What is done is done, as in BACK TO BACK SCT TITLES BY MANASQUAN. There are no more debates and no more guessing needed. Manasquan is the best team in the Shore Conference and they did it, not with a wishbone, but rather a BACKBONE.
Manasquan started the season out by beating a senior laden RFH team and they needed a great deal of backbone that night. Marina Mabrey carried them most of the night. But it was a group of new players STEPPING UP into prime time roles that showed real backbone. Most were playing for the first time on a big stage in their first real important game. They proved they could be counted on all year as Manasquan defeated RFH.
When Manasquan lost to SJV on the road there backbone could have been broken. This was a chance for in fighting and jealously to raise it’s ugly head. Instead it harden there backbone as a group. They adjusted and came together as a team. They took a look in the mirror and realized it was not going to be a cake walk.
It was that backbone, that allowed them to beat RFH a 2nd time when it appeared they had lost. It was that backbone that allowed them to beat St. John Vianney by 25 points in the re-match. It took real backbone to lose there #1 ranking for a 2nd time only to come back and beat St. Rose when it counted MOST.
Lisa Kukoda has now won 2 SCT TITLES and been to a TOC final in her three years. She might be the only coach to win a SCT as a player and coach. Do you know any coach in the Shore who has started there coaching career in such grand fashion? But Lisa needed a big backbone to achieve such heights. She need the backbone not be heavy handed with her star player, when others were shouting for her to do so. She needed the courage to believe in Gillian Black (https://nothingbutskills.com/gillian-miss-under-appreciated-black/) when most had forgotten about her. She needed to let Galvan sit and watch as a freshman and then give her the total trust Victoria Galvan so desperately needed this year. Coach Kukoda had to bring her star Freshman Dara Mabrey into her team mix without disrespecting her freshman star from a year ago, Stellar Clark. She had to make sure Addie Masonious and Alex Kurtz felt loved and a real part of the big picture. Lisa Kukoda gave her team backbone by doing one thing…SHE DIDN’T PLAY TO THE CROWD! She played to her kids and there happiness….she had the strongest BACKBONE of all!
The backbone of any team starts with its best player. Marina Mabrey has a backbone nobody can question. She has been a leader and big game player all year. She never let negativity or DISAPPOINTMENT effect her or more importantly her teammates. She understood her teammates where never given their due. So she gave it to them. She took over when she needed but allowed her teammates to shine when they needed to. She took pride in watching Courtney Hagaman prove to the world she is a real talent when it matters. Marina leaves the Shore as one of the three greatest players EVER. If not for a backbone made of concrete, we never get to see any of this the past two years. Because it took true backbone for her to return to Manasquan and teach her teammates what REAL winning looks and feels like. She swallowed her ego….because she had REAL COURAGE AND BACKBONE.
Manasquan has done it won back to back titles and it has not been easy. They were a little mentally tougher than the rest. Manasquan had more BACKBONE than everyone else and now they are in the history books…they are part of that rare BACK TO BACK CLUB…..
THE 2014-15 FINAL RANKING
Let me say this before I give you the final ranking. One I do not include the states in my final RANKING. I also don’t care about the reputations of schools or the eye test when it comets to head to head competition. The games are played on the court and nothing trumps head to head competition.
I also would like to say the bottom half of the Top Ten is loaded folks. Playing in the Shore Conference is a different animal and most of the bottom half would win many other high school conferences.
My two biggest decisions was what to do with the 5th spot and 8th spot. Rumson and Neptune both had monster years. Both are ranked in the state. Both came very close to having dreams seasons. A basket here and there and RFH is the team of the year. Neptune showed against Manasquan on a big stage they are real. My decision came down to two things. One team had a monster win late and the other team has struggled down the stretch.
The 8th spot simply came down to head to head competition. It was easy picking 9. But 8 came down to one team advancing in the SCT and while the other team played well, it did not advance.
FINAL TOP 10 RANKING
1. MANASQUAN– Back to back CHAMPS
2. ST. ROSE- A dream season comes up a little short
3. ST. JOHN’S VIANNEY- a TOC title could soften the blow
4. MIDDLETOWN SOUTH– Good Coaching and good kids go far
5. NEPTUNE– Bacon and ALLEN led the way all year
6. RUMSON-another TOP 20 season in the bank.
7. HOLMDEL- Most could not have survived there schedule
8. FREEHOLD TWP– They finally got a big one
9. MARLBORO – The surprise team of the year
10. RBC- the babies grew up and next year..SCT #7 is REAL POSSIBLE
Tomorrow- SPORTSMANSHIP OF THE YEAR (MY FAVORITE BY FAR)
Academic Elite March 27, we will take the first 96 players from across the state… http://hoopgroup.com/camps-clinics/new-jersey-girls-academic-elite/