LAKEWOOD – Lakewood junior Tyreek Grayson lost his head just long enough to give Point Pleasant Beach a chance to escape Pot Richardson Court Saturday with a win over the Piners – the No. 2 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10.

Grayson followed up his miscue by finding his favorite spot on the floor and instead sent the No. 9 Garnet Gulls home with a broken heart.

After committing a costly foul in the final seconds, Grayson buried a game-winning 3-pointer from the right wing as time expired to lift Lakewood to a 52-49 win at the buzzer over Point Beach. The junior finished with 16 points and made two go-ahead baskets in a frantic final 13 seconds.

Lakewood players and coaches swarm Tyreek Grayson after the sophomore hit the game-winning 3-pointer to beat Point Beach on Saturday. (Photo by Matt Manley)

“That is my spot,” Grayson said. “Any time I get that shot, I feel like it’s going in. That was a crazy last few seconds, but once I got my feet set and got the ball, I just let the shot go. I knew it was going in, so it was a good feeling.”

“That shot is Tyreek,” Lakewood coach Randy Holmes said. “When things are chaotic around him, he has an ability to slow things down and keep his poise. The other guys have a lot of confidence in him so when he’s open, they get it to him.”

Grayson also had a chance to push Lakewood’s lead to three on the free-throw line with under 30 seconds to play, but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Senior Ryan Lawrence had given Lakewood a 47-46 lead with 47.1 seconds left and then junior Sean Barksdale forced a jump ball under his team’s own basket to give Lakewood the ball back with the lead. Point Beach fouled Grayson to put the junior southpaw at the line.

The missed free throw by Grayson set off a frantic final 20 seconds. Point Beach junior Jimmy Panzini drove for a go-ahead lay-up with 18 seconds left, putting the Garnet Gulls ahead, 48-47. On the other end, senior Chapelle Cook missed an initial shot, but Grayson positioned himself for the follow and converted the putback to give Lakewood a 49-48 lead with 12 seconds left.

On the ensuing Point Beach position, Panzini stumbled as he turned the corner on Grayson, but kept his feet enough to draw a reach-in foul on the sophomore with 5.5 seconds left. After a timeout by Lakewood, Panzini missed the first of his two free throws before making the second to tie the game at 49.

“I made a mistake fouling him, so I was hoping he would miss at least one,” Grayson said. “I think seeing him miss the first one made me feel a little better, and then I just tried to get to my spot and be ready to get the ball.”

“We always talk positive when we’re in the huddle while somebody is at the line, so we were planning on Jimmy to make both and to pick up man-to-man for five seconds,” Point Beach coach Nick Catania said. “Jimmy hit a clutch free throw to tie the game and we were focused on (Lawrence) and (Amir Tyler). We had a couple guys collapse on (Lawrence) and he made a great basketball play to make that pass and the kid hit the open shot. More than anything, it was a well-executed play on their part.”

Lawrence took the inbound pass, dribbled to the top of the 3-point line and fed Grayson on the right wing. The sophomore shot the ball in rhythm and buried the shot as the clock hit all zeroes.

“We’re confident with anybody taking the last shot, so that’s a situation where I saw three guys moving towards me and it left Tyreek open,” Lawrence said. “I saw the clock when I got the ball, so I knew I had time to dribble the ball up court and make one pass if it was there.”

“I thought Ryan had forced some shots earlier in the game when another pass could have gotten us a better shot, and I said something to him about it late in the game,” Holmes said. “I guess he listened.”

The last assist was the sixth of the game for Lawrence, who also scored 14 points and notched four steals to lead the Piners. Lawrence and Grayson combined for 21 of Lakewood’s 25 second-half points, while junior Amir Tyler scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half – including 10 in the first quarter.

“I wanted to get the ball to the rim early,” Tyler said. “We knew they were going to play us man-to-man, and I was hoping to get a couple of their key guys in foul trouble.”

Panzini carried Point Beach in the second half, during which he scored 16 of his game-high 23 points. Those 16 points also accounted for all but five of the Garnet Gulls’ second-half output, with Jesse Hill and Mike Frauenheim combining for the other five. Panzini also added three assists and three steals.

“Jimmy has played like that every game,” said Catania of Panzini, a transfer from St. Anthony who had his best scoring game as a Garnet Gull Saturday. “He might have had a few more shots fall than he did in other games, but the energy, the intensity, the toughness - that’s been there every game.”

Lakewood forced 16 Point Beach turnovers, including four in the final two minutes with its 2-2-1 press. The Piners did not employ the press until the fourth quarter, instead opting for half court man-to-man with an early dose of match-up zone. Even when they did go to the press, they played it with Lawrence and Tyler in the middle rather than up top because both were playing with four fouls.

“We knew we were going to go to it, but we had to play things a little differently with some of the foul trouble,” Holmes said. “I was worried if we played it like we normally do, somebody would do something boneheaded.”

The two Shore Conference powers – which have met annually for each of the last five years during the regular season – played earlier than usual this year, and it had an adverse impact on both sides. Point Beach is still coming together with four new starters – three of which are transfers – while Lakewood played without junior center Ryszon Barnes, who is out of state visiting family for the holidays, according to Holmes.

“That’s a great team we beat today,” Holmes said. “They are well-coached and even though it’s a different group over there, they still know how to play. It’s always a good test for our guys and hopefully we’ll see them again down the road.”

The two teams have traded shots over the years, with Lakewood defeating Point Beach in the Shore Conference Tournament final in 2013 and the Garnet Gulls routing Lakewood during the regular season last year before going on to win the SCT title.

“We wanted to take it to them early to pay them back,” Tyler said. “They blew us out last year, and we wanted to do the same to them. It didn’t work out that way, but a win’s a win. They’re a tough team, so we’ll definitely take it.”



Box Score

Lakewood 52, Point Beach 49






Point Beach (3-2)






Lakewood (5-0)







Point Beach (49): Mike Rice 1 2-2 4, Mike Frauenheim 1 0-0 2, Jesse Hill 6 3-6 18, Chris Schifano 0 0-0 0, Jimmy Panzini 8 7-9 23, Danny Frauenheim 0 2-2 0, Trevor Covey 0 0-0 0, Ryan Sheehan 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 14-19 49

Three-pointers: Hill 3

Lakewood (52): Amir Tyler 7 1-2 17, Ryan Lawrence 4 6-6 14, Chapelle Cook 2 0-4 4, Sean Barksdale 0 0-0 0, Tyreek Grayson 6 2-3 16, Datrell Reed 0 0-0 0, Victor Figueroa 0 1-2 1, Clayson Rowe 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 10-16 52

Three-pointers: Tyler 2, Grayson 2