At first blush, it would be easy to think the Long Branch wrestling team is having a down year, given the Green Wave’s 4-6 record.
To make that assumption, however, would be to underestimate Long Branch. The Green Wave, sitting in second place in Shore Conference Class B North, has talented and experienced wrestlers throughout its lineup, and its losses have been to tough competition. Coach Dan George did not enter Long Branch in the Shore Conference Tournament – which will make for a very odd situation as Long Branch, the SCT champion from 2008 to 2010, is hosting the semifinals and final on Saturday. The state team tournament begins next week, and the qualifying cutoff is Saturday. Losses in the SCT could have been costly as the Wave tries to qualify. The state sectionals begin Feb. 6.
Long Branch has been able to count on Luke Balina, Nick George, Jake George and Alberto Plaza much of the season, and those four may find themselves in Atlantic City come March.
In boys basketball: The Green Wave (7-8) is hanging in despite a tough schedule. Long Branch has suffered two straight losses – to Neptune, 57-43, and to Barnegat on Wednesday, 58-48. Those came on the heels of a 44-33 victory over Red Bank Catholic, where Terrence Cox scored 17 points. Cox has been a key for the Green Wave all season, pouring in 19 points in the loss to Barnegat. Long Branch plays Central on Thursday at 5:30 and has games against Colts Neck and Ocean next week.
In girls basketball: Long Branch has struggled through a tough season with a schedule that includes heavy hitters such as Red Bank Catholic and Neptune. The Green Wave (3-13) fell to Barnegat 53-39 on Wednesday. Alexis McCammon had 10 points against the Bengals, and the Wave have had contributions from Megan Cerruti, Jah’Asia Smith and Tamyca Goff this season.