MIDDLETOWN – The Christian Brothers Academy basketball team featured one of the youngest lineups in the Shore Conference last season, but that did not change the lofty expectations for the Shore’s banner basketball program.

Now, the Colts – the No. 2 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 – have one of the more experienced rosters in the Shore Conference Class A North and after Tuesday’s showing against Middletown North, it appears they are ready to pay back the rest of the division.

CBA senior Louie Pillari handles the ball against Middletown North on Tuesday. (Photo by Matt Manley)

CBA rolled to a 64-35 win over the Lions Tuesday for their fourth straight divisional win to open the season. In four games against Manalapan, Middletown South, Marlboro and Middletown North, CBA has won by an average of 26.75 points per game while holding its last three A North opponents to fewer than 40 points each.

“We had some dominant teams at the end of the last decade and during that run, we never held three straight A North opponents to under 40,” CBA coach Geoff Billet said. “It’s not easy to do night in and night out in A North, so to show the kind of commitment on the defensive end is encouraging.”

Sophomore Pat Andree led the Colts with 17 points and knocked down three 3-pointers, two of which came in an eight-point second-quarter. Junior Jack Laffey added 14 points and seven rebounds while scoring CBA’s first eight points of an 18-10 third quarter run.

“We had the talent last year, but playing in A North is tough when you don’t have as much experience as some of the other teams,” Laffey said. “We expected to win every night, but we hadn’t really learned how to do it consistently. Coming to Middletown North has always been tough and they beat us pretty good the last time we were here, so to come in and play the way we did tonight, I think, speaks volumes about how far we’ve come.”

Senior Louie Pillari scored nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to help put the game away and he also handed out four assists. Senior Rob Kennedy added eight points for the Colts.

CBA ripped off a 7-0 run to break a 2-2 tie in the first quarter and the Colts never gave up the lead. The lead ballooned to 34 late in the fourth quarter before the Lions finished with a flurry to get within 29.

Middletown North is one of several perennially strong Class A North teams that lost a significant amount of production from last season. The Lions lost leading scorers Cody Thompson and Will Boman, as well as key contributors Mike Barber and John Dini.

Seniors Ian Wyckoff and Brian Esser both played regularly last season and the two combined for 17 of Middletown North’s points Tuesday, with Wyckoff scoring a team-high 11.

“(Coach) Mike (Iasparro) has done an outstanding job building up this program, and they’ve split with us each of the past three years,” Billet said. “They are always well-prepared and this gym has been particularly tough on us the last couple of years. Regardless of who is playing on either team, it always means something to come in here, play well and earn a win.”

Colts Neck, Freehold Township, Manalapan, and Middletown South all lost their leading scorer from a year ago, and Colts Neck, Middletown South and Manalapan are all replacing multiple starters. CBA and Freehold Township are the only winning teams from last year with most of the starting lineup back.

CBA travels to Howell on Thursday before hosting Colts Neck on Saturday and heading to Freehold Township on Jan. 21.

“We’ve played some tough competition so far and the plan all along was to get better for the Shore Conference season,” Laffey said. “We still have a long way to go and we have big games coming up against Colts Neck and Freehold Township, so we’re going to have to keep it going.”

 

Box Score

CBA 64, Middletown North 35

1

2

3

4

F

CBA (5-3, 4-0)

13

13

18

20

64

Middletown North (4-3, 1-2)

6

9

10

10

35

 

CBA (64): Rob Kennedy 4 0-0 8, Louie Pillari 3 6-9 13, Chima Ekekeugbor 1 2-4 4, Pat Andree 7 0-0 17, Jack Laffey 5 4-6 14, Shaun Belbey 0 2-2 2, Derek Leohner 1 0-0 2, John Salcedo 1 2-2 4, Bott 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 16-23 64

Three-pointers: Pillari, Andree 3

Middletown North (35): Troy Thompson 0 0-0 0, Jordan Pitts 0 0-0 0, Dylan Frawley 0 0-0 0, Ian Wyckoff 5 1-2 11, Brian Esser 3 0-0 6, Tristan Hook 1 0-0 3, Colin Frawley 2 0-0 5, Jimmy Coppa 1 2-2 5, Vincent Youncofski 0 0-0 0, Marc Cerbo 2 0-0 5, Jules Calhoun 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 3-4 35

Three-Pointers: Hook, C. Frawley, Coppa, Cerbo