We’re about 20 minutes away from tip-off in the first boys SCT semifinal game between Christian Brothers Academy and Freehold, so be sure to check back all night for thoughts and extras during the game. I can’t do better than play-by-play, which you can get from Matt Harmon and Kevin Williams on the Shore Sports Network, so click on that link and then click on the “Listen Live” button to hear their live broadcast of both games.
Updated 9:16 p.m.
Jamaal Hubbard led Neptune with a career-high 17 points, Jabari Joyner added 11 points and DJ Gutridge had 7 assists. Anthony Gibson was slowed by an injury in the second half for Monmouth, but I don’t think that really would’ve made a huge difference because Neptune just outplayed the Falcons during a 21-8 third-quarter showing that put the game away. Neptune shot 57.7% from the field in the second half.
Updated 8:58 p.m.
Neptune wins it, 62-49, and will move on to face No. 1 CBA in the final on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Ritacco Center. Great games by D.J. Gutridge and Jamaal Hubbard led the way, while Neil Thompson had 20 points in the loss for Monmouth.
Updated 8:55 p.m.
The game has gotten a little wild in the past few minutes but Neptune is still in control, up 60-45 on Monmouth with 1:19 left in the game. Monmouth’s Neil Thompson has kept it respectable with 9 of their last 11 points while D.J. Gutridge continues to have a field day in transition, where he found Thomas Jones for two straight lay-ups.
Updated 8:51 p.m.
Neptune leads 54-35 with 4:02 left in the game and people are already starting to file out of here as the stands are emptying quickly. So the defending SCT champs will move on to face nemesis CBA at 8 p.m. on Saturday right back here at the Ritacco Center.
Updated 8:49 p.m.
Barring a miracle, Neptune will be facing CBA on Saturday as the Fliers now lead 54-31 with 4:50 left in the game following a 3-pointer by Thomas Jones. Monmouth just looks a step slower at every position right now and can’t make a shot, while Neptune is getting out on the break consistently. D.J. Gutridge has taken over this game and is either scoring or setting up lay-ups at will.
Updated 8:45 p.m.
Neptune has blown out to a 45-28 lead after three quarters against Monmouth, ripping off a 15-0 run to end the period that featured 9 combined points by D.J. Gutridge and Dan Singleton. Monmouth just looks gassed right now, while Neptune has kicked it into gear and is attacking the basket relentlessly and forcing turnovers.
Updated 8:42 p.m.
Neptune is just a different team with D.J. Gutridge on the floor, as it now leads 43-28 with 37 seconds left in the third because Gutridge’s explosive first step off the dribble is causing so much trouble on offense and he is finding Jamaal Hubbard and others on the block. Neptune’s defense is also starting to force turnovers. It looks like Monmouth is getting tired.
Updated 8:40 p.m.
Neptune has surged back to take a 38-28 lead with 1:40 remaining in the third quarter as Dan Singleton is heating up with six of their last seven points. Jamaal Hubbard is also having a solid game.
Updated 8:38 p.m.
Monmouth is awake now, as Neil Thompson dropped in a 3-pointer and Anthony Gibson got a 3-pointer to finally go down to cut Neptune’s lead to 30-28 with 3:16 left in the third quarter.
Updated 8:35 p.m.
Monmouth has come out of halftime flat and Neptune has grabbed a 28-20 lead with 4:43 left in the third quarter on transition baskets by Dan Singleton and Jabari Joyner.
Updated 8:20 p.m.
Neptune leads 24-20 at the half over Monmouth after a 4-0 run to close the half featuring a putback by Jamaal Hubbard and a pair of free throws by Jabari Joyner. Monmouth erased a nine-point deficit to tie it before Neptune claimed the lead at the break.
Updated 8:17 p.m.
Monmouth is on an 8-1 run and has tied the game at 20 with 43.8 seconds left, although sophomore big man Loren Jackson just picked up his third foul. D.J. Gutridge having to sit most of the half with foul trouble has definitely affected Neptune’s offense, while Monmouth is being way more aggressive offensively.
Updated 8:11 p.m.
Neptune leads Monmouth 19-12 with 4:21 left in the half as both offenses have bogged down. Neptune’s shaky free throw shooting is also rearing its head as the Fliers have missed 5 free throws. Neptune is not attacking off the dribble at all against Monmouth’s zone, while the Falcons can’t get anything going either.
Updated 8:07 p.m.
Neptune leads 19-12 with 6:31 left in the half after a basket and foul by Monmouth’s Justin Ruiz. Without D.J. Gutridge on the floor, Neptune tends to lose its way offensively and settle for threes rather than attack the basket, which is what is happening now.
Updated 8:04 p.m.
