By Tyler Calvaruso
SSN Contributor

MIDDLETOWN - It’s always important to make a good first impression, and the Ocean boys basketball team did exactly that in their first ever Hoop Group Boardwalk Showcase appearance.

After getting off to a disappointing 2-5 start, the Spartans responded in a big way with a 37-29 win over Neptune – the No. 4 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10.

“It’s huge,” Ocean head coach John Terlecsky said of the win. “In the Husky Classic we had such a tough loss against Matawan that could’ve gone either way and at the end I think we did a couple of things that the boys regret. I think there was a little carryover there and sometimes you need those things. You face adversity, it shows character and I think the boys showed up big tonight.”

Ocean senior Andrew Seager during action earlier this season. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Neptune came out of the gates and took control early, opening the game with six straight points from La Salle commit Jared Kimbrough, who had a monster night with 19 points and 18 rebounds.

Kimbrough went on to finish the quarter with six points and nine rebounds as the Scarlet Fliers held a 10-6 lead at the end of one. The second quarter was a completely different story for Ocean, as the Spartans outscored Neptune 12-3 and held Kimbrough scoreless in the quarter to gain an 18-13 lead heading into halftime.

Ocean continued to fire on all cylinders on both ends of the floor in the third, expanding their lead to 26-17 halfway through the quarter. However, Kimbrough found his rhythm again and the Scarlet Fliers went on a 10-0 run, with a Kimbrough tip-in giving them a 27-26 lead with 5:39 remaining in regulation.

After a timeout from Terlecsky following the Kimbrough tip-in, Ocean ripped off an 11-2 run to put the game away. Throughout the run, the Spartans were led by senior forward Andrew Seager, who took home game MVP honors with 17 points and five rebounds, and sophomore guard Jake Miller, who had 13 points on four three pointers.

“We knew that Seager and Kimbrough were gonna score,” Terlecsky said. “You know he [Kimbrough]’s going to score, it’s inevitable, he’s a Division I player for a reason. I think we had a lot of help out there for Seager to deal with him and I think Seager did a nice job on him, as did Brian Lausten.”

After dealing with a tough schedule to start the season, combined with a loss to Pinelands in their first game back from winter break, Ocean now sits at 3-5 with a key win on their resume as they head back into division play. Ocean will not only head home with a notch on their belt after securing a top-five win, but pride in being able to win a game in a setting that Terlecsky was just happy to be a part of.

“It means a lot to the program,” Terlecsky said. “I didn’t know if we would ever be here. A public school program would love to get in this setting and we can’t be here every year because it’s just not in the cards for us. I think the fact that we won here says a lot about our program. We’re a blue-collar, hard-working group.”

 

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