RUMSON - When the second-quarter buzzer sounded Friday night marking the end of the first half of his team's pivotal Shore Conference Class A Central showdown with Manasquan, Brendan Barry did not know he had just made Rumson-Fair Haven basketball history. He just knew his team was losing in its biggest game of the season to date.

After taking taking care of and individual record in the first half, Barry helped his Bulldogs to the biggest victory of their nine-game winning streak in the second half.

Barry scored a game-high 23 points and surpassed the all-time scoring record at Rumson-Fair Haven as the Bulldogs handed the Warriors their first loss of the season, 53-48.

Brendan Barry poses with Palvin Williams after Barry broke the all-time Rumson-Fair Haven scoring mark, previously set by Williams in 1973. (Photo by Matt Manley)

"When you have Brendan Barry, who is the greatest player to ever play here, and in the first half, you have a couple of guys struggling," Rumson coach Chris Champeau said. "Sometimes guys aren't used to playing in front of huge crowds and sometimes the moment can be a little too big. Not for Brendan. He had 16 in the first half and carried us."

Barry drilled a three-pointer from the right wing as the halftime buzzer sounded to pass Palvin Williams for the all-time scoring record in the history of the Bulldogs program. Williams's mark stood since 1973 and Barry now sits in first place with 1,426 points.

"It was cool to get the record at home in front of all the fans," Barry said. "But the record, I'll just celebrate that after the season. That's something I can celebrate then. I'm just focused on winning right now."

Barry hit the record-breaking three off a pass from junior Mike O'Connor in transition to send Rumson to the half trailing 30-28. Immediately after the horn sounded to signal the end of the second quarter, Barry headed into the locker room with his teammates, oblivious to the fact that he set the new record with that shot.

"I knew I was close to getting the record, but I wasn't too focused on it," Barry said. "On that play, Mike O'Connor threw me a great pass. He was kind of stumbling into the lane and he found me, so that was pretty awesome going into the half. But I didn't know I was one point away. I wasn't counting my points."

Williams, the former record-holder, was in attendance to watch Barry break his record. A 1973 graduate of Rumson, Williams currently lives in the Domincan Republic and flew up to watch his record fall. Williams, who red-shirted as a freshman at New Mexico State before suffering a knee injury at a junior college in Kansas the next year that ended his college career, said it was the first time he had been in the Rumson-Fair Haven gym in 15 years.

"They contacted me and told me by record was going to be broken and if I could make it, they'd like me to make it," Williams said. "So I said, 'Yeah, I'll give it a shot. Just coming in the gym was mixed emotions. I wanted Brendan to break it though. He's very good. Quick, really good handle.

"He's got a little palm in there, but they don't call that anymore," joked Williams, who was watching Barry for the first time. "But he handles the rock very well."

Rumson (10-3, 5-2) took the lead, 49-47, on a pair of free throws by senior Mickey Schluter with 36 seconds left. Manasquan (13-1, 6-1) had multiple chances to tie or take the lead on the free throw line but Warriors senior Jack Sheehan made one of two from the line and senior Ryan Jensen missed the front end of a 1-and-1 after hauling in the offensive rebound on Sheehan's miss.

Schluter followed by making the front end of a 1-and-1 and after a miss on the Manasquan end, senior Colin McDevitt converted a three-point play with seven seconds left to put the game on ice.

Schluter finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, one of which was a defensive board on a missed free throw by Tom Sheehan with 36 seconds left. Schluter was fouled on the play to set him his go-ahead foul shots.

"He's five-eleven, surfer dude, 150 pounds soaking wet," Champeau said, describing Schluter. "(Sophomore) Elijah (McAllister) fouled out and I'm like, 'Mick, you're our second big right now. If you look at a couple of those rebounds, guys are boxing out and coming over the top of him and he never gave up. He's got the heart of a lion."

McAllister blocked six shots despite sitting nearly all of the third quarter with three fouls and fouling out with 2:12 left. He blocked five in the third quarter alone and also grabbed eight rebounds in the limited time he stayed on the floor.

"Having him in the game allowed us to be more aggressive knowing we had him back there to block shots when guys got past us," Barry said. "He probably blocked about five shots in the third quarter alone.

"We tried to go offense-defense in the last two minutes with Mike O'Connor and Teddy (Sourlis). O'Connor is a really good defender and he came up with a big steal for us late in the fourth quarter."

Jensen led Manasquan with 19 points and 15 rebounds while junior and younger brother Devin Jensen scored all 13 of his points in the first half, hitting 4-for-6 from beyond the three-point line for the game. Manasquan was the last remaining unbeaten team in the Shore Conference before suffering its first defeat.

"When we talk about our goals in the beginning in the season, going undefeated is never one of them," Manasquan coach Andrew Bilodeau said. "Playing well today, whether in practice or in a game, is what we're worried about. We've got to coach better and we've got to finish better. That's all."

Neither team led by more than five points at any point in the game and the lead changed hands 12 times before Rumson finally pulled out the win. The Bulldogs led 20-15 during the second quarter and finished off the game by a five-point margin and the Warriors led 30-25 before Barry's three cut the Bulldogs' halftime deficit to two.

In the fourth quarter alone, the lead changed hands four times as the two teams milked more clock with each possession increasing in importance. Jensen gave Manasquan a 46-45 lead by driving past McAllister and converting a reverse layup.

Barry answered on the other end by storming through the lane for a left-handed finish that put the Bulldogs back on top with 2:45 to go. Jensen drew McAllister's fifth foul on the other end and hit one of two free throws to set up the final two minutes with the two rivals tied at 47.

Rumson's win earned the Bulldogs a season split with Manasquan after the Warriors demolished them, 55-33, on opening night. Barry missed that game while recovering with a broken bone in his left hand.

"When we have Brendan Barry, it's a coin toss between the two of us," Champeau said. "We could play 10 times and it would probably be five-five."

Although Barry has led the Bulldogs to a Shore Conference Tournament title and to an NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II championship game, he has not had much success against Manasquan during his career. After an upset win over the Warriors during Barry's freshman season, Manasquan won the next six meetings between the two teams before Barry and Bulldogs finally ended the streak on Friday.

"I haven't beaten them since my freshman year," Barry said. "They had (J.R.) Hobbie and (Jimmy) Walsh and all of them back then. So it's definitely a big win. It gives us a lot of momentum, but we can't let this define our season. We've got to move on and get ready for Shore Conference and States."

 

Box Score

Rumson-Fair Haven 53, Manasquan 48

  1 2 3 4 F
Manasquan (13-1, 6-1) 10 20 10 8 48
Rumson-FH (10-3, 5-2) 13 15 13 12 53

 

Manasquan (48): Jack Sheehan 1 5-8 7, Shane Flanagan 0 0-0 0, Ryan Jensen 6 7-9 19, Tom Sheehan 2 3-8 7, Devin Jensen 4 1-2 13, Bryan Paturzo 1 0-0 2, Kyle Coyne 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 16-27 48

Three-pointers: D. Jensen 4

Rumson-FH (53): Brendan Barry 6 9-10 23, Mickey Schluter 2 6-8 12, Elijah McAllister 1 0-0 2, Tyler Pierson 4 0-0 9, Mike O’Connor 1 0-1 2, Colin McDevitt 2 1-1 5, Teddy Sourlis 0 0-0 0, Jack Solano 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 16-19 53

Three-pointers: Barry 2, Schluter 2, Pierson

Fouled Out: McAllister