We have Manasquan vs. Camden in the Group II semifinals on the boys side and a rematch of a Group III semifinal from last season when Neptune’s girls face Ocean City down at Deptford High School on the other end of civilization.
Manasquan’s game will come down to how well the interior players like Neal Sterling, Zach Rodgers and Rob Forst play for the Warriors. Camden is a guard-oriented team led by standout guard Aaron Walton-Moss, and you can expect to see junior guard Matt Vadas be surrounded by a million defenders. Camden is going to press full court and push the pace relentlessly. Manasquan has to hurt them on the offensive glass and make them pay for leaking out for fast breaks, and it has to handle the pressure to get it over half court and then pound it inside to the big men. This would be a great win for the Warriors, who are the underdogs in this one. I will have live updates from this game as long as the set-up (i.e., Internet connection, etc.) is OK.
As for the girls, I think Neptune knocks off Ocean City. Last season, the Fliers were just happy to be there and their big-game inexperience showed in a hail of turnovers and poor execution on offense. This is a whole different team this season, and Ocean City likes to run up and down the floor quickly. I think that is playing right into this team’s hands because if Shakena Richardson gets into the open floor regularly, there is no one on Ocean City who can stop her. The Fliers just have to keep Ocean City forward Kelly Brady off the boards, which will be Marley Mauvais’ job, and then pressure the daylights out of their guards to get turnovers and easy points. Shannon Lane had a big game against Manchester and I saw her last year, she is a solid player for Ocean City. I just don’t think Ocean City has enough offense to keep up if this game gets into a track meet.
The reason this blog post is a little late today is because my camera was stolen/taken last night after the Neptune game at Franklin and I had to scramble to get another one for tonight. I called the school and they said they do not have it, so if anyone reads this and has the camera, if you return it, I will not ask any questions or if you know who has it, I will give you a reward. Not only am I out a camera, but it had the highlights and photos from the Neptune and Asbury Park wins on it so you are also screwing over the players. So please, if you have it, just e-mail me at email@example.com.
One final baseball note before I get ready to leave for Perth Amboy and the Manasquan game in a little while. Toms River South senior pitcher Tyler Gebler, one of the state’s top returning players and a Rutgers recruit, has been selected to the 2009 Preseason Louisville High School All-American second team as selected by the staff at Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, so congrats to Gebler.