this is his upset special – the Purple Roses in the Final Four, knocking off the third-seeded Falcons, for NEP’s upset special of the day. If Monmouth wins, my pre-tournament Final Four will have been exactly as it turned out because I had Freehold, CBA and Neptune, so we’ll see what happens.
While Neptune’s boys just enjoyed a great win, one of their girls is close to a milestone as junior Sehmonyeh Allen is just 12 points shy of 1,000 points for her career and could pass the four-digit mark in the Scarlet Fliers’ semifinal game against St. Rose on Monday at the Ritacco Center.
One final quickie: St. Rose coach Dennis Devaney joked the other night that when an opposing team doesn’t have one of its star players, the Roses can’t beat them. They lost to Monmouth in the regular season when the Falcons were without star guard Neil Thompson, they were routed by CBA when the Colts were without Pat Light, and they were upset by Keyport when the Red Raiders were without standout guard Tony Lopez.
“Is Monmouth going to have everybody on Sunday?” Devaney asked. When I told him yes, he said. “Great. That means we have a shot.”
Updated 3:57 p.m.
Some stats from Neptune’s 81-59 win over Asbury Park: On his 18th birthday, senior guard D.J. Gutridge had a team-high 16 points to go with 5 assistss, senior guard Thomas Jones had 14 points, senior guard Jabari Joyner had 9 points and senior forward Dan Singleton had 9 points and 5 rebounds for the defending SCT champs. Joe Anderson led Asbury Park had 15 points and Lamar Young added 12 points and 11 rebounds in the loss for the Bishops, who shot 21-for-54 (38.9 percent), while Neptune shot a sizzling 51.9 percent from the field in the game.
Updated 3:51 p.m.
Neptune routs Asbury Park, 81-59, to advance to Wednesday’s SCT semifinal at 7:45 p.m. at the Ritacco Center against the Monmouth-St. Rose winner from the final game of the day. That’s a nice birthday present for Neptune senior guard D.J. Gutridge, who had a strong game. Neptune had its jayvee team in for the final five minutes of the game, while the Bishops still had their regulars in padding the stats a little.
Updated 3:38 p.m.
This one is over, as Neptune leads 68-43 with 5:06 left in the game and continues to make one of the Shore’s oldest rivalries a one-sided one as the Blue Bishops haven’t beaten Neptune in a big game in forever. Two B Central teams hit the buzzsaw today as Neptune is romping over Asbury Park and CBA dismantled Keyport. That can’t look good for Ocean County, as Asbury Park and Keyport went a combined 4-0 against Ocean County teams to reach the quarterfinals and then were non-competitive when they got there, although maybe it’s just because CBA and Neptune are that superior.
Updated 3:30 p.m.
Neptune is putting on a clinic, as it leads Asbury Park 57-39 at the end of the third quarter. They outscored Asbury Park 21-12 in the quarter to stretch their lead and blow the game open. Senior guard D.J. Gutridge is everywhere on both sides of the floor as Neptune forced six Asbury Park turnovers and Gutridge and Jabari Joyner combined for 9 points in the quarter.
Updated 3:19 p.m.
Neptune has jumped out to a 40-26 lead with 4:31 left in the third quarter with a 6-2 run to start the second half as the Fliers continue to shoot well from the perimeter, and the Bishops continue to turn the ball over. There also has been some good-natured talk between the Neptune players and Asbury Park starter K’Von Shaw, who went to Neptune up until this year and was at Neptune at the beginning of the school year before transferring to Asbury Park.
Updated 3:10 p.m.
With the second half about to start in a few minutes, it’s time for the “Damn, do I feel old,” moment of the weekend. The announcer here at Brookdale, who is a doing a great job, is Neptune graduate Dane Hodge, a former soccer standout for the Fliers. Way back when I started at the Asbury Park Press in 1999, Dane used to help us take box scores over the phone when he was about 15-16 years old because his mom worked at the APP. Now he is a 23-year-old senior in college and I didn’t even recognize him at the girls SCT quarterfinals on Saturday until he said hello. I believe my first Social Security check is coming any day now.
Updated 3:05 p.m.
Thomas Jones leads Neptune with a game-high 12 points at the half, all on 3-pointers, D.J. Gutridge has 7 points and Jabari Joyner has six. Jamar Smalls leads Asbury Park with 7 points, but the big stat is that Asbury Park only has three second-chance points, and that’s huge because the Bishops usually get a ton of their points from offensive rebounds. Also, Neptune is 6-for-10 from 3-point range so far in the game, while Asbury Park shot 9-for-26 (34.6 percent) from the field in the first half.
