COLTS NECK - Thursday was to be a special night for Point Pleasant Beach senior Trevor Covey, who entered the Shore Conference Tournament round-of-16 game at Colts Neck only five points away from his 1,000th career point.

Garnet Gulls coach Nick Catania worked out a plan with opposing coach Lou Piccola to stop the game and acknowledge Covey's accomplishment when he officially joined the 1,000-point club, but when Catania presented the option to celebrate, Covey had only one thing on his mind: win and advance.

Covey did score his 1,000th point on a corner three-pointer in the first quarter, but he and his team kept pushing forward on the way to a wire-to-wire, 66-55, win on the road over the sixth-seeded Cougars to advance to the quarterfinals Sunday against Rumson-Fair Haven in Toms River.

"There's no other word to describe this feeling other than 'exciting,'" Covey said. "This is just a great win for our team. Obviously, I was excited before the game to get my thousandth, but at this point, all we're worried about is win and advance. We believe we can play with any team in the Shore Conference, so even though we're excited, we know the job isn't done yet."

Covey scored nine of his 12 points in the first half and battled foul trouble from the latter part of the second quarter through the fourth quarter, but the other two heads of Point Beach's three-headed scoring monster delivered with Covey up and down off the bench.

Senior Mohamed Traore scored 25 points to go with nine rebounds, while senior Danny Frauenheim added 18 points and eight assists, one of which was a kickout to Covey for the three that got him his 1,000th point.

Frauenheim reached 1,000 points for his career earlier in the season on the first basket of a regular-season win over Henry Hudson - much different circumstances than Covey faced on Thursday.

"My parents and my friends the other night were like, 'You've got to score 30 and get this done,'" Covey said. "I was like, 'Dude, I'm just worried about winning games.' Tonight, we knew we had to defend five good scorers and we did a good job with the game plan. Defense won us the game."

"It's so special, especially for a kid like Trevor," Point Beach coach Nick Catania said. "He came in as a freshman on varsity and I was on him. I probably wasn't his best friend, but he stuck with it, bought in and now we have a great relationship. He's turned himself into one helluva player and a leader for us."

Traore has also played like an elite scorer since joining the lineup on Jan. 16. He led Point Beach with 24 points in Tuesday's win over Pinelands as well - a game in which Traore, Frauenheim and Covey each scored at least 20 and combined for 65 points.

"Mo is an impact guy and a big-time player," Catania said. "Yeah, he's going to help us in these big games, but every game is a different game."

While the No. 11 seed Garnet Gulls put up 73 points in Tuesday's win and won by a 16-point margin over the Wildcats, they were unhappy with the start of that game and resolved to come out stronger against Colts Neck. After giving up 19 points in the first quarter on Tuesday, Point Beach jumped out to a 6-0 lead, led 17-10 after a quarter and built a 24-12 lead by the five-minute mark of the second quarter.

Colts Neck continued to fight back and pulled within four points on two occasions, including 28-24 early in the third quarter. At that point, however, the Gulls hit the Cougars with an 16-2 run to open up their largest leed of the game, 44-26.

Traore and Frauenheim combined for four three-pointers on four consecutive possessions to close out that 16-2 run. Traore hit the first three of those threes and scored 12 of his points during the spurt.

"Tonight highlights what Danny brings to a game," Catania said of Frauenheim. "It took Mo a little while to get going and once he did, they were plays off of Danny. Danny controlled the whole game, he's been doing it for four years and I think tonight showed you who Danny is."

Senior Dan Gaines led Colts Neck with 20 points and senior Ben Bosland chipped in 12 in the loss.

"People talk about Colts Neck's duo - I think we have a great trio," Catania said. "It's also a great duo that's been doing it for four years for us in Danny and Trevor. So they went out against guys that maybe get more hype than them and showed what they're made of."

Sunday's quarterfinal matchup with Rumson will be a rematch of a Jan. 13 meeting in Point Pleasant, which Rumson won, 54-50. Both teams were missing players that will play on Sunday - Point Beach with Traore and senior forward Chris Pina and Rumson with senior guard Jack Solano.

"Losing by four to Rumson last time, I think our team really played exceptionally well and I think we should have won that game," Covey said. "That one personally hurt a lot for me, but in the back of my mind, I knew we weren't 100 percent yet. We didn't have Mo, we didn't have Pina and those two guys are guys who gave us big minutes tonight. Having them is going to make a big difference."

 

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