As the days pass in the high school career of Ranney senior Bryan Antoine, so to do the names of some of the great players in the history of the Shore Conference. Names like Bob Verga of St. Rose, Randy Holmes of Lakewood, Pat Andree of Christian Brothers Academy and Brendan Barry of Rumson-Fair Haven.

Antoine has passed them all on the all-time scoring list and in the remainder of his time at Ranney, he is likely to pass every single Shore Conference great who has come before him. Antoine is reminding - perhaps even educating - local fans of the exploits of some of the greats before ceremoniously passing them on his way to becoming the greatest player in Shore Conference history.

That march toward to top of the list of the Shore's all-time greats continued Saturday night in Raleigh, N.C., where Antoine crossed the 2,000-career-point threshold in Ranney's 63-58 win over South Central of Winterville, N.C. to capture the John Wall Invitational T.J. Warren Bracket championship.

Ranney senior Bryan Antoine. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Antoine is the seventh player in Shore Conference history to reach the 2,000-point milestone and just the second since 1990. Southern 2016 graduate Peyton Wejnert scored exactly 2,000 points and with his third-quarter three-pointer, Antoine passed Wejnert for sixth on the all-time list at the Shore. He now stands at 2,014 for his career.

Antoine's game-high 24 points gave him an average of 32.3 for the three-game tournament and his 97 total points place him in the top 10 in the 43-year history of the illustrious tournament. The 6-foot-5 Villanova commit was named tournament Most Valuable Player.

The only players remaining for Antoine to chase down on his climb toward the all-time record of 2,302 are 1958 Lakewood grad Jack Ardon (2,152 points), 1982 St. Joseph's (Donovan Catholic) grad Jim Dolan (2,175), 1990 Central grad Jermaine Clay (2,210), 1988 Lacey grad and current Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Chris Fleming (2,235) and 1973 Croydon Hall grad and all-time Shore leader Norm Caldwell.

At his current pace of 29 points per game in seven games this season, Antoine is in line to make a run at 2,800 points and perhaps even a 1,000-point season if Ranney can play a full 34-game slate that would include trips to both the Shore Conference Tournament final and NJSIAA Tournament of Champions final.

On Saturday night, Antoine's 24 points were relatively modest compared to the rest of his games this season but it was still the kind of efficient, precision performance that has come to define Antoine's career. He shot 9-for-16 from the field, giving him seven straight games to open the season in which he has shot above 50 percent from the field.

In Ranney's five non-division games this year, Antoine is shooting 53-for-83 (63.8 percent) from the floor and 18-for-35 (51.4) from three-point range. On top of the high shooting percentage, Antoine is averaging exactly 29 points per game without once attempting 20 field goals in a game.

Antoine's run at history has somewhat overshadowed another strong season from fellow five-star recruit Scottie Lewis, who posted 23 points and five assists in Ranney's championship win on Saturday and delivered a pivotal three-point play late in the fourth quarter to help his team stave off a run by South Central.

Lewis could also reach the 2,000-point threshold for his career by averaging a little fewer 21 points per game this season. So far, the Florida-bound wing is averaging 19.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 3 steals and 2.7 blocks through seven games this season and was named to the T.J. Warren Bracket All-Tournament team.

The firsts for Antoine are not likely to stop once he passes the scoring record. He and Lewis are trying to lead Ranney to the Tournament of Champions title, which no Shore Conference team has ever won. Even after high school, Antoine and Lewis have a chance to make history by becoming the first Shore Conference players to be selected in the first round of NBA Draft.

The Ranney duo will go down as the best in Shore Conference history and it is likely Antoine and Lewis will be remembered as the Shore's two best players for a long time, but the pages in that history book are still being written.

As the Panthers head back to New Jersey to begin 2019, the rest of the state would be wise to appreciate the final chapter as it unfolds.

 

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