Updated 3:02 p.m.
Neptune leads Asbury Park, 34-24, at the half, thanks to a barrage of 3-pointers, as the Scarlet Fliers hit six threes in the first half, four of them by senior Thomas Jones. A big problem for Asbury Park has been turnovers, as the Bishops had 10 in the first half.
Updated 2:53 p.m.
Neptune has maintained its double-digit lead over Asbury Park as it’s up 32-21 with 2:41 remaining in the half as senior Thomas Jones continues to bomb away, as he has buried four 3-pointers in the game thus far. Asbury Park also has not established Lamar Young in the paint at all, as Neptune has a big body leaning on him in T.J. Hicks.
Updated 2:43 p.m.
Neptune leads Asbury Park 21-11 at the end of the first quarter and if Neptune is going to shoot like this, Asbury has no shot. The Blue Bishops are in a zone defense, and Neptune hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter, including two by resurgent senior Thomas Jones, who has struggled all season but has come on in the last three or four games.
Updated 2:35 p.m.
Neptune leads Asbury Park 5-4 with 4:27 left in the first quarter. It’s an up-tempo game as expected, which is why I think it’s tough for Asbury Park because Neptune is usually just a more souped-up version of the Bishops. If Asbury wants to run, Neptune’s response is basically, “Bring it on.”
Updated 2:29 p.m.
We are underway in Game Three, No. 2 Neptune vs. No. 7 Asbury Park, with Neptune taking a 2-0 lead.
Updated 2:08 p.m.
Senior Andrew Gerbehy had 23 points to lead Freehold in its 62-60 win, and Will Howarth and Lance McKenzie each added 13 points. Junior Kyle Cancillieri did all he could, pouring in a game-high 31 points and ripping down 17 rebounds in the loss for Midd. South, and Matt Callori added 17 points.
Updated 2:03 p.m.
Freehold defeated Middletown South, 62-60, and will face top-seeded CBA in the semifinals on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Ritacco Center. Two free throws by senior Will Howarth with 4 seconds remaining gave Freehold a 5-point lead, rendering a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Middletown South’s Pat O’Connell harmless. Tremendous game, and congrats to Freehold. So far, I’m 2-for-2 on my predictions. If Neptune and Monmouth both win, I will have picked the final four correctly before the tournament, and life as we know it will most likely end as the Earth spins off its axis.
Updated 2 p.m.
A 3-point play by South’s Kyle Cancillieri following two foul shots by Freehold’s Lance McKenzie has cut it to 60-57 with 20.5 seconds left in the game.
Updated 1:58 p.m.
Middletown South got a lay-up from Kyle Cancillieri to cut Freehold’s lead to 58-54 with 34.1 seconds left in the game before taking a timeout.
Updated 1:56 p.m.
A steal and a lay-up by Lance McKenzie has given Freehold a 58-52 lead over Middletown South with 44 ticks of the clock remaining.
Updated 1:53 p.m.
Freehold traveled, giving the ball back to South, and Matt Callori just missed a 3-pointer. Freehold then nearly turned it over again on an errant outlet pass before Will Howarth corralled it, leaped in the air and called timeout with 1:01 left in the game and the Colonials leading 56-52.
Updated 1:52 p.m.
Freehold leads Middletown South 56-52 with 1:23 left in the game after the Eagles just clanked two free throws, which has been an Achilles’ heel for them all season. Now the Colonials have the ball and a two-possession lead.
Updated 1:49 p.m.
Freehold leads Middletown South 54-52 with possession with 1:55 left in the game, as it has become a battle of free throw shooting down the stretch. Freehold is in the double bonus, while South is still two fouls away from getting into the bonus.
Updated 1:43 p.m.
Freehold is up 50-47 after a tip-in by Christian Garcia, and is now in the bonus with 3:28 left in the game.
Updated 1:41 p.m.
Freehold leads 48-47 with 4:01 left in the game, as Middletown South’s Kyle Cancillieri is keeping the Eagles in it with a big game, of which All-Shore candidacies are made. Freehold has the ball after taking a timeout.
Updated 1:34 p.m.
And down the stretch they come!….Freehold and Middletown South are tied at 43 at the end of the third quarter as South has gotten back to feeding Cancillieri inside and he has also been aggressive off the dribble with Will Howarth defending. At stake is a meeting with CBA in the semifinals at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Ritacco Center.
