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COLTS NECK – Just when the Colts Neck boys basketball team was ready to welcome back its full lineup with the return of 6-foot-7 center Mike Lamb from an ankle injury, another ankle injury wreaked havoc to the Cougars rotation when junior guard Lloyd Daniels went down last week in a win over Red Bank Catholic.

Just like the Cougars did many times without Lamb, without Daniels on Tuesday night in a must-win home game against Red Bank, Colts Neck found a way.

With Red Bank seeking a share of the Shore Conference Class B North division title with a win, Colts Neck battled the Bucs into overtime and pulled away for a 64-58 win that keeps the Cougars in the hunt for a share of the Class B North title.

Chris O'Reilly drives for two of his game-high 17 points durng Colts Neck's overtime win Tuesday over No. 4 Red Bank. (Photo by Matt Manley)

“Every game in B North feels like a tournament game,” senior Chris O’Reilly said. “It just seems like every game is down to the wire. It’s definitely prepared us for this time of year.”

Lamb and junior Tom O’Reilly each scored 15 points and combined forces to help Colts Neck control the paint against a Red Bank team that has lived on the offensive glass during its run through Class B North. Junior forward Kyle Gordon also came off the bench to score 10 points, including a go-ahead basket with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

“It changes everything having (Lamb) back,” Tom O’Reilly said. “He’s tall, he has those long arms to block shots and rebound. Teams don’t like seeing that in the paint.”

Chris O’Reilly led Colts Neck with a game-high 17 points and found Gordon for his lay-up that momentarily put Colts Neck ahead, 51-49, with 22 seconds to play in regulation. Red Bank senior Justin Gilson answered with a hanging, contested shot near the left block to tie the game with 13 seconds left.

Jordan DeGroot drew a foul near midcourt with 5.3 seconds left and missed the front end of a one-and-one that could have won the game for Colts Neck in regulation, followed by an offensive rebound and a missed three by Chris O'Reilly as time expired.

Colts Neck shot 5-for-17 from the free-throw line as a team.

“I was just trying to make a play and I happened to catch Kyle open and just got him the ball,” Chris O’Reilly said. “Of course, then I saw Gilson all the way on the other side of the court running down for the shot and he was my man. He made a tough shot to tie it and then we had a chance to win, but I missed a good look after the missed free throw. We missed a lot of free throws today. It’s definitely something we need to work on.”

The Cougars put the game away in overtime with a 10-0 run that turned a 55-54 deficit into a 64-55 advantage with 30 seconds left in the extra session. Chris and Tom O’Reilly each scored four points during the 10-point surge.

Sadiq Palmer led Red Bank with 14 points, while Jack Navitsky added 10 and Anthony Mitchell and Tyler Christie each dropped in nine apiece.

Colts Neck coach Lou Piccola said Daniels is out indefinitely and acknowledged the best-case scenario likely has him returning no earlier than the NJSIAA Tournament, which begins the first week of March. Daniels was wearing a boot on his injured foot on Tuesday.

Even without Daniels – the team’s second-leading scorer behind Chris O’Reilly – Colts Neck has a chance to win a share of the B North title by winning its remaining two division games against Wall on Thursday and Long Branch on Saturday.

“I definitely feel like we’re ready and we can win this thing,” O’Reilly said. “It sucks we don’t have Lloyd, but we’re just going to take it day by day.”

Wall clinched a share of a division title for the first time since 1992 by beating Neptune on Tuesday and can win the division outright by beating Colts Neck on Thursday. If Colts Neck wins out, the Cougars will share the title with Wall and if Red Bank defeats Ocean on Wednesday within the same scenario, all three teams will share the B North championship.

“We’ve got our big guy back this time,” Tom O’Reilly said, referencing Lamb, who missed a 48-44 Wall win over the Cougars back on Jan. 20. “That’s going to make things a little more interesting.”


Box Score

Colts Neck 64, Red Bank 58 (OT)







Red Bank (13-4, 9-4)







Colts Neck (11-5, 8-4)








Red Bank (58): Jack Navitsky 4 0-1 10, Anthony Mitchell 3 1-3 9, Sadiq Palmer 4 6-8 14, Tyler Christie 4 1-2 9, Justin Gilson 3 0-0 7, Eddie Hendrex 2 0-0 4, Jimmy Ferrogine 2 0-0 5, Connor Kelly 0 0-0 0, Moses Birch 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 8-14

Three-pointers: Navitsky 2, Mitchell 2, Gilson, Ferrogine

Fouled Out: Hendrex

Colts Neck (64): Colton LaLima 2 0-0 5, Jordan DeGroot 1 0-1 2, Mike Lamb 7 1-4 15, Tom O’Reilly 7 1-4 15, Chris O’Reilly 6 3-6 17, Kyle Gordon 5 0-2 10, Tim Cavrack 0 0-0 0, Khaled Moustafa 0 0-0 0, Brendan Clarke 0 0-0 0. Totals: 28 5-17 64

Three-Pointers: LaLima, C. O’Reilly 2