In a program that preaches the team concept and requires its players to eschew individual accomplishment with a total focus on the collective effort, Pat Andree might be the closest thing Christian Brothers Academy has ever had to a player that reached “program savior” status.

After entering the program during a downturn in its performance, Andree has been at the center of the Colts’ resurgence and will lead his team into the Shore Conference Tournament championship game for a third straight season looking to cement his and his senior class’s legacy by winning the first SCT title for CBA since 2010.

As it stands, Andree is the all-time leading scorer in the program and is likely to eclipse the 2,000-point mark for his career by the end of the season. In addition to the three SCT finals appearances, Andree has led CBA to three consecutive Shore Conference Class A North titles and to an NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A championship last year. He did all of that while leading the team in scoring in each of his four high school seasons.

"I want to win the Shore Conference,” Andree said. “I haven't won that yet, so that's my number one goal. If we do that and I don't get 2,000 (points), I'll be plenty happy."

Andree began his high school career as a varsity player and while history will rightfully portray him as one of the best players in the storied program’s history because of his four years of excellence, the reality is that Andree was a freshman starter due to the desperation of the program at the time as much as it was for of his ability.

CBA senior Pat Andree is seeking his first SCT title and the first for CBA since 2010. (Photo by Rob Samuels)

Freshman varsity starters at CBA are rare and Andree got his opportunity partially on his own accord: he was a 6-foot-7-inch youngster with NBA-three-point range and advanced polish on the offensive end. He also came in with considerable hype due to his last name: his older brother, Tim, was a CBA standout who went on to walk-on at the University of Notre Dame.

In years past though, that might have profiled as more of a supporting player on a typical CBA team, but within the context of its 16 Shore Conference championships in a span of 27 seasons, the 2012-13 Colts were not a typical CBA team.

A year prior to Andree’s arrival, CBA had to fight its way to a winning record and entered the Shore Conference Tournament as a No. 15 seed. The Colts came up short of a Shore Conference Tournament title the year before as well, but entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and lost a close game to the Point Pleasant Beach team led by Jarelle Reischel.

In Andree’s first season, the team still had its warts, but improved to the No. 8 seed in the tournament. The Colts failed, however, to reach the quarterfinals, losing at the buzzer to No. 24 seed Matawan, which sported a team full of sophomores and juniors.

The struggle in 2012 and the surprising exit in 2013 were two of the lower points during more than a quarter century of overall dominance by CBA, but better days were ahead. The Colts lost to top-seeded Point Beach in the 2014 SCT championship game and drew the No. 1 seed in last year’s tournament before suffering a stunning 50-24 loss to No. 11 Rumson-Fair Haven.

In its two SCT championship losses of the past two seasons, CBA has played the role of underdog in 2014 and favorite in 2015. As the No. 2 seed playing top-seeded Mater Dei Prep – a team that has nine transfers and has won 20 straight games since suffering its only loss of the season on Jan. 3 to defending Non-Public A champion Pope John – CBA is once again the underdog, but with a twist. This year’s Colts team starts five seniors – Andree, Jack McGuire, John Salcedo, Sam Houston and Jack Boyan – and brings in another in Nick Mugavero as the first man off the bench.

If anything, the last two seasons have shown that it will take a complete team effort to win the championship and not just the excellence of one player. As a sophomore, Andree was the only player to score in double-figures for CBA in the 49-41 loss to Point Beach and last year, he scored only seven points in the championship game as the entire team struggled to put the ball in the basket.

"We don't like how the last two turned out, obviously, but we're the underdog this time," Andree said. "We love being the underdogs and we can't wait to go out and prove that CBA's the team to beat this year.

In the final go-round for him and fellow returning starters McGuire and Salcedo, Andree is looking to cap his distinguished career by winning the title that every other CBA great since 1984 has experienced.

"We have a little chip on our shoulder,” Andree said. “We wanted the one seed and they took it from us. We haven't lost in the Shore Conference, they haven't lost in the Shore Conference either and it should be a great game."