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BELMAR – Point Pleasant Beach senior Mike Frauenheim stepped onto the court at the McCann Activities and Athletics Center inside St. Rose High School Tuesday for his first athletic competition since breaking his collarbone during football season.

With the early shot St. Rose dealt the Garnet Gulls – ranked No. 6 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 – Frauenheim’s return could not have waited any longer.

Point Beach overcame a shaky first quarter to rally for a 53-44 road win over the Purple Roses in front of a capacity crowd at the MAAC.

Senior Mike Frauenheim scored 12 points in his first basketball action since breaking his collarbone in Oct. (Photo by Matt Manley)

“There are a lot of guys on this team who haven’t played in this kind of hostile environment before and having Michael and (senior returnee) Chris Schifano out there was huge,” Point Beach coach Nick Catania said. “Those guys were calming everyone down in the huddle when things weren’t going well and they made sure everyone knew to keep playing.”

Frauenheim hit his first shot attempt – a 3-pointer from the left corner – and finished with 12 points and three steals. The senior guard is one of two returning members of last year’s regular rotation, which helped the Garnet Gulls win a second consecutive NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I championship.

“It’s a new situation for a lot of guys on the team, so this is definitely a learning experience,” said Frauenheim, who transferred from Immaculata for his junior year last year. “I got a chance to play in so many big games last year, so I got a chance to experience the crowd and that feeling that everyone’s coming at you with their best shot. We got a dose of that today and I think the fact that we battled through it says a lot about this team.”

“Michael just got cleared for contact today and he got right out there,” Catantia said of Frauenheim, who broke his collarbone on Oct. 24. “He’s a warrior. We didn’t expect him back until mid-January, but here he is back two weeks before what we thought was the best-case scenario. It was the same thing last year when he hurt his wrist. The kid is a winner.”

After quickly falling behind 5-1, St. Rose rattled off an 18-2 run to close the first quarter and take a 19-7 lead into the second. During the first eight minutes, the Purple Roses shot 7-for-7 from the floor while limiting Point Beach to 3-for-13 shooting as part of a 5-for-26 first-half performance that also included 10 turnovers. Senior guard Nolan Slattery led the charge with 10 of his team-high 14 points.

“We just didn’t come out with enough intensity,” Frauenheim said. “It was really as simple as that. We knew what we had to do, but we just kind of went through the motions to start the game and after a while, we realized if we were going to come back, we had to start working a lot harder on the defensive end.”

Point Beach’s offensive struggles continued in the second quarter, but the Garnet Gulls ratcheted up their defense to get back in the game. St. Rose followed its perfect shooting quarter by going 6:20 without a point and shooting 2-for-9 from the field and 2-for-8 from the free-throw line in the quarter. The Garnet Gulls closed to within 24-19 at halftime.

Point Beach took the lead in the third with an 18-7 run over the duration of the quarter. The Garnet Gulls shot 6-for-10 from the field, including eight fast-break points off turnovers. Senior Jesse Hill threw down a dunk off a steal by Frauenheim and junior Jimmy Panzini coasted in for a lay-up to pull Point Beach within 29-28.

Junior Mike Rice then stole the ball on an inbounds pass and took it in for the go-ahead lay-up with 2:51 left in the quarter, the Gulls’ first lead since the opening minutes. Out of a timeout, Rice then finished a three-point play in transition to stretch the lead to 33-29.

“With the guys we have – the length and the athleticism – we feel like we can be an elite defensive team,” Hill said. “In a game like this, where the offense isn’t clicking the way we wanted too, we know we can turn to our defense. That was the message early in the game. We knew if we started defending, we were going to come back and win.”

Rice – a transfer from Red Bank – finished with 12 points, his second double-digit scoring performance to open the season. Hill also followed his 25-point opener Friday against Mater Dei Prep by leading the Garnet Gulls with 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

Hill transferred to Point Beach from Jackson Memorial for the school year and played in several big-game settings with the Jaguars – including two games against Point Beach. The first was a double-digit win by the Garnet Gulls at the Hoop Group Boardwalk Showcase and the second was a double-overtime win for Point Beach in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

In addition to Hill and Rice, Panzini and freshman Danny Frauenheim are also new to the team. Panzini transferred from national powerhouse St. Anthony’s while Frauenheim has made an early impression as a freshman. Each finished with seven points while playing impact defense.

“The new guys have been great for us so far,” Frauenheim said. “We had a great preseason even though I wasn’t playing and we feel like we’ve jelled pretty quickly. We’re still working to get better, but the expectations haven’t changed and they’re not going to change around here.”

The new faces are still jelling on offense, but the Garnet Gulls showed their defensive chops over the final 24 minutes on Tuesday.

“Offensively, we were awful,” Catania said. “To be fair though, a lot of the credit needs to go to St. Rose because they cause us a lot of problems that we hadn’t encountered to this point. I’m going to call this one a mulligan. I’m willing to be forgiving today, but that’s it. After today, there’s no excuse anymore.”

Several of former Point Beach players were in attendance while on winter break, including Notre Dame freshman Matt Farrell, Noah Yates, Riley Calzonetti, P.J. Kineavy and Jeff Bryant.

“When those guys show up to a game like this, it shows our current guys that the what they accomplished here means something to them, not just because of what they accomplished for themselves but what they want to leave behind,” Catania said. “They wanted to be part of something special and now this group is going after the same thing. That’s a really important part of the program.”


Box Score

Point Beach 53, St. Rose 44






Point Beach (2-0, 2-0)






St. Rose (1-2, 1-1)







Point Beach (53): Mike Rice 3 5-7 12, Mike Frauenheim 3 3-4 12, Jesse Hill 5 5-6 15, Chris Schifano 0 0-0 0, Jimmy Panzini 2 3-6 7, Danny Frauenheim 2 2-4 7, Ryan Sheehan 0 0-0 0, Trevor Covey 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 18-27 53

Three-pointers: Rice, M. Frauenheim 3, D. Frauenheim

St. Rose (44): Joe Forlenza 0 0-0 0, Nolan Slattery 4 6-6 14, John Krotulis 3 3-7 9, Matt Frost 4 1-3 9, Craig Suchecki 3 4-5 10, Mike Gowen 0 0-0 0, Bob Sun 0 0-0 0, Brendan Hueth 0 2-2 2, Billy Frost 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 16-23 44

Three-pointers: None