Boys Basketball – SSN Top 10, Jan. 8
It is rare that a top 10 remains unchanged from one week to the next, and while this week’s installment is not completely identical to last week’s, it’s about as close as it gets. While Mater Dei and Ranney each have a loss, both are still a few steps away from falling out of the top two. Freehold Township, however, has done its best to position itself for a jump should either of those teams falter while also establishing itself as the Shore Conference’s premier public school team at this point in the season.
There is a little shuffling throughout the bottom half of the top 10, but for the most part, there’s not much new to report this week, other than a few more teams elbowing their way into the conversation.
1. Mater Dei Prep (7-1, 3-0) Last Week: 1
A 23-point loss to Patrick School revealed the Mater Dei is still a ways away from competing with the state’s best, but the Seraphs remain the favorite in the Shore Conference heading into a showdown with Ranney on Thursday.
2. Ranney (6-1, 3-0) Last Week: 2
The Panthers have quite the week coming up. They play St. Anthony at Brookdale on Tuesday, Mater Dei on the road on Thursday and Montclair Immaculate at the Jersey City Armory on Saturday. The week begins with a game against Asbury Park and it will be a tall order for the Panthers to get through the week 2-2.
3. Freehold Township (9-0, 4-0) Last Week: 3
With wins over No. 4 Toms River North, No. 6 Manasquan and No. 8 CBA, Freehold Township has more than proven that it is worthy of the No. 3 spot. The Patriots have run their streak to nine wins to open the season and are holding opponents to under 39 points per game.
4. Toms River North (8-1, 3-0) Last Week: 4
Since dropping their only loss of the season to Freehold Township, Toms River North has bounced back with a pair of wins, including a Boardwalk Showcase win over CBA. