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FREEHOLD TWP. – Freehold Township boys basketball coach Brian Golub continuously reminded his players all week that their home game against the Shore’s No. 1 team – Christian Brothers Academy – was not until Friday, and to get the rival Colts out of their heads until then.

After repeating himself throughout the week, once Friday finally came and the Colts showed up at Freehold Township High School, Golub barely had to say a word.

The Patriots – No. 4 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 – stormed out of the gate and held off a late charge by CBA to upend the No. 1 team in the Shore, 71-68, and snap the Colts’ 20-game winning streak against Class A North competition.

Senior Tyree Wilson scored 22 points and hit a key three late in the fourth quarter to help Freehold Township knock off CBA on Friday night. (Photo by Larry Murphy, SportsPixNJ)

“I told them when we were doing our prep for Long Branch (Wednesday) that they can think about CBA in 26 hours,” Golub said. “All week, I’ve been on them to focus on today’s game because we’re not good enough to overlook anybody.

“So when today came, they were jacked and ready to go. All I told them was, ‘If I have to say anything to get you pumped to play the number one team in the Shore in your home gym, then I can’t help you.’ And they came out flying.”

Freehold Township began the game on a 19-5 run and led by as many as 15 points in the second half. CBA responded by tying the game with 2:08 to go on a putback by junior Pat Andree, the only time CBA pulled even after the opening tip.

“If there was one thing I was worried about, it was the start of the game,” CBA coach Geoff Billet said. “We expected them to come out strong with the crowd at their back, and they didn’t disappoint. Of course, there were some things we could have done better, but I thought Freehold Township just played a great game. If they play like that every night, they are going to do a lot of damage.”

Patriots senior Tyree Wilson gave his team the lead for good with a tie-breaking three from the right corner off a pass from junior point guard Nick Facendo with 1:20 left. Wilson finished with a team-high 22 points and eight rebounds.

“I don’t take too many threes, but I practice that shot for those moments, and it’s not something I’m afraid to do,” Wilson said. “I practice it for a reason and when my teammate gets me a good shot, it’s my job to make it.”

“As soon as I saw him and I made the pass, I threw the threes up,” Facendo said, holding three fingers up on each hand. “He’s not a three-point shooter, but he can make them, and when the game is on the line, we want him shooting it.”

Wilson is in his second year with Freehold Township after transferring from Freehold Boro before his junior season. He currently leads the Patriots in scoring.

“Tyree is the kind of player who is best when he is freelancing, and I love freelance basketball,” Golub said. “Sometimes, when you try to force that one-on-one, freelance style, it can be ugly, but when Tyree and Nick are playing like they did today, it’s a beautiful thing to watch.”

CBA pulled within a point when junior Jack McGuire got his floater to bounce in with 28 seconds left. Facendo then made the first of two free throws before missing the second, giving CBA an opportunity to tie the game with a two-point basket. McGuire drew a shooting foul in the paint with 4.7 seconds left and calmly knocked down the first free throw to cut the Patriots lead to 69-68 before Freehold Township called a timeout to attempt to ice the shooter.

“I was a little nervous watching him go to the line there, but coach (Golub) made a good decision to call timeout to ice him and it worked,” Facendo said. “Once I got another chance, I knew I was knocking those shots down.”

McGuire's attempt out of the timeout rimmed out, and after a quick timeout by the Patriots on the rebound, the Colts sent Facendo back to the line for two more shots. The junior buried both attempts to push the lead to three. When Andree’s desperation heave grazed part of the ceiling structure as the final buzzer sounded, the Freehold Township student section cleared onto the court to celebrate.

Facendo’s free-throw adventures at the end of the game offered him a measure of redemption for missing two key free-throws earlier in the week in a loss to Manalapan. The junior guard – who entered Friday shooting 83 percent from the line – missed two foul shots with three seconds left and his team trailing by one point and the Patriots wound up losing, 50-47.

“I called Nick into my office after the (Manalapan) game and I told him that if something happened where I needed to pick somebody to shoot two free throws to win the game, even after those misses, I would have picked him,” Golub said. “I heard him saying after the game that he redeemed himself, but as far as I’m concerned, there was nothing to redeem. It was one play in a whole game.”

In addition to his key free throws, Facendo broke down CBA’s defense throughout the night, both in transition and in the half court. He finished with nine points, seven assists and two steals.

