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WALL – Some players might have tried to block out the jeers, the taunts and the chants calling for the next opponent during a 13-point fourth-quarter blowout, but Red Bank junior Sadiq Palmer took it all in and turned it against the Wall cheering section and their Crimson Knights basketball team.

Palmer scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and his Bucs – ranked No. 2 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 – overcame a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun Wall, 69-62, snapping the Crimson Knights’ eight-game winning streak and moving back into a tie for first place in the loss column with Wall and Colts Neck in Class B North.

Sadiq Palmer (left) scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter to lead Red Bank back from a double-digit deficit to beat streaking Wall. (Photo by Matt Manley)

“There was never a doubt,” Palmer said. “We played soft in the first half. It wasn’t anything they were doing on defense. It was on us.

“We didn’t care (what the score was). This team never gives up. We keep pushing and keep playing hard, no matter what the score is.”

Red Bank overcame a 48-33 deficit in the final minute of the third quarter by outscoring Wall 36-14 over the final eight-plus minutes. The Bucs scored on their first nine possessions of the fourth quarter – good for a 19-6 run over the first 5:39 of the period. Palmer’s putback with 3:05 left tied the game at 52 – the first tie since 7-7 in the first quarter – and his driving lay-up tied the game at 54 with 2:21 left after Wall’s Brendan Barcas put Wall back up, 54-52.

Palmer missed two free throws with 2:01 left that would have given Red Bank the lead, but he gathered a miss by Wall senior Joe Tashjy on the front end of a one-and-one and took the ball coast-to-coast to the rim, where he finished the go-ahead lay-up as he was fouled. After giving Red Bank its first lead of the game on that layup with 1:34 left, Palmer converted his first foul shot of the game after missing his first nine attempts.

“I love the crowd yelling at me, in football too,” said Palmer, whom the Wall student section reminded of his free-throw woes by chanting his foul-shooting stats each time he stepped to the line after his first four misses. “That helps me. It motivates me to play better knowing that by doing something good, I can make them quiet.”

Beginning with Palmer’s first make of the game, Red Bank shot 14-for-16 from the line over the final 1:34 to close out the victory. Senior Anthony Mitchell went 6-for-6 during that stretch and 8-for-8 in the fourth quarter en route to a 13-point game. The strong finish at the free-throw line atoned for a mere five makes in the Bucs’ first 15 attempts, including Palmer’s 0-for-9.

“We really grind people down over the course of the game, so by the time the fourth quarter comes, the other team is usually pretty tired,” Red Bank senior Tyler Christie said. “They were hitting some shots in the first half to get them that big lead, but we knew as the game wore on that those shots weren’t going to fall as often.”

Red Bank ratcheted up its full-court press in the fourth quarter and forced turnovers on Wall’s first three possessions. The Crimson Knights committed six turnovers in the fourth while shooting a respectable 4-for-9 from the floor. Wall did, however, shoot just 5-for-11 from the free-throw line in the final quarter.

“Believe it or not, we stayed in the same defense the whole game,” Red Bank coach Scott Martin said. “We just had a different intensity about us late in the game, and it really did look like a different team out there. It helps when shots are going in and we can get into our press and then once we started hitting those shots and creating chaos, I think they (Wall) started to tighten up a little bit and that fed our defense even more.”

The Bucs also dominated the glass, outrebounding the Knights 13-4 on the offensive glass and holding Wall without an offensive rebound in the second half.

“We have guys with long arms who have a nose for the ball on the offensive glass,” Martin said. “On the other end, Eddie Hendrex is a vacuum that sucks up defensive rebounds. We may not have a ton of size, but we’re a tough team on the glass.”

The torrid finish atoned for what Martin referred to as the worst half Red Bank has played this season. Wall took a 30-22 lead into the locker room and built it as high as 16 late in the third quarter thanks to a 14-4 run after Red Bank had pulled within 32-28.

Christie helped keep Red Bank afloat in the first half by scoring 12 of his team-high 19 points before the break.

“I feel like anyone on the team can do what I did tonight,” Christie said. “We have a bunch of guys who can lead the team in scoring on a given night and tonight, it just happened to be me.”

Barcas and fellow senior guard Trent Mitchell helped the Crimson Knights control the first half, with Mitchell scoring 14 of his game-high 23 points and Barcas contributing eight points and five assists. Barcas finished with 12 points, eight assists and three steals, but both he and Mitchell fouled out shortly after Red Bank took the lead.

Red Bank has lost only twice this season and both losses were to the same team. Red Bank Catholic beat the Bucs on Tuesday and back on Jan. 3, and Red Bank followed the first loss with a 28-point win over Matawan, and Tuesday’s loss by beating the team with the Shore’s longest winning streak. Red Bank edged Wall in the first meeting between the teams on opening night, 40-39, after being shutout in the first quarter, 12-0.

“Those were two very angry practices after we lost,” Christie said. “There was a lot of aggression and a lot of competition. This team is very focused and very motivated, so when we don’t play to the level we’re capable of, we come back and try to play our best game. It didn’t start that way tonight, but it finished that way.”

 

Box Score

Red Bank 69, Wall 62

1

2

3

4

F

Red Bank (10-2, 7-2)

7

15

13

34

69

Wall (9-3, 6-2)

13

17

18

14

62

 

Wall (62): Brendan Barcas 5 2-4 12, Ryan Janeczek 5 1-2 14, Joe Tashjy 3 0-1 7, Mike Andrejco 1 0-0 2, Trent Mitchell 5 9-11 23, Matt Andrejco 1 0-0 2, R.J. Janeczek 0 2-2 2, Jack O’Leary 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 14-20 62

Three-pointers: Ryan Janeczek 3, Tashjy, Mitchell 4

Fouled Out: Barcas, Mitchell

Red Bank (69): Anthony Mitchell 2 8-9 13, Jack Navitsky 0 3-4 3, Sadiq Palmer 7 1-10 15, Tyler Christie 8 1-1 19, Justin Gilson 1 4-4 7, Eddie Hendrex 2 0-0 4, Jimmy Ferrogine 3 2-3 8, Connor Kelly 0 0-0 0, Moses Birch 0 0-0 0, Matt Reardon 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 19-31 69

Three-pointers: Mitchell, Christie 2, Gilson