By Walter O’Neill – Manasquan High School is the site for the 55th summer season of the Jersey Shore Basketball League. On Tuesday night, the first of two games featured Larson Ford beating ACI/Robin’s Nest 112-88. Larson Ford is the only original team from the start of the league back in 1968.
Over the past 55 seasons, Larson Ford has 10 JSBL titles. They are followed by Royal Manor/Birch Hill with 7, Sea View Jeep/Sea View Buick with 6, RKE Athletic/Hart’s AC with 5, Jerry Lynch’s with 5, T&T Coast/Royal Bank of Canada with 3, Mini Computer/Phoenix Business Systems with 3, Sterns Trailer with 3, Headliner with 2, USA/LB Financial with 2. The following teams each had one JSBL title; Orthopaedic Institute, Horn Law Group, Cohen’s Optical, Majesco Sales, Bar Anticipation, and Prescription Podiatry.L
Leading Larson Ford this season is Nate Pierre-Louis, a graduate of Roselle Catholic High School and Temple University. Currently, Pierre-Louis is playing professional hoops for the South Bay Lakers in the NBA G League, the minor league organization.
Another big asset for Larson Ford this season is 6’7” 18-year-old high school student Terry Copeland, who will graduate from Bergen Catholic in 2024. He is a dominating presence under the basket, big and physical. However, the biggest man for Larson Ford is 20-year-old Elijah Muhammad, who is 6’11” and from Seton Hall.
Larson Ford is loaded with former and current division1 players and those who are playing professional ball in the United States or overseas. On the other hand, ACI/Robin’s Nest is a team completely made up of players from Brookdale Community College. The group of BCC players at ACI/Robin’s Nest won the 2023 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) title, the third time in the school’s history. They definitely don’t have the big Division 1 or professional experience, but they have desire and teamwork.
ACI/Robin’s Nest actually opened the game on a hot streak, shocking Larson Ford with several quick baskets. The players were fast and very aggressive, but the experience of the Larson Ford players kicked in during the second half.
There were nine lead changes during the game, and ACI/Robin’s Nest had its biggest lead of eight points over Larson Ford in the first half. Larson Ford went on a 15-2 run in the second half which secured their first win of the summer.
Pierre-Lewis was high man with 27 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Jaheim Tanksley finished with 22 points, one rebound and one assist. Denzel Mensah had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Copeland finished with 12 points, three rebounds and one assist.
Leading the ACI/Robin’s Nest squad was Kareem Irby with 19 points and five rebounds. Nick Williams scored 16 points, had six rebounds and two assists. Regan Burke and Jayden Cabrera each had eight points in the loss.
All games are played indoors at Manasquan High School and are free to the public.