The Ranney School pulled off a hat trick, and in the process, won its first Shore Conference Tournament championship in boys’ basketball.
Ranney defeated rival Mater Dei Prep for the third time in as many meetings this winter when it scored a 52-28 victory in the Shore Conference Tournament championship game that was played at Monmouth University in West Long Branch on Feb. 24.
The result gave the school from Tinton Falls its first Shore Conference Tournament title in its first appearance in the championship game.
In the opener of the Shore Conference Tournament championship doubleheader at Monmouth’s Gaffney Court, Manasquan High School matched Ranney’s dominance with its convincing 70-52 victory over Saint John Vianney High School in the girls’ title game.
Ranney (24-4), the top seed and ranked fourth in the state poll, struck fast when it stormed to a 10-0 lead to open the game. Ranney eventually built a 32-10 advantage at halftime behind the scoring of Scottie Lewis. The star junior forward connected on 14 of his team-high 15 points over the first two quarters. Lewis also finished the game with 11 rebounds.
Also contributing to that crucial first half was Ahmadu Sarnor, who clicked for seven points. The junior guard matched Lewis with a team-leading 15 points by the end of the contest. Ranney’s other standout, junior guard Bryan Antoine, produced 10 points.
Second-seeded Mater Dei (21-5), which is ranked No. 13 in the state, was bidding to win its third straight Shore Conference Tournament championship and avenge its two defeats this winter to Ranney: 59-45 on Jan. 11 and 65-61 on Feb. 5.
Senior guard Kenneth Jones scored 10 points to lead Mater Dei.
Manasquan (24-2), the second seed in the girls’ field and ranked No. 2 in the state, was sparked by its all-state senior, Dara Mabrey, who pumped in 33 points.
Manasquan pulled away to a 49-34 lead entering the fourth quarter after it had delivered an 18-9 showing in the third quarter.
The conference title is Manasquan’s fifth and first since it won a second straight crown in 2015. Manasquan also used the victory to avenge its losses to Saint John Vianney in both the 2016 Shore Conference Tournament and NJSIAA Tournament of Champions title games.
Top-seeded Saint John Vianney, which is ranked No 1 in New Jersey, was seeking its 14th Shore Conference Tournament championship after the Lady Lancers were defeated by Saint Rose High School in the 2017 finale.
Saint John Vianney knocked out Saint Rose, 39-37, in the semifinals of this year’s tournament.
Against Manasquan, senior Madie Doring registered 17 points and junior Sajada Bonner dropped in 16 points to pace Saint John Vianney in the loss.