Boys Basketball – 2017-18 All-Shore Team
2017-18 All-Shore Boys Basketball Teams
Teams selected by basketball editor Matt Manley
Bryan Antoine, Jr., Guard, Ranney – Shore Sports Network Player of the Year
Key Stats: 21.4 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 3.1 steals, 58 3-pointers
Signature Game: There were several of them, but it’s hard to top the game Antoine had on Dec. 23 at the City of Palms Classic in Florida. In the consolation bracket championship again Alabama powerhouse Mountain Brook, Antoine scored 36 points to go with eight steals and hit the game-winning shot from halfcourt as time expired to give Ranney the win – capping an 8-for-14 shooting game from the floor and 17-for-19 from the foul line.
Antoine continued to build on his history-making high school career by doing more of what he did in his first two years at Ranney. The now-two-time Shore Sports Network Player of the Year has averaged between 20 and 21.5 points per game in each of his three varsity seasons, with his 21.4 per game this year marking a new career high. The 6-foot-5 swingman eclipsed the 700-point plateau this year, making him one of two players in the conference to do so. His career-best scoring mark also put him over the 1,800-point mark for his career and Antoine will enter next season within 500 points of the all-time Shore Conference scoring record of 2,302.
The raw numbers are both All-Shore and Player-of-the-Year worthy, but Antoine did not skimp in the big games. He was named to the All-Tournament team at the prestigious City of Palms Classic in December, led Ranney to a win over Duke recruit Cam Reddish and Westtown,Pa. while Scottie Lewis was injured, and put up back-to-back 30-plus point games against Mater Dei Prep and Trenton Catholic in the NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public semifinals and final. Against the 22 teams with a winning record on Ranney’s loaded schedule, Antoine averaged 21.8 points, 5.04 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.4 steals – all better than his season averages in each category.
Antoine – who also won the Kerwin Award as the Shore’s top boys basketball player for the first time this season – enters the summer circuit as one of the most sought-after recruits in the country and, along with fellow five-star teammate Scottie Lewis, is expected to make his college choice sometime near the end of the summer.
Scottie Lewis, Jr., Forward, Ranney
Key Stats: 16.4 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.3 blocks
Signature Game: Something about playing Rutgers Prep brings out the beast in Lewis. Like Antoine, Lewis had a number of standout performances, but none greater than his career performance against the Argonauts in the NJSIAA South Non-Public B quarterfinals. He scored a career-high 35 points to go with 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals and four blocks – surpassing his previous career-high of 34 points set during his sophomore, also against Rutgers Prep.
Lewis was his teammates closest competition for the Shore Sports Network Player of the Year and if not for a sprained ankle that robbed him of five games and perhaps some production when he first returns, Lewis might have took home the award one year after his teammate won it as a sophomore. Despite missing the ankle injury, Lewis turned in, by far, the most impactful season of his already-impressive high school career. He set new career highs in points, rebounds, assists and shooting efficiency while maintaining his flair for the highlight-reel dunk or demoralizing blocked shot.
Before sustaining the ankle injury on Jan. 17, Lewis was catching fire against some of heavyweights of Ranney’s schedule. He posted a near triple-double (21 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) against defending Tournament of Champions winner the Patrick School, poured in 23 against two-time defending Shore Conference Tournament champion Mater Dei and pumped in 27 in a loss to Maryland power Mount St. Joseph’s.
It took Lewis a few games to regain his footing and he again took off in the Shore Conference Tournament. He averaged a team-best 21 points per game during the SCT, leading Ranney to its first ever conference team title in any sport. He then capped his season with three brilliant all-around performances against Rutgers Prep (see above), Trenton Catholic (20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) and T of C winner Roselle Catholic (12 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, two blocks).
Like Antoine, Lewis will choose from some of the best college programs in the country when he announces his future plans - expected toward the end of the summer.
Jared Kimbrough, Sr., Center, Neptune
Key Stats: 16.0 points per game, 12.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks
Signature Game: Neptune climbed back to the top of a Shore Conference division in winning the Class A North championship and its win over Christian Brothers Academy was the win that made that division title possible. Kimbrough went off for 23 points and 17 rebounds against the Colts, arguably his best game of the season and certainly his most meaningful one.