Neptune’s Jamaal Hubbard just drained a jumper with two seconds left to give the Fliers a 19-10 lead after the first quarter. Lem Walker has been active on both ends for the Fliers and is off to a good star, while Monmouth’s offense has stagnated. Neptune went on a 9-2 run to end the quarter.
Updated 7:59 p.m.
Nothing like a mental breakdown in the SCT semifinals, as Neptune’ s Jabari Joyner just made two technical foul free throws for a 15-8 lead as a result of an error with the scorebook. Most likely a player having the wrong jersey number or not being listed in the book. Imagine if Monmouth loses this game by two points. Yikes.
Updated 7:57 p.m.
Neptune leads it 13-8 with 2:37 left in the first quarter after a 3-pointer by Jabari Joyner, as the Scarlet Fliers are off to a solid shooting start. D.J. Gutridge and Joyner are taking turns checking Monmouth point guard Neil Thompson. Sophomore Loren Jackson, who had 17 points in Monmouth’s quarterfinal win over St. Rose, is also now in the game off the bench.
Updated 7:52 p.m.
Neptune leads 6-3 after a pair of free throws by D.J. Gutridge. Anthony Gibson is misfiring from 3-point range (0-for-3) for Monmouth to start the game.
Updated 7:46 p.m.
We’re about to tip off the second game between Neptune and Monmouth, and the Ritacco Center is pretty much full for this one.
Updated 7:17 p.m.
CBA wins it, 62-55, over Freehold as Pat Light had 13 points to lead the way and the Colts will face the Neptune-Monmouth winner at 8 p.m. on Saturday in the SCT final at the Ritacco Center. Brian Neller added 12 and Travis Farrell and Roy Mabrey each had 11 for the Colts. Junior forward Christian Garcia had 19 points and senior guard Brandon Brown had 16 points in the loss for the Colonials.
Updated 7:16 p.m.
This one is all but wrapped up as CBA leads 62-53 with 12.3 seconds left.
Updated 7:13 p.m.
Freehold got a 3-pointer to cut CBA’s lead to 59-53 with 39.6 seconds left, but took too much time to get it off. They lost about an extra 15 seconds by holding on the ball too long before Will Howarth nailed a three from the top of the key.
Updated 7:12 p.m.
CBA leads 59-50 after a pair of free throws by Brian Neller with 1:05 left. Freehold has gotten a couple key steals, but has given the ball right back to CBA on both occasions when they could’ve cut the lead to five. CBA is making its free throws, so this one looks like it’s over.
Updated 7:08 p.m.
Freehold just had a quick 4-0 flurry on a bucket by Christian Garcia and then a steal by Garcia and a long pass to Lance McKenzie for a lay-up to cut it to 55-48 with 2:32 left in the game. Freehold just got another steal by Garcia, but he threw it right back to CBA’s Travis Farrell.
Updated 7:07 p.m.
CBA leads 55-44 with 3:04 to go as it is doing a good job of dissecting Freehold’s full-court pressure and the Colonials just can’t get enough stops and can’t get any 3-pointers to fall to mount a serious comeback right now.
Updated 7:04 p.m.
CBA now leads 53-40 with 4:30 left in the game after a basket by Travis Farrell. You know things are going the Colts way when the ball got tipped out of three CBA players’ hands and someone was fumbled to Farrell right under the basket for a lay-up.
Updated 7:01 p.m.
CBA leads 49-38 with 5:32 left in the game after the two teams each made a pair of free throws. Freehold’s best chance now is from behind the 3-point arc, so it needs to get some penetration and then kick it out to shooters to try and catch up, because it has not been able to get consistent stops defensively. CBA just needs to be patient, make free throws and take care of the ball.
Updated 6:59 p.m.
A jumper by Brian Neller just put CBA up 47-36 with 6:09 left in the game, and Freehold’s best chance to chip away now is at the free throw line as it is in the bonus with 6 minutes to go.
Updated 6:55 p.m.
Freehold’s Andrew Gerbehy just drained a 3-pointer for his first field goal of the game to cut CBA’s lead to 45-36 with 7:14 left in the game and Freehold had a chance to cut it even further but missed two point-blank attempts.
Updated 6:53 p.m.
Roy Mabrey’s putback with two seconds left in the quarter gave CBA a 45-33 lead at the end of the third quarter. Mabrey has three fouls, but that’s about the only thing going wrong for the Colts right now. Pat Light and Mabrey each had 6 points in the quarter.
Updated 6:49 p.m.
CBA leads 41-30 with 1:21 left in the third quarter, as Freehold has dug itself a decent-sized hole going into the fourth quarter. The Colts have focused on using their size advantage and it is wearing Freehold down. Meanwhile, Freehold’s offense has stagnated and is just becoming Andrew Gerbehy or Lance McKenzie trying to take his man off the dribble while everyone else stands around and watches.
