Boys Basketball – SSN Player of the Week Vote, Week Eight
Each week, Shore Sports Network nominates a group of players as the Shore Sports Network Player of the Week, sponsored by Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey, and the SSN readers will have a chance to pick the winner. Below are the players of the week from the six Shore Conference divisional, plus two wild card candidates from which to choose for this week’s honor. Voting ends at midnight on Wednesday.
Class A North Player of the Week
Dan Gaines, Colts Neck
Colts Neck surged into the top 10 of the Shore Conference with two wins last week, highlighted by a 72-46 rout of Neptune. Gaines helped lead the way in both games and he had arguably the best game of his breakout junior season in the win over Neptune. He matched a season-high with 27 points and did so on 12-for-16 shooting from the field. The junior guard also scored 19 in a win over Freehold Boro on Feb. 7.
Class A Central Player of the Week
Mike Simuro, Holmdel
Holmdel needed a win last week to secure a Shore Conference Tournament berth and the Hornets did one better and picked up two. Simuro led Holmdel with 19 points in a 60-40 win over Matawan to open the week, which was the win that locked up a spot in the tournament for the Hornets. He also contributed nine points to a balanced offensive effort that helped the Hornets down Red Bank on Friday.
Class A South Player of the Week
Trevor Zabilowicz, Toms River East
Jackson Memorial just missed qualifying for the Shore Conference Tournament and the Jaguars can thanks Zabilowicz as much as anyone. The Raiders junior hit a three-pointer with five seconds left to give Toms River East a 50-48 win over Jackson Memorial on Feb. 7 in Jackson. The shot capped an 11-point fourth quarter for Zabilowicz, who finished with a team-high 18 points in the game.
Class B North Player of the Week
Marc Dennis, Long Branch
The Green Wave head into the Shore Conference Tournament on a high note thanks to a 3-0 week, led by its sophomore point guard. Dennis scored 20 points in a big win over Red Bank Catholic on Friday, which denied the Caseys an outright Class B North championship. Dennis came back with a career performance in a triple-overtime win over Neptune, which included 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists in the win over the Scarlet Fliers.
Class B Central Player of the Week
Elijah Barnes, Mater Dei Prep
Barnes is in the midst of the best stretch of his career and that was on full display last week with four more standout performances for the streaking Seraphs. The Princeton signee scored 21 points to go with eight rebounds in a huge win over Ranney – the first of two 20-plus-point games. Barnes put up 24 points and 11 rebounds and scored 21 points in a rout of East Orange on Sunday. He also logged 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in a win over Point Beach on Friday.
Class B South Player of the Week
Dorian Vaughn, Lakewood
Vaughn had a pair of big games on consecutive nights, which ignited the Piners to a 3-0 that clinched them their seventh straight outright division title. The senior rained down 19 points in a win at Donovan Catholic on Feb. 6 and scored 20 on four three-pointers the next night in a win over Barnegat.
Ahmadu Sarnor, Ranney
After the Panthers lost to Mater Dei on Feb. 6, they bounced back with two divisional wins to capture a share of the program’s first division title. Sarnor scored 20 points in a win over Henry Hudson and dropped 24 in a win over St. Rose. The sophomore then hit the game-winning shot on Sunday in a thrilling win over Newark East Side – arguably the program’s biggest win ever considering East Side was a top-five ranked team in the state by NJ.com.
Josh Cohen, CBA
The Colts held their own despite sophomore Liam Kennedy’s absence thanks, in large part, to the play of another sophomore. Cohen scored 20 or more points twice last week, including 20 in a 16-point win over Neptune and 21 in a win over RBC – which was the game in which Kennedy returned to the lineup.