One would be hard-pressed to find a player in N.J. more consistent on a night-in and night-out basis than Kimbrough, who was a double-double factory during his last two years of high school. In his final season, Kimbrough posted double-doubles in 21 of his team’s 28 games and failed to reach double-figure scoring only once. That one time was in Neptune’s thrilling, 45-44 win over Ewing in the Central Jersey Group III final, in which Kimbrough dominated the second half on the boards and at the rim en route to a final line of nine points, 17 rebounds and five blocks.
Earlier in the year, Kimbrough put up 16 points, a season-high 22 rebounds and five blocks against Ewing at the Neptune Holiday Jubilee. His season-high 28 points came with a side of 14 rebounds in a regular-season win over Howell and only foul trouble was able to slow him down in Neptune’s two losses to CBA. While Kimbrough and Neptune could not get past Moorestown in the Central Group III semifinals, the 6-8 La Salle recruit went down swinging with 19 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks against the Quakers. Kimbrough graduates with 1,059 career points after doing his part to return Neptune to the ranks of the Shore’s top-five programs.
Rob Higgins, Jr., Guard, Middletown North
Key Stats: 28.8 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 4.0 steals, 66 3-pointers, 80.8% free throws
Signature Game: Middletown North had to win both of its games during the final week of the regular season just to qualify for the Shore Conference Tournament and the first of those was a road game against division champion Manasquan. With his team’s postseason hopes on the line, Higgins poured in 37 points to lead the Lions to victory and they later secured an SCT berth with a win over Wall.
For the second straight year, Higgins led the Shore Conference in per-game scoring, edging out Wall senior Steve Geis by 0.003 points per game. Also for the second straight year, Higgins’s scoring title came with a handful of DNP’s, this time due to illness that knocked him out of three games. Middletown North demonstrated how valuable Higgins is to the team by losing all three games without its six-foot combo guard and once Higgins returned, he got right to work leading the Lions back into the Shore Conference Tournament hunt.
In averaging a career-best 28.82 points per game, Higgins eclipsed the 30-point mark nine times, which was second only to Geis – who played in five more games. He also pumped in a season-high 40 points in a regular-season win over Marlboro, which was one off of his career-high. In addition to his robust scoring totals, Higgins finished second in the Shore Conference in assists, first in steals and was among the Shore’s top 40 in rebounds.
Heading into next year, Higgins will have a chance to become a 2,000-point scorer by scoring a 456 points next year, which Higgins has blown past in each of his last two seasons.
Kenny Jones, Sr., Guard, Mater Dei Prep
Key Stats: 13.0 points per game, 3.8 assists, 1.8 steals
Signature Game: Jones rang in the New Year with a stellar all-around game against defending Group III champion Teaneck at the New Year’s Day Jumpoff in Paterson. The Loyola-Maryland commit put up 16 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and three steals in leading the Seraphs to a win over the Highwaymen and picking up game MVP honors.
Other players on this year’s All-Shore list have bigger numbers, but none have done as much winning as Jones has during his career at Mater Dei. He is the only player on this year’s Mater Dei squad who was a significant part of both the 2016 and 2017 Shore Conference Tournament championship teams and his senior year included another trip to the Shore Conference Tournament final, a trip to the NJSIAA South Non-Public B semifinals and a No. 2 finish in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 after back-to-back No. 1 finishes.
Like Higgins, Jones’s importance to his team showed when he was out. He missed two games during the Shore Conference Tournament and Mater Dei barely escaped against both Ocean (51-47) and Manasquan (46-43). Jones returned in the SCT semifinals against Rumson and the result was a 70-53 win over the No. 3 team in the Shore Conference.
Mater Dei was once again one of the Shore’s most balanced teams, with five players averaging 10 points or more and none averaging more than the 13 points that Jones put up over his 27 games played. Jones was the captain, the point guard and the engine that helped make Mater Dei go in each of the past two seasons as the starting point guard and he will hope to be a similar presence when he continues his basketball career next year at Loyola University in Maryland.
Steve Geis, Sr., Guard, Wall
Key Stats: 28.8 points per game, 3.6 assists, 1.9 steals, 119 3-pointers, 83.8% free throws
Signature Game: Unfortunately for Geis, he spent most of his season turning in remarkable game after remarkable game for a Wall team that could never quite get over the hump. No game displayed that better than his final game as a high school player, in which he scored a state tournament high 49 points in an 82-74 loss to Hopewell Valley, the No. 3 seed in Central Jersey Group III. Geis hit a whopping 12 three-pointers in the game.
