MANASQUAN – There was plenty of praise to go around.
Manasquan’s Ryan Jensen dominated on the inside, Luke O’Shaughnessy shut down Bordentown’s best player and Aidan McMenaman kept Bordentown’s best outside shooter from taking over the game from long range.
Just glance down the Manasquan roster from Monday night’s 61-45 victory over Bordentown in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II final and you could find a player that had a huge contribution before a packed gymnasium at Manasquan High School.
“Our game plan was to play defense and rebound. And we knew if we could shut them down and rebound, there was no chance of them winning this game,” Jensen said. “I’ve never seen this gym more packed than it was on Monday night. To have the town and the fans behind you, I knew we weren’t going to lose the game on Monday night.”
Simply put, it was a complete team win any way you dissect it.
“I was concerned about their dribble penetration. And Bordentown’s Darnil Brown had 63 three-pointers on the year that come off dribble penetration,” Manasquan coach Andrew Bilodeau said. “Other than that, I thought we could beat them on the boards and I thought Luke O’Shaughnessy did a super job of stopping Bordentown’s (best player) Myron Gordon from getting his feet in the lane and Aidan McMenaman did a great job faceguarding (their outside shooter) Darnil Brown.”
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Bordentown’s Gordon, who was averaging about 25 points per game in the NJSIAA tournament, finished with 10 points and Brown had two points. Meanwhile, Jensen, O’Shaughnessy and McMenaman led the total team effort in a variety of ways.
Jensen had 14 points, 18 rebounds, four steals and four blocks. O’Shaughnessy had five points and seven assists and McMenaman added nine points.
“Tonight, we played man-to-man 90 percent of the time. We showed a little zone and they hit a couple of three-pointers and then we played a little triangle-and-two,” Bilodeau said. “We played two possessions of triangle-and-two.”
And No. 8 seed Bordentown (24-6) was baffled all night by the offense and the defense that No. 2 seed Manasquan (22-6) exhibited on Monday night.
That complete team effort equaled six Manasquan players scoring in Monday night’s game with Kyle Bradshaw leading the way with 14 of his game-high 23 points in the second half and that culminated in the Warriors winning their first sectional title since 2009 and the school’s fourth overall (1955, 2004, 2009 and 2015).
“Tonight’s sectional title wasn’t more significant than the one in 2009 but what was more important tonight was that so many of our former players were here tonight,” said Bilodeau, who won his first sectional title at Manasquan in 2009 with a team led by standout player Matt Vadas. “Guys that played here in the program were in the locker room. A couple guys took flights home to be here. That’s means a lot. In that regard, it was significant because it was shared with more people.”
Now, the Warriors turn their attention to South Jersey Group II champion Camden, which defeated Haddonfield, 48-40, on Monday night to win its second straight South Jersey Group II title. Manasquan will play Camden at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 11 at Perth Amboy High School in the Group II state semifinals. The winner of that game advances to Rutgers University to play for the Group II state title on Sunday, March 15.
“We have to tighten up a few more screws on offense and defense for Wednesday night’s game,” Bradshaw said. “But I think we are almost there, we are almost at the peak.”
The game was over when: Manasquan held Bordentown to only two points in the third quarter. The Warriors had a 36-28 lead at halftime and only gave up a field goal to Bordentown’s Brion Teel-Scott (11 points) in the second quarter to have a 44-30 lead after three quarters.
The game ball goes to: Quite frankly. Everyone. But if you have to single out a few players you can’t overlook the job on defense that Luke O’Shaughnessy did on Bordentown’s Myron Gordon, who was averaging almost 25 points a game during the NJSIAA tournament. Gordon had 10 points with eight points coming in the first half. Another game ball has to go to Aidan McMenaman’s ability to faceguard Bordentown’s Darnil Brown, the team’s best outside shooter. Brown didn’t make a three-pointer in the game and was held to only two points, which came on a field goal.
Bordentown had no answer for: Manasquan’s Ryan Jensen, who torched the Scotties for an impressive stat line of 14 points, 18 rebounds, four steals and four blocks. What was more impressive about Jensen’s stat line was the seven offensive rebounds he recorded that kept several plays going for the Warriors.
Sixth man of the night: Without question, Manasquan’s Kyle Bradshaw had one of his best games of the season with his 23 points (three points off from tying his career-high). He scored with his mid-range jumper, he had putbacks and he drove to the basket. And he was clutch at the foul line going 5-for-6. Add in Bradshaw’s two blocks and it was a solid performance from the team’s sixth man.
CENTRAL GROUP II FINAL
Bordentown (45): Gordon 3 4-4 10, Gipson 2 3-3 8, Brown 1 0-0 2, Ansong 5 1-3 11, Teel-Scott 5 0-0 11, Giorgianni 0 0-0 0, Culda 0 0-0 0, Nemeth 1 0-0 3, Chiszar 0 0-0 0, Basil 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 8-10 45.
Manasquan (61): Jensen 3 8-10 14, J. Sheehan 2 4-5 9, Paturzo 0 1-2 1, McMenaman 3 0-0 9, O’Shaughnessy 1 3-4 5, Bradshaw 9 5-6 23, T. Sheehan 0 0-0 0, Flanagan 0 0-0 0, McAllister 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 21-27 61
3-point goals: (B) Gipson, Teel-Scott; (M) J. Sheehan, McMenaman 3. Records: Bordentown (24-6), Manasquan (22-6).
Sherlon Christie: email@example.com