Updated 6:47 p.m.
CBA leads 41-28 with 1:40 left in the third quarter as it is starting to pound it inside with Matt McMullen and Pat Light. Also, Freehold’s Christian Garcia just picked up his third foul and had to hit the bench.
Updated 6:43 p.m.
CBA is piling up fouls, but Freehold has not been able to take advantage as it trails 36-26 with 3:30 left in the third quarter. Neller is doing a solid defensive job on Gerbehy, showing he is more than just a scorer.
Updated 6:39 p.m.
CBA has started the second half on an 8-0 run for a 36-24 lead and Pat Light has really picked it up along with Roy Mabrey. Light is really hurting them inside as you can tell there is more emphasis on getting it in the paint. For Freehold, Andrew Gerbehy is struggling right now and has to get on track offensively for them to have a chance. He has one point.
Updated 6:25 p.m.
CBA leads 28-24 at the half after a putback by Travis Farrell with 4 seconds left in the second quarter. Freehold has a great deal of momentum heading into the half despite Farrell’s bucket as the Colonials ran right through CBA’s defense in the latter half of the second quarter. Pat Light and Travis Farrell each have 7 points at the half for CBA, while Christian Garcia had 14 and Brandon Brown has 11 for Freehold at the break. Garcia is a step quicker off the dribble and off his feet for offensive rebounds against CBA’s Matt McMullen. Brown has done a good job of getting runouts for lay-ups in transition for his baskets and going hard to the rim.
CBA got away from pounding it in inside, so look for that in the second half. When they threw it into Pat Light, good things happened almost every time. For Freehold, they need to keep CBA off the offensive glass. The Colts scored 9 of their points on offensive rebounds.
Updated 6:23 p.m.
Freehold has all the momentum right now after having cut the lead to 26-24 with 28 seconds left in the half, as the Colonials have showed they are not backing down after trailing by as many as 11 in this quarter.
Updated 6:18 p.m.
CBA is letting Freehold hang around as they lead 24-18 with 3:58 left in the half after threatening to break the game open early in the quarter. Christian Garcia is keeping Freehold in it as he has all 7 of their points in this quarter.
Updated 6:11 p.m.
CBA leads Freehold 19-11 after the first quarter, with Roy Mabrey and Brian Neller each scoring 5 points for the Colts. CBA is shooting well from the perimeter, which doesn’t bode well for Freehold. The Colts ended the quarter on an 8-0 run and Freehold’s offense has stagnated into one-on-one play and turnovers.
Updated 6:07 p.m.
Travis Farrell just shot a brick that banked in for a 3-pointer for CBA, so you know things are going well for the Colts as they lead 17-11 with 1:40 left in the first quarter. Neller and Farrell have hit back-to-back threes after Freehold switched from man-to-man to zone.
Updated 6:02 p.m.
The game is tied 9-9 with 3:52 left in the 1st Q and Freehold is getting some surprisingly easy looks offensively. Brian Neller is on Freehold’s Andrew Gerbehy, which is a match-up to watch. CBA is getting second-shot attempts, which is a bad sign for Freehold. As I thought, Freehold has put Brandon Brown on Neller.
Updated 5:35 p.m.
Before we get to the tip-off, a few quick tidbits from the non-SCT action and some other stuff. First, it looks like Monmouth senior guard Anthony Gibson could be headed to Division II Caldwell College, but nothing is in stone yet as he also has some other Division II schools swirling around. Gibson also will be playing in the state Senior All-Star Game in late March along with CBA senior Brian Neller.
Also, I’ve now gotten word that CBA guard Adam Spengler will be good to go from his wrist injury and will play in CBA’s first state playoff game. Former CBA legendary coach Ed Wicelinski is also in the house tonight as he just walked in a few minutes ago to see his old squad coached by his former player, Geoff Billet.
A few quick non-SCT things. It’s been a tough couple days for Ocean County, as Brick Memorial lost to St. John Vianney, Monsignor Donovan lost to Shore Regional, Southern lost at the buzzer to Marlboro and Point Boro lost to Red Bank in the past few days. There may not be an Ocean County school in the Top 10 when I put out the new one after Saturday’s SCT final before the state playoffs kick off.
Marlboro, by the way, won 8 of 10 to finish the season 10-14. That’s a good job by coach Mark Migliori and the Mustangs’ seniors because this team could’ve packed it in once it realized it wasn’t qualifying for the postseason, but they finished strong in under-the-radar fashion. With high-scoring guard Andrew Goldstein back next season, they look to continue trying to make progress in Class A North.