Wall is the only team that failed to make the Shore Conference Tournament that is represented on this year’s All-Shore teams and the Crimson Knights’ top scorer even cracked the first team thanks to a historic individual season. Geis racked up a stunning 778 points during his senior year, a number not seen around the Shore since before the turn of the millennium. Geis came within a hair of Rob Higgins for the scoring title based on points-per-game, but it’s it hard to call anyone other than the Wall senior the Shore’s scoring king for 2017-18.
Geis not only scored 30 or more points on 10 different occasions this season, which was one more time than Higgins. A 40-point game is something that might happen one or two times over the course of a basketball season and that the state’s best scorers will often do only once in a given year. Geis scored 40 points three different times, including 49 points in Wall’s only NJSIAA Tournament game. That was the highest single-game total in the state this year and it beat out the previous high of 47 – which Geis also scored in a January win over Jackson Memorial.
Late in the season, Geis hit the 30-point mark in six consecutive games and averaged an astounding 34.3 points during the month of February. His 119 three-pointers led the state and trounced the next-highest total in the conference. He also unloaded 3.6 assists per game and was active on defense with 1.9 steals. Wall fell just short of reaching the SCT – Geis scored 38 points on 14-for-27 shooting in a one-point loss to Middletown North that eliminated the Crimson Knights from qualifying – and winning a state tournament game, but that was despite Geis’s remarkable play rather than any shortcoming on his part.
Kyle Cardaci, Sr., Guard, Mater Dei Prep
Throughout his four-year varsity career for both Holmdel and Mater Dei, Cardaci has been a well-rounded scorer with an ability to catch fire from the outside. During his last two years with Mater Dei, particularly as a senior this year, Cardaci developed into an all-around player on both ends of the floor, turning up a defensive intensity to match his potent offensive game. Cardaci put up just under 13 points per game and also checked in with 2.1 assists and 2.5 steals for the No. 2 team in the Shore Conference.
Andrew Seager, Sr., Forward, Ocean
Only four players in the Shore Conference scored 600 or more points this season and three of them are on the All-Shore First team: Antoine, Higgins and Geis. Seager is the other and his case for a spot on the All-Shore team does not end there. The versatile 6-foot-7 senior helped Ocean reach the periphery of the Shore Sports Network Top 10, which it cracked after beating No. 5 Neptune in January. The Spartans beat Lakewood in both the SCT and Central Group III Tournament and those runs only ended because Ocean ran into teams ranked in the state’s top 20 (Mater Dei and Nottingham). On top of his 21 points per game, Seager pulled down seven rebounds per night and plucked 1.6 steals as well.
Ian O’Connor, Jr., Forward, Rumson-Fair Haven
Rumson relied on a balanced offensive machine with a defense full of athletes to reach its zenith as the No. 3 team at the Shore this season, but the Bulldogs did have a go-to scorer when they needed one. O’Connor routinely dragged Rumson out of offensive funks throughout the season, which showed in his team-leading 14.9 points per game this year. Few players combined the athleticism to beat most defenders through the lane and to the basket, the strength to score easy baskets on the offensive glass and the range to knock down open three-pointers. O’Connor will be in line to reach the 1,000-point mark as a senior and could flirt with 20 points per game in his final season.
Ahmadu Sarnor, Jr., Guard, Ranney
Sarnor is the only player on the All-Shore teams to average fewer than 10 points per game, but that did not stop the coaches from recognizing him as a Second Team All-Shore guard on top of the SSN honors. Not only did Sarnor sacrifice his scoring over the course of the season to play the point guard role for the Shore’s No. 1 team – he also stepped up his offensive game when it mattered most. He led Ranney in scoring in the SCT final vs. Mater Dei and in the Non-Public B final against Roselle Catholic. For the season, Sarnor averaged 9.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.35 steals, including a triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in a regular-season win over Keyport.
