Manasquan junior guard Jack Fay had a career day at the free throw line, senior forward Jimmy Walsh contributed an impressive double-double and senior guard JR Hobbie made several 3-pointers in key moments as the No. 3 Warriors toppled No. 4 Shore Regional, 74-57, in a battle for first place in the Shore Conference Class A Central division on Tuesday evening.
With the victory, Manasquan (16-2, 12-1) clinched at least a share of the Class A Central title and can win the title outright with a victory in its final division game.
Fay helped the Warriors inch closer to that division title with an almost perfect performance at the foul line by shooting 17-for-18. He made the first of two free throws in the first quarter and then made 16 straight free throws between the second and fourth quarters.
“This season I have been so off from the foul line and I have been so inconsistent. Last year, I had a pretty good year at the foul line,” Fay said. “I’ve definitely taken a lot more foul shots in practice this year. Today, I really concentrated. As soon as I got into a groove on the foul line, I was able to knock down shots.”
Overall, Manasquan shot 38-for-45 from the foul line with Fay leading the way by only missing one free throw. Walsh, who finished with 28 points, 23 rebounds and three blocks, praised Fay’s free throw shooting.
“Jack Fay was really clutch tonight. I heard he was 17-for-18,” Walsh said. “That’s ridiculous. He was really good tonight, the outcome would not have been the same tonight without him.”
Fay finished with 19 points, four rebounds and five assists and Hobbie hit two big 3-pointers late in the third quarter to give the Warriors some breathing room as Shore Regional (15-3, 11-2) tried to get back into the game.
Manasquan led 17-8 after the first quarter and 33-18 at halftime. The lead shrunk to 10 points after the third quarter, 50-40, but Shore never took the lead in the second half.
Junior guard Tommy Toole added nine points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals while Hobbie had 16 points, including three 3-pointers, and four assists. Tuesday night’s victory only gave the Warriors a share of the Class A Central title, they can win the title outright with a victory at Raritan on Friday evening.
“It is all about Raritan right now,” Manasquan coach Andrew Bilodeau said. “What we said after the game, is that we are in first place in the division and you have to validate Tuesday night’s win by beating Raritan on Friday.”
The Shore Conference Tournament seeding meeting is on Sunday, Feb. 10 and the cutoff date is Saturday, Feb. 9 and the Warriors have only two games left before the cutoff, the potential Class A Central title clinching game at Raritan on Friday and a big game at No. 8 St. Rose on Saturday afternoon.
“We are going to enjoy Tuesday’s win. We are on an eight game winning streak now but we are going to stay focused. We are not going to overlook Raritan on Friday,” Walsh said. “We also have a big rivalry game with St. Rose on Saturday and we all looking forward to that game too. We are focused as a team and we are ready.”
Shore sophomore guard Kevin Bloodgood scored nine of his team-high 16 points in the second half and sophomore forward Jack Byrne added 12 points. The Blue Devils have lost the regular season series to the Warriors with a 53-48 loss on Jan. 11 at Shore Regional and Tuesday’s night’s loss at Manasquan.