Lakewood and Red Bank Catholic drew the No. 1 rankings when the Shore Conference boys and girls basketball tournaments were seeded Sunday morning at Holmdel High School.
As expected on the boys side, the top five seeds were No. 1 Lakewood, No. 2 Point Beach, No. 3 Manasquan, No. 4 Colts Neck and No. 5 Toms River North.
Overall, 28 boys teams qualified for the SCT and the top four seeds will get byes for Tuesday’s first round while No. 5 seed Toms River North, the Class A South champion, will host No. 28 seed Keansburg on Thursday. The Mariners have never won the SCT and were last in the final in 1996.
Colts Neck is last year’s SCT runner-up and the Cougars will host the winner of Tuesday’s first round game between No. 20 seed Middletown South and No. 13 seed Southern Regional on Thursday.
Lakewood, which hasn’t been in the SCT final since 1995 and hasn’t won the SCT since 1991 and was the last Ocean County team to win the SCT, will face the winner of Tuesday’s game between No. 17 seed Middletown North and No. 16 seed Wall on Thursday.
Point Beach, which has never won the SCT but last made it to the final in 1963, will face the winner of Tuesday’s game between No. 18 seed Toms River North and No. 15 seed and defending SCT champion Neptune on Thursday.
Manasquan, which hasn’t been in the SCT final since 2005 and hasn’t won it since 1957, will get the winner of Tuesday’s game between No. 19 seed Brick Memorial and No. 14 seed Long Branch on Thursday.
All higher seeded teams will host games on the boys and girls side on Tuesday, Feb. 12 and Thursday, Feb. 14. The tournament moves to a neutral site — Brookdale Community College — for the girls quarterfinals on Saturday, Feb. 16 and the same site for the boys quarterfinals on Sunday, Feb. 17.
On Tuesday, Feb. 19, the girls semifinals will be at Brookdale and on Wednesday, Feb. 20, the boys semifinals will be at Brookdale. The SCT finals are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23 at Monmouth University with the girls game at 1 p.m. and the boys game at 3 p.m.
On the girls side, seeding went largely as expected with Class A Central champion Red Bank Catholic being awarded the No. 1 seed. The Caseys are 19-1 with the one loss coming to Staten Island power Moore Catholic.
Dealing with injury and a large youth movement for much of the regular season, St. John Vianney is the No. 2 seed after a 13-8 regular season that saw the Lancers play arguably the toughest schedule in the Shore Conference. That slate included a 51-42 victory over No. 3 seed Point Boro back on Jan. 19.
At 21-1, the Class B South-champion Panthers used wins over Rumson-Fair Haven, Middletown South, Archbishop Molloy of Queens and two decisions over Monsignor Donovan to secure that third seed.
Class A North champion Middletown South is the No. 4 seed, Rumson-Fair Haven is No. 5, Holmdel is sixth and undefeated Class B Central champion Point Beach is seventh.
Where the Garnet Gulls would fall commanded much of the attention in the days and weeks leading up to Sunday’s seeding after a largely-soft schedule propelled them to a 19-0 record.
The last girls team to enter the SCT unbeaten was Neptune in 2009. The Scarlet Fliers entered at 22-0 and were awarded the No. 3 seed before going on to win the event for the first time since 1989.