Stephen Braunstein, Jr., Guard, Christian Brothers Academy
After breaking onto the scene with some strong games as a sophomore in 2016-17, Braunstein took his game to the next level this season as the leading scorer and an all-around player for the No. 4 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10. Braunstein posted the 13th-best scoring mark in the Shore Conference this season at 16.3 points per game and also contributed 3.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals per night. Braunstein retained his ability to knock down the three-pointer (34 on the season) but his athleticism in getting to the basket took his offensive game to the next level and will make him one of the Shore’s best offensive players returning in 2018-19.
Danny Frauenheim, Sr., Guard, Point Pleasant Beach
Figuratively speaking, the shoes Frauenheim had to fill when he entered the Point Beach program frou years ago could not have been much bigger. Before thriving at Notre Dame, Matt Farrell led Point Beach to Shore Conference Tournament and Group I championships while making First Team All-Shore as a junior and a senior and winning the Player of the year Award as a senior. Checking off all of those boxes was hardly in the realm of possibility, but Frauenheim did manage to break Farrell’s all-time assist record, finishing his Point Beach career with 561. Frauenheim averaged 15.6 points and 5.6 assists this past season and, more importantly, guided Point Beach to its first Central Jersey Group I title since Farrell’s senior year.
Travis Holland, Sr., Forward, Toms River North
Coming off arguably the best season in program history, Toms River North had to make it without three talented starters from a year ago. Holland not only helped east that transition as one of the returning starters – he helped the Mariner Machine continue to hum for yet another season. Holland was an all-around force for Toms River North, putting up 15.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.2 blocks while leading the Mariners to their fourth straight Class A South title, fourth straight 20-plus win campaign, third straight undefeated divisional season, fourth straight trip to the SCT quarterfinals and a second straight trip to the South Jersey Group IV semifinals.
Mike Dunne, Sr., Guard, Matawan
After his older brother, Jason, helped Matawan reach the highest level the program has reached in the last half-century, Mike Dunne slowly helped the Huskies get back into the top-10 picture by serving as the team’s leader in every facet of the game. Dunne averaged 15.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals for a 20-win Matawan team – just the second Huskies team to hit the 20-win mark in the last 20-plus years. He flirted with a triple-double on several occasions and finally got one in a regular-season win over Brick Memorial in February (11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists).
Josh Cohen, Jr., Center, Christian Brothers Academy
Few teams had an answer to CBA’s 6-foot-9 junior center, who developed as an athlete and as a post player in his second full varsity season. Cohen was a top-20 scorer in the Shore Conference at 15.8 points per game and the second-best rebounder in the conference at 10.8 boards per game, which trailed only Kimbrough of Neptune. With those numbers, it is no surprise Cohen spent his junior ear churning out double-doubles, including a dominant 24-point, 17-rebound performance in a January win over Marlboro.
Savior Akuwovo, Sr., Center, Ranney
The fourth Ranney player to appear on this year’s All-Shore team, Akuwovo was the missing piece that put the Panthers over the top in the Shore Conference and nearly in the state. The 6-9 Howard University commit averaged 11.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks for the No. 1 team at the Shore after transferring from Jersey City powerhouse St. Anthony – which closed its doors for good after the 2016-17 school year.
Danny Gaines, Sr., Guard, Colts Neck
One of the Shore’s smoothest scorers – as well as one of its best – was a game-in-game-out sharpshooter for the Cougars during their march to a second Central Jersey Group IV title game appearance in three years. The senior swingman averaged 18.4 points per game – good for sixth in the Shore Conference – and scored a team-high 16.5 per game during the Colts Neck’s four-game run in the state tournament. Gaines also scored 50 points in two games against A North champion Neptune, one of the top defensive teams in the conference.
Ryan Flanagan, Sr., Guard, Manasquan
With a big hole to fill in the wake of Devin Jensen’s graduation last year, Manasquan rallied around a blue-collar group of returnees, led by Flanagan at point guard. Coach Andrew Bilodeau turned the offense over to the second-year starter and Flanagan rewarded the move by averaging 13.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.96 steals for the Class B North champions and the No. 6 team in the Final SSN Top 10. With Flanagan running the show, Manasquan also reached the SCT quarterfinals for the seventh straight season – the longest active streak in the Shore Conference.
There are still two All-Shore spots left and you, the reader are in charge of picking them. Follow the link below to select the last two members of the 2017-18 All-Shore Team in the All-Shore Final vote.