Imagine this situation.
Point Beach had no timeouts remaining with 56.6 seconds left and to that point all five starters had played the whole game. The Garnet Gulls trailed by one point after calling their final timeout.
Point Beach’s Matt Farrell then goes coast to coast for a layup with 45 seconds left. Manasquan’s JR Hobbie, a 90-percent free throw shooter, missed the front end of a one-and-one with 18.1 seconds left and then Point Beach junior center Dominique Uhl, a 67-percent free throw shooter, made two free throws with 15.7 left.
That would end the scoring as No. 2 seed Point Beach rallied for a dramatic 50-47 victory over No. 3 seed Manasquan in a Shore Conference Tournament semifinal game at Brookdale Community College on Wednesday night.
“It wasn’t my night and I kind of felt that way. So, it just tells you about my team,” said junior guard Matt Farrell, who finished with eight points. “Dominique Uhl and Riley Calzonetti had good nights and we knew we had mismatches in the post so we wanted to pound the ball inside.”
That victory put the Garnet Gulls (22-2) into the SCT final for the first time since 1963. Point Beach has never won the SCT, but with great execution in the final 56.6 seconds on Wednesday night, the Garnet Gulls will get that opportunity on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. against No. 1 seed Lakewood at Monmouth University.
“That’s when we told our guys that all of our hard work in practice and in the offseason, it is going to pay off right now. We are going to come out and get stops and we are not losing this game,” Point Beach coach Nick Catania said. “And that’s what they did. They came out and got stops and Farrell did a great job on Manasquan’s JR Hobbie (in the second half) because Hobbie was unconscious in the first half.”
Hobbie had one of the best games of his high school career. He scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the first half while not missing a field goal. He was 7-for-7 from the field in the first half and five of those shots were 3-pointers.
“There were a few plays down the stretch that we didn’t execute. We were up three points in the fourth quarter and we had a few possessions in a row that we didn’t execute anything,” Hobbie said. “At the end of the game, I missed some foul shots and I made some bad plays. We have to bounce back and look forward to the state tournament.”
For the game, Hobbie was 9-for-11 from the field and 7-for-9 from 3-point range but was only 1-for-3 from the foul line. He did get one more chance to at least tie the game. With 5.9 seconds left, Manasquan inbounded the ball and got it to Hobbie, he fired up a shot just before halfcourt that hit the right side of the backboard before falling to the ground as the buzzer sounded.
Point Beach’s Calzonetti scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the second half with seven of his points coming in the third quarter. Uhl finished with 10 of his 12 points in the first half, Noah Yates finished with seven points and PJ Kineavy had six points.
Manasquan’s Jimmy Walsh finished with 15 points and 20 rebounds and is only 18 shy of 1,000 for his career.
“I thought we played well but at times. We just couldn’t finish and we made uncharacteristic errors for us down the stretch,” Manasquan coach Andrew Bilodeau said. “We’ll bounce right back and be ready to go in the state tournament.”