Ocean Township – Ocean Township junior guard Eli Clark powered the Spartans to a 43-15 win over Raritan in the opening round of the Blue Devil Holiday Tournament. Clark had 16 points, one rebound, one block, four assists and four steals in the win that propelled Ocean to a 4-0 record.
Ocean entered the tournament as the number two seed in the Patricia A. Delehanty bracket. Raritan, seventh seed, was their opponent. Michael Lazur, head coach of the Spartans, has to be pleased with this year’s squad. “These girls have been playing together since they were young. Most of them are playing on high level AAU teams together,” said Lazur. He added, when the team that much ability, it makes his job of focusing on bigger issues easier. “The girls have a strong understanding of the fundamentals, so we can work on the higher aspects of the game.”
It was evident during the Raritan game as the Spartans could dribble, run, pass, rebound, and hit from all over the floor. Going into the halftime break, Ocean had a 28-2 lead. The only points scored by Raritan were two foul shots in the second quarter.
Kayden Clark, sophomore and younger sister to Eli, scored 8 points, had 4 rebounds, and 1 assist in the win. Three Spartans all finished with four-points, Gamila Betton, Ave and Sofia Chebookjian.
Shore Regional High School is the site of the tournament that has 15 teams from around the state competing in two brackets. William Wishart, head coach of the Blue Devils is also the Tournament Chief Operating Officer. With the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, he decided to name the two brackets after two of the “trailblazing women from Shore Regional.”
Nancy Williams is a graduate of Shore Regional High School Class of 1966 and Trenton State College. She returned to the Blue Devils upon receiving her degree and began one of the most successful coaching careers nationwide. Williams has coached swimming, basketball, track and field, softball and most notably field hockey. Over her career at Shore she has a win/loss record of 1,073-250-45. She has won a total of 9 state championships, 20 Central Jersey championships, 52 divisional championships and 10 Shore Conference Titles.
All those titles were not just in field hockey. As a basketball coach she had two Shore Conference Championships and four divisional titles. In softball, she had 14 divisional titles, 4 Central Jersey Group Titles and 3 Shore Conference Titles and a 1988 State Championship. As a track coach from 1971-1974 her teams won 3 Divisional Titles and a 1972 State Championship.
In field hockey, Williams had 28 consecutive Division Titles, 7 NJSIAA State Titles, 13 Central Jersey Group Titles, and has coached 7 All-Americans and has the winningest field hockey record in the nation at 476-45-45.
Patricia A. Delehanty, also known as “Ladybug” was a 1978 graduate of Shore. She is the all-time scorer for either male or female with 2,534 points. What is amazing, this was all done before the 3-point shot was included in high school hoops. Delehanty also had 1,500 rebounds during her time as a Blue Devil.
During her four years on varsity at Shore, her teams went 74-17. She was named All-County, All-Shore in all four years of her high school career. She was even featured in Sports Illustrated Magazine. In 1977, she scored her 2,000th point, the first female in New Jersey to achieve that goal. Her uniform number was retired by the Shore Regional Board of Education.
Delehanty received a full scholarship to Rutgers University, where she scored over 1,000 points. She set a single game scoring record of 35 points, and also set a school record for playing in 121 games. She led Rutgers to their first ever A.I.A.W. National Championship.
After graduation, she was an assistant coach at Wagner College. William Patterson College hired her as head coach in 1986, until 1992. She was also named Conference Coach of the Year. She returned to Shore as their head coach for two season before getting hired at Kean University where she recorded her 100th win as a college coach. Today, she can be found at the Long Branch Middle School where she teaches physical education.