"I was glad I was able to make the free throws for my team."
Top-seeded Kingsway improved to 23-5, and second-seeded Manchester fell to 17-8.
Kingsway is scheduled to play the winner of Burlington Township–Colts Neck in a state semifinal Thursday at Winslow Township.
"There's nobody more that I would want in that situation and nobody who deserves it more than Kyler Grigsby," Kingsway coach George Passante said about his point guard, who scored six points.
"He guards the point guard, best player, whoever it is every game. He's the first one here and last one to leave. He's the all-American kid."
The game-high scorer with 25 points, Rondell Gilmore-Lane, said the same thing about his teammate: With the game on the line, Grigsby should have the ball.
However, it was senior Gilmore-Lane who did the most damage when he had the ball in his hands. The 6-1 guard had three fouls when he started the third quarter with his team down, 26-21. But he launched a three-pointer on the first shot of the second half to pull the Dragons within two points.
Gilmore-Lane, who started in all three sectional-title games, nailed five threes in the second half to fuel his team against a Manchester Township squad that had height, athleticism, and quickness, and had hit five three-pointers before intermission.
But there was another hero.
Senior Troy Jenkins tapped in a rebound to give Kingsway its first lead since the beginning of the game, 47-46, with 2 minutes, 32 seconds left as the crowd roared.
Jenkins, the third returnee from those other two title teams, ended with eight points.
"We settled down in the second half, we valued the basketball a little more, and we came out with a victory," Passante said.
Led by Nate Nickens, a 6-5 senior forward, and guard Mason Jones, the Hawks sprinted to a 12-point lead early in the third period. Gilmore-Lane led the assault that drew the Dragons to within 47-43.
"We had to get stops [defensively]," Passante said. "We had to find a way to stop Nickens. So we started fronting a little better and our weak-side help did a great job to the point where they couldn't throw the ball in."
That Jones, who had scored 15 points, fouled out with 20.9 seconds remaining also helped Kingsway's cause.
Manchester Twp. 13 13 14 8 – 48
Kingsway 13 8 16 12 – 49
MT: Monwell Brown 6, DeJuan Barlow 7, Nate Nickens 16, DeAndre Little 4, Mason Jones 15.
K: Jaysen Conway 2, Jordan Fagan 8, Rondell Gilmore-Lane 25, Kyler Grigsby 6, Troy Jenkins 8.
Contact staff writer Bill Iezzi
at 856-779-3826 or firstname.lastname@example.org.