For the South River boys’ basketball team, it has been a magical season, to be sure. But it has been one years in the making.
Once in a while, a group of kids grow up together, play basketball together, and end up doing something special together. Will this be the year?
The last time the Rams were state sectional champions, the first Bush was president, Operation: Desert Storm began, and the Chicago Bulls won their very first NBA Championship.
Yes, that’s a long time ago, but if any group of Rams since then could do it, this is it.
Top-seeded South River (26-3) will face second-seed Manasquan (25-4) Tuesday night at 7:00, in a game you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio beginning with pregame at 6:45. Click here to listen to the broadcast live.
Their work will be cut out for them. While they have gotten amazing play all season long from the brothers Grospe – Jeremy the senior, and Alex the sophomore – as well as Laz Rodriguez, Roman Santos, and more, they will face perhaps the most highly-recruited player they’ve seen all year.
And it’s believed to be the first time South River’s tiny gym has hosted a sectional title game; they used to be played at neutral sites.
Manasquan’s sophomore guard Darius Adams is already on Steve Pikiell’s radar at Rutgers, as he is for Shaheen Holloway at Seton Hall, plus St. John’s, Syracuse and Fordham. And the list will grow bigger as he continues.
In just his second scholastic season, Adams blew right by the 1,000-point mark, and is averaging 20.4 points and 7.6 rebounds a game for the Warriors. And they have balanced scoring throughout the rest of the lineup, which can shoot the ball well from everywhere.
They’ve also had a long run of success. Now in his 15th season, Andrew Bilodeau’s program is 320-83 under his tenure, with eleven 20-plus win seasons, including 31-1 in the 2020 season that was abruptly ended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their final game was a win over Holmdel for the Central Jersey Group 2 title.
Click below from previews from both head coaches of the Central Jersey Group 1 title game: