2018-19 SHORE CONFERENCE BOYS AND GIRLS BASKETBALL HIGHLIGHTS
By Mike Ready
RED BANK – It turned out to be a banner year for both girls and boys basketball teams this year as the Shore Conference once again asserted itself as one of the premier conferences within the state of New Jersey.
The Ranney School tops the list of top achieving schools in the 2018-19 season after a historic run to the Tournament of Champions championship, becoming the first team in Shore Conference history to capture that title. The Panthers (31-3) defeated Bergen Catholic, 67-63, in the final finishing ranked No.1 in the state and 11th in the USA Today’s Top 25.
Both Ranney stars Brian Antoine (Villanova University) and Scottie Lewis (University of Florida) were named to the McDonald’s All-American team, becoming the second and third players in Shore Conference history to achieve that honor. It was only the second time in the 42-year history of the Classic that two players from the same team were selected.
Antoine became the Shore Conference’s all-time leading scorer with 2,514 career points and ranks 19th on New Jersey’s all-time career scoring list. Lewis finished his illustrious career with 1,795 points and if it weren’t for an injury in his junior year, he most certainly would’ve eclipsed the 2000-point mark as well.
Ranney went undefeated in the Class B Central to win at least of piece of the division for the third-straight year and repeated as both the Shore Conference Tournament and NJSIAA Non-Public B champions.
Division winners included CBA in the Class A North, Manasquan in the Class A Central, Toms River North in the Class A South, Wall in the Class B North and Jackson Liberty in the Class B South.
Including Ranney, four Shore Conference teams won sectional titles: Manasquan (29-4) captured the Central Jersey Group II title, Wall (21-9) Central Jersey Group III and Freehold Township (24-5) the Central Jersey Group IV title.
It was the Patriots’ first sectional title in program history after advancing to the final on six different occasions, while Wall won its first sectional title since 1973. For the Warriors, they capped a dominant playoff run to win their second sectional title in four years.
However, both Wall and Manasquan fell in the Group semifinals, while Freehold Township lost to Newark East Side in the Group IV final.
On Jan. 25, Middletown North’s Rob Higgins became the eighth member of the Shore Conference’s 2000-point club when he scored 37 points and closed out his stellar career scoring 2,209 points.
Jackson Liberty’s Dan Sofield’s illustrious career ended with him scoring 1,824 points, including averaging 27 points per game this season.
The following players all eclipsed the 1,000-point career mark this season: Josh Cohen (CBA), Matt Ganter (Howell), Stephen Braunstein (CBA), Dylan Kaufman (Marlboro), Brad McCabe (Manasquan), Jack Miller (Ocean), Ian O’Connor (Rumson-Fair Haven), Chris Panduri (Shore Regional), Shane Williams (Brick) and Dwaine Jones (Neptune).
The team of the year has to be Manchester Township, but St. Rose wasn’t far behind as they once again asserted themselves as one of the top programs in the state.
Manchester (32-3) completed the best season in program history, winning the Class B South division championship, the Shore Conference Tournament, their third straight South Jersey Group II title and the first Group II championship in program history.
They also routed Mainland, 74-54, in the quarterfinals of their first trip to the Tournament of Champions before suffering a tough, 65-57, setback to Saddle River Day in the semifinals.
During the season, both West Virginia-bound Leilani Correa and Kemari Reynolds topped the 1,000-point career point scoring mark to cap off their fabulous careers.
Manchester finished ranked No. 1 in the Shore and third in the state.
After capturing the Class A Central divisional championship, St. Rose (28-3) went on to win its second straight NJSIAA Non-Public South A title, beating rival Saint John Vianney, 60-54, before getting by Immaculate Heart, 45-42, to capture its second straight Non-Public A championship.
They then went on to beat University, 61-45, in the quarterfinals of the Tournament of Champions before pushing eventual champions Franklin to the limit in a 55-50 semifinal loss.
First-team All-Shore selection Brynn Farrell – only a junior – picked up her 1,000th career point during the season for the Purple Roses, who finished ranked No. 2 in the Shore and fourth in the state.
Middletown South (24-6) secured the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV championship, beating division rival Marlboro, 80-77, before suffering a close 51-47 setback to Lenape in the Group IV semifinal.
Manasquan (22-7) also took home a sectional title, easily handling Rumson-Fair Haven, 60-38, to take the Central Jersey Group II crown, but fell to Manchester, 64-48, in the Group II semifinal.
Division champions included: Marlboro (A North), St. Rose (A Central), Toms River North (A South), Saint John Vianney (B North), Trinity Hall (B Central) and Manchester (B South).
Led by first-year head coach Matt McCarthy, Trinity Hall’s divisional title was the first in program history.
The following girls passed the 1,000 point career scoring mark this season: Brielle Bisogno (TRN), Kamryn Lister (TRE), Morgan Bartlett (Ocean), Gianna Piccini (Keyport), Loyla Mullaney (Manasquan), Jenna Paul (TRN), Gisella Romeo (Marlboro) and Isla Brennan (Middletown South).
University of Maryland-bound Faith Masonius became the fourth player in Manasquan history to score 2,000 points and the 11th member of the 2,000-point club in Shore Conference history. Earlier this season she recorded her 1,000th rebound and will go down as one of the Shore Conference’s all-time greats.
After scoring 442 points while averaging 16.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals for Colts Neck this season, Camryn Foltz was named New Jersey’s top junior by NJ.com.