Updated 1:28 p.m.
Freehold has come back to take a 43-39 lead with 2 minutes left in the third quarter on a 3-point play by Andrew Gerbehy, who is taking his man off the dribble on almost every possession. South has gotten away from feeding Kyle Cancillieri and Matt Callori in the post, which it needs to correct down the stretch.
Updated 1:25 p.m.
The lead is swinging back and forth with every possession as Middletown South leads Freehold, 39-38, with 3:48 left in the third quarter in what is shaping up to be a classic. Both teams are shooting above 50 percent from the field, and South’s 3-point shooting has now come alive with treys by Rob Callori and Pat O’Connell.
Updated 1:06 p.m.
Freehold leads Middletown South, 31-30, at the half in a game that has lived up to its billing as one of the best of the day. It’s Freehold’s long-range shooting vs. the Eagles’ inside presence. I also think the officials might have ruled a few 3-pointers by Freehold as long twos because the three-point lines are so close because at least two or three that were ruled two-point baskets looked like threes. Kyle Cancillieri has 13 points to lead South and Andrew Gerbehy has 13 to lead Freehold in a game that looks like it will go down to the final seconds and maybe an OT or two.
Updated 1:01 p.m.
Freehold is starting to bomb away from 3-point range as it has surged ahead of Middletown South, 28-24, with 3:06 left in the first half, on consecutive threes by Brandon Brown and Andrew Gerbehy. They are also starting to get turnovers out of their halfcourt defense by getting in the passing lanes. South is switching between man-to-man and zone, and they have come out of the zone after Freehold buried two straight threes.
Updated 12:57 p.m.
Freehold has rallied to cut the lead to 21-20 with 5:42 left in the half on a long two by Will Howarth. This game is shaping up to be Freehold’s perimeter shooting and 3-point prowess vs. Matt Callori and Kyle Cancillieri in the paint for Middletown South.
Updated 12:52 p.m.
Middletown South leads Freehold 19-13 at the end of the first quarter, and South junior Kyle Cancillieri already has 11 points as the Eagles attack the heart of Freehold’s zone. Cancillieri is also matched up man-to-man with Freehold’s Andrew Gerbehy, where Cancillieri’s long arms can challenge any long-range shots. Matt Callori has the other 8 points for the Eagles, who are hammering Freehold inside with their size advantage.
Updated 12:46 p.m.
Middletown South has started the game leading 11-8, as Freehold has used the 3-point shooting of Andrew Gerbehy and Will Howarth to stay close as South led 9-3 at one point. The Eagles are making no bones about pounding it inside to Kyle Cancillieri and Matt Callori, as those two have combined for all 11 of their points thus far.
Updated 12:30 p.m.
With the Middletown South-Freehold game about 8 minutes away from tipping off, one quick CBA tidbit. I was talking to Brian Neller about committing to UMBC and he said he’s not sure if they are going to play him as a shooting guard or small forward, but they were definitely his main choice as he didn’t list any other schools that he decided between. Also, Neller said it looks like guard Adam Spengler, who broke his hand during the regular season, will not be back this season, which is a tough loss for CBA, especially in a tough Non-Public South A bracket.
Updated 12:11 p.m.
Brian Neller led CBA with 17 points, senior Jon Rohan had 13 points, guard Travis Farrell had 11 points, junior point guard Roy Mabrey had 11 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists and Pat Light had 9 points and 6 rebounds. For Keyport, Mark Ziobro had 11 points, Shawn Dowd had 10 points and Bryan Thomson had 8 points.
CBA shot 31-for-56 (55 percent) from the field in the 77-45 win, and that’s with everyone short of some Colt Crazies right out of the stands playing for CBA in the game.
Updated 12:07 p.m.
The final damage was CBA 77, Keyport 45. CBA now awaits the winner of the Middletown South-Freehold winner at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Ritacco Center in the semifinals.
Updated 11:59 a.m.
As we hit noon, it has hit way past midnight for Keyport, which should be congratulated for a great Cinderella run to the SCT quarters. CBA is up 71-38 with 4 minutes left in the game in what has become a lay-up drill. It’s essentially a jayvee game right now.
Updated 11:37 a.m.
