Boys Basketball – SSN Army Strong Team of the Week: Toms River North
Toms River North's run of dominance to end the season is an obvious example of why this year's Mariners team is the best in program history, but to get a complete picture of this team, look at what it took to beat Toms River North this year.
The Mariners' season ended Tuesday at the hands of Shawnee in the South Jersey Group IV championship game, the first ever appearance in a sectional final for Toms River North. It took the Renegades triple overtime to finally put away the Mariners, whose run to their first ever sectional final earned them the final Army Strong Team of the Week Award in 2017.
The loss was just the third of Toms River North's record-breaking season, which also included 28 wins - the most in school history. The first of the other two losses was to Freehold Township (25-3) in the WOBM Christmas Classic final in December with senior point guard Darrion Carrington still getting over a knee injury he suffered at the end of football season just three weeks earlier.
The other loss on Toms River North's resume came against Shore Conference Tournament champion Mater Dei Prep (25-4) - a game in which Toms River North held an early 24-14 lead and had the ball down 69-68 with 20 seconds left.
The narrow defeat at the hands of Mater Dei toughened Toms River North up for the state tournament, which the Mariners made their playground over the first three rounds. They stomped both Vineland and Millville in the first two rounds of the tournament by an average of 27 points, then took out fourth-seeded Cherokee, 63-49, to reach the program's first ever sectional final.
The landmark 2016-17 season also included a second straight undefeated season in Class A South, which extended Toms River North's divisional winning streak to 32 games. The ensuing trip to the SCT semifinals was the third straight for the program and fourth in the last five years.
Continuing this run next year will be difficult without the accomplished senior trio of Jaden Rhoden, Mike Nyisztor and Carrington. Nyisztor and Carrington were present for each of the last three SCT semifinal trips and A South championships, while Rhoden transferred from Central for the last two. Coach Rory Caswell showed his program could reload after a successful 2012-13 season and with juniors Holden Petrick and Travis Holland leading the group of returnees, Toms River North will remain a factor in A South.
2017 Team of the Week Winners
Week 9: Mater Dei Prep
Week 8: Marlboro
Week 7: Freehold Township
Week 6: Brick
Week 5: CBA
Week 4: Donovan Catholic
Week 3: Ranney
Week 2: Rumson-Fair Haven
Week 1: Ocean