Beginning this week, Shore Sports Network will be presenting the Army Strong Team of the Week - awarded to the Shore Conference boys basketball team that had the most noteworthy performance during the prior week.

The first honor of the season goes to Ranney, which is off to a school record 7-0 start behind a starting lineup that includes four freshman. Along with Manasquan, the Panthers are one of just two remaining unbeaten teams in the conference. The players and first-year head coach Tahj Holden accepted the award at a pep rally on Thursday.

Last week, Ranney won the Albert E. Martin Buc Holiday Classic championship at Red Bank Regional High School, Holden's alma mater. The Panthers defeated Middletown North, Sayreville and host Red Bank - all by a double-figure margin.

During the tournament, freshman Bryan Antoine averaged 29.3 points per game to earn tournament Most Valuable Player honors and classmate Scottie Lewis was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 19 points over the three games.


Ranney also began this week with wins on back-to-back nights over Point Pleasant Beach and Asbury Park on Tuesday and Wednesday. Those two teams have combined to win at least a share of the last eight Class B Central championships and combined for six straight NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I championships from 2009 to 2014.

The seven straight wins to open the year has already eclipsed Ranney's total from all of last season, when the Panthers went 5-16 overall and 2-12 in Shore Conference Class B Central division play.

Ranney is currently ranked No. 6 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10. The Panthers will host Doane Academy, Cross Christian Academy and Foundation Academy Friday and Saturday in the four-team Panther Classic tournament before hosting Mater Dei Prep - the No. 2 team in the SSN Top 10 - in a key Class B Central battle on Tuesday night.