To me the Shore Conference Tournament is the highlight of the basketball season for a couple of reasons.  First there is the opportunity to declare yourself the best boys or girls team among the 46 others that are eligible to participate. You always want to “own” the local bragging rights and that’s just what you can do.  Once you get to the state tournament level you are going up against schools that players and students know little about but when it comes to the Shore Conference Tournament it’s like doing battle against your neighbor.

The SCT also often brings out student sections that can provide a true spark for their teams which was on display during Sunday’s boys quarterfinals at Middletown South.  The best example of that was in the CBA-Rumson game during which the bleachers were shaking at times as both groups of students were totally invested in the game.  It was a scene rarely seen during the regular season but one that added to a terrific atmosphere.

We have reached the semifinals in the tournament, which was not held last year because of the pandemic and the action now moves to the RWJBarnabas Health Arena for the duration.  The girls take the court tonight with top seed and overwhelming favorite St. John Vianney playing Rumson at 5pm before Red Bank Catholic takes on Manasquan.

The boys semi’s are Thursday and could be epic.  #1 ranked Red Bank Catholic hooks up with Manasquan in the 5pm opener and then WOBM Christmas Classic champion Marlboro with its high-octane attack meets CBA.  The semifinal winners from both nights clash Sunday in a championship doubleheader in Toms River at 1 & 3pm.

Be advised there will be no advance ticket sales and no streaming.

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