“The first game, we had our big guys sag closer to the basket and challenge shots and tonight, they were able to spread us out even more, and it create a lot of lanes to penetrate and find the open guy,” Billet said.

“We’ve always been a team of guards, so that’s what we gear our style towards,” Golub said. “There must be something in the water here in Freehold where kids only grow enough to be guards. We may not have big kids, but they have real big hearts.”

Seniors Dan Saunders and Kyle Czajkowski combined for 22 points, which is significant because neither played in the first meeting between the teams on opening night, which CBA won 85-50. Saunders – who missed the first game with a concussion and was not even on the bench that night – finished with 12 points and six rebounds and hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring in each half. Czajkowski chipped in 10 points, four rebounds and four assists after missing the opener with a wrist injury.

“I was sitting at home, getting the text updates with tears coming down my eyes, my head feeling like mush,” Saunders said. “It was a helpless feeling, and ever since Kyle and I came back, we’ve been looking forward to getting our shot at CBA.”

“It was humbling to come out of there with that loss, but we knew coming back with our two guys that were hurt, it was going to be a different game on our home court,” Wilson said. “It’s all chemistry. Everybody has their role, and we’re all playing for each other.”

When CBA appeared poised to take control of the game late in the third quarter, a number of Freehold Township’s bench players delivered key plays. Colts senior Jack Laffey twice cut Freehold Township’s lead to four late in the third and a Patriots bench player answered each time. Senior A.J. Hardy scored off a feed from senior C.J. Stenftennagel to stretch the Patriots' lead to 52-46 following a Laffey three, and after Laffey hit two free throws to cut it back to four, Stenftennagel hit a 3-pointer from the right corner to put Freehold Township up 55-48.

Seniors Mike Staklinski and Terrence Burdge also scored in the paint to stave off CBA. Staklinski hit a floater off an inbounds play underneath the basket to push the lead to 50-43, and Burdge scored off a feed from Jason Czajkowski to give the Patriots a 65-58 lead, one of Jason Czajkowski’s seven assists.

“I know most people will point to the late three or the free throws, but for a coach, those are the plays that make a difference in a game like this,” Golub said. “It’s a three-point game and we had guys come off the bench and each make a play or two to help us get a basket, and those are the plays that turned out to be the difference.”

CBA scored the next seven points to pull even at 65, with Andree and Laffey combining for all seven. Andree led CBA with a game-high 30 points to go with nine rebounds and five blocks, while Laffey scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half. McGuire also finished with 15 points in the loss.

Andree is now four points shy of reaching the 1,000-point mark for his career.

Coincidentally, Freehold Township was the last team to beat CBA in a Class A North divisional game, which the Patriots did in February of 2013 by a 16-point margin. The Patriots and Colts have engaged in several noteworthy battles over the last decade, particularly since Freehold Township’s Shore Conference Tournament championship team in 2006-07.

“I have all the respect in the world for coach (Ed Wicelinski) and coach Billet and the program they run,” Golub said. “They run a class program that plays the right way and competes for championships every year. There’s something about all that that has always brought out the best in our team.”


Box Score

Freehold Twp. 71, CBA 68






CBA (9-4, 7-1)






Freehold Twp. (10-4, 5-3)







CBA (68): Shaun Belbey 0 0-0 0, John Salcedo 0 0-0 0, Pat Andree 11 4-6 30, Jack McGuire 6 2-3 15, Jack Laffey 5 8-10 19, Connor Aldridge 0 0-0 0, Matt Dean 2 0-0 4, Derek Leohner 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 14-19 68

Three-pointers: Andree 4, McGuire, Laffey

Freehold Twp. (71): Nick Facendo 2 5-6 9, Jason Czajkowski 2 0-0 5, Dan Saunders 4 2-2 12, Tyree Wilson 7 7-7 22, Kyle Czajkowski 5 0-0 10, C.J. Stenftennagel 1 0-0 3, Mike Staklinski 2 0-0 4, A.J. Hardy 2 0-0 4, Terrence Burdge 1 0-2 2, Brandon Tejfel 0 0-0 0, John Carroll 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 14-17 71

Three-pointers: J. Czajkowski, Saunders 2, Wilson, Stenftennagel