We’re kind of just playing out the string here as CBA is up 59-30 on Keyport at the end of the third quarter, so I’ll give you a fun anecdote to pass the time. I was just talking to Matawan coach Tom Stead, and he was telling me about a player named Brandyn Curry, who was a star eighth-grader in Matawan a few years back and could have been a major player for the Huskies. He also has two younger brothers who are stars in the making. Curry’s mother fell in love with a man she met on Match.com and ended up moving to North Carolina before Curry got to Matawan. He now plays for Hopewell High School in Huntersville, N.C., and was a nominee for the McDonald’s All-American Game this season. He has made a verbal commitment to play for Tommy Amaker at Harvard. Talk about the ones that got away. Nothing like a dating site to blow your plans of a dynasty.
Updated 11:27 a.m.
Yeah, this one is over, and it’s only halftime. CBA is up 45-16 on Keyport and it’s a bloodbath, although Keyport’s Tony Lopez did just hit a halfcourt shot to end the half. Reserves that don’t normally see a lot of playing time are in the game for the Colts, and the Colt Crazies are letting Keyport have it with “Up by 30!” and “Where’s your varsity?” chants. Seniors Brian Neller and Jon Rohan each have 11 at the half for the Colts.
Updated 11:23 a.m.
It looks like Cinderella’s carriage is turning into a pumpkin as CBA is now up 32-11 on Keyport with 4:20 left in the first half after a 12-0 run to start the second quarter. Senior Jon Rohan, who I thought would be important in this tournament, has really given CBA some energy with eight points in the game thus far. CBA cannot be stopped offensively.
Updated 11:15 a.m.
CBA leads Keyport 20-11 at the end of the first quarter, as the Colts have been just about unstoppable offensively. Senior Brian Neller has 7 points to lead the Colts and junior point guard Roy Mabrey has five. Shawn Dowd has 4 points to lead Keyport along with a pair of blocks.
Updated 11:11 a.m.
CBA has jumped out to an 18-8 lead on Keyport with 2 minutes left in the first quarter. The Colts are getting whatever they want offensively – slashes to the basket, offensive rebounds, lobs in the post to Pat Light, and open jumpers. Keyport has not been able to get a stop whatsoever yet, so the Red Raiders are going to have to pick it up on defense to stay in this one. CBA is scoring at will in the paint right now.
Updated 11:02 a.m.
We are underway between Keyport and Christian Brothers Academy, and Roy Mabrey came out and hit a 3-pointer on CBA’s first possession and the Colts have jumped out to an 10-4 lead, which is never good news for their opponents. The Colt Crazies are here, of course, and Keyport has a small but loud student section with kids with K-E-Y-P-O-R-T painted across their chests. When senior Mark Ziobro makes a big play for the Red Raiders, they chant “Zoltan,” with a hand gesture, which is a reference from, of all things, the cinematic classic, “Dude, Where’s My Car?” Only in Keyport.
A coach from Hood College in Fredrick, Md., a Division III program, is here to take a look at Keyport forward Shawn Dowd, who has Keyport’s first four points.
Updated 9:15 a.m.
The boys action tips off at Brookdale in just under two hours from now, starting with No. 1 Christian Brothers Academy against a Cinderella Keyport team. As for my picks, before the tournament started, I went with CBA, Freehold, Monmouth and Neptune as my Final Four, so I won’t back off from that now. However, after seeing how this tournament has played out, I might have gone with Middletown South over Freehold and St. Rose over Monmouth, but unlike the politicians of this great nation, I won’t flip-flop on you now so I’ll stick to my original picks.
Foul shooting could be big in the Middletown South-Freehold game, and even with Christian Garcia in there I think Middletown South still has a good advantage inside so it all comes down to how their guards handle Freehold’s pressure. CBA is a heavy favorite, and Neptune is arguably just a better version of Asbury Park. Dan Singleton should be huge in this one for Neptune if it is his job to keep Asbury Park’s relentless Lamar Young off the offensive glass. Monmouth’s Anthony Gibson has had a strong tournament thus far, and I think he is going to have to do it again to overcome a group of St. Rose guards that is playing with a lot of confidence now as well as senior center Sean McPaul. Monmouth has someone who can match up with McPaul, except for that he’s sitting on the bench with two broken wrists that are healing. That means Justin Ruiz or Brent Shelton will have to do their best to slow down St. Rose’s big man. The key is not to let him establish position deep on the block early in the possession. Beat him to the spot and root him out of it because once he gets it in deep on the lob, it’s over.
Good luck to all the teams today.