The Best Teams Ever…

While this year’s Shore Conference may not have a team like the double, double crew (they beat every opponent by double digits) of the Richardson and Davis led Neptune teams, that won back to back TOC and SCT championships. The shore is as deep a group as we have seen in years and loaded with star power.
Some believe Neptune with Davis and Richardson are the best team ever!

When the Star Ledger and Gregg Lerner release their top 20 teams, there is a great chance you will see no less than seven teams in the Top Twenty and get this a possible 3 teams (Manasquan, SJV, RFH) in the top 5. Middletown South, RBC and St. Rose each may also slip into the Top 10. But here is what I find most interesting, Holmdel with four division one players in their starting lineup, just may give the Shore a 7th team in the top 20. Now of course many are claiming this is the deepest the shore has ever been in RECENT YEARS.

Notice I said deepest in recent years, because if you want to know the real history, you need to speak to the Greg Lerner’s and the Paul Talbots of the world. I am a newbie compared to those two who have seen it all. But in the past 12 years I would have to say this may be the deepest group but not the best by a long shot. Just 5 years ago, you had the Richardson and Davis lead Neptune team which some say is the best team in Shore history. You had the Kates Led SJV team, you had the Hampton Clark led Colts Neck team, the Kate Miller led RFH team and finally the Chambers, Clark led St. Rose teams, all trying to win a SCT title.
SJV was a powerhouse and won a TOC title

None of the current top 5 Shore teams compare to these powerhouse teams. To give you an example, the Middletown South team lead by Danielle Pankey and Megan McGuinness was never ranked higher than 6th in the Shore. That team today would be a top 4 team in the Shore. So remember folks the Shore will have some outstanding teams this season, but it’s not the most talented teams as a group; we have ever seen. Timing plays a major role when determining how far your team will go and how much history they will make…. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

When Brooke Hampton and Lauren Clark won the SCT as sophomore’s, people said they would be the greatest group in the history of the shore. But too bad for them another greatest group in the history of the Shore was right behind them…the Kates led SJV crew. The Hampton and Clark crew never won another SCT. When SJV won the TOC as Sophomores, people said they were the greatest group ever, but then another greatest group of All Time showed up, the Davis, Richardson Neptune crew…and SJV never won another TOC…Neptune won back to back TOC’s and SCT titles. You see often times great teams never become great teams because timing is everything!

There is never a sure lock team to win the SCT, just ask the Manasquan team lead by Michaela Mabrey, Katelynn Flaherty, Marina Mabrey, Sam Sullivan and Amanda Hagaman (All division one players). They were supposed to be a lock to win it all, NOBODY had a chance to beat this team. Manasquan did win it all as in the state title, but lost in the SCT final to the Clark, Chambers led St. Rose. Winning the SCT folks just may be harder than winning the State Title. This is why the shore is the best conference in the world of girls’ high school basketball.
St. Rose won the SCT when nobody believed this could!

This year is going to fun because we don’t have a clear cut favorite. What we do have are some super talented teams, led by rock star coaches. George Sourlis, Joe Montano, Dawn Karpell, Tom Brennan, Joe Whalen, Lisa Kokoda all have scary talented teams, all have won state titles. But teams like Holmdel can be major spoilers if they don’t watch out. Freehold Twp. with Harley Kneler back, has studs Tori Wagner and Sam “the closer” Famulare can beat any of the top teams on any given night. Neptune has proven this fall they are a dangerous group. The shore folks are deep and I mean real deep. This is the not the BEST group of teams ever. What we do have is the most interesting group of teams fighting for the title in recent years. In the end, regardless of who wins it, we will not call them the greatest team ever…because again timing is everything Just ask RFH Coach George Sourlis who has never won a SCT, but 4 years ago had 4 Division one starters and thought it was his year…only to have SJV have seven Division one players and Neptune nine.

RBC went undefeated, but rarely is called one of the greatest.

This year’s SCT winner will not be call the best team ever. But we will say to the champion is you earned it, because this year is not going to be a walk in the park for anyone…but it is going to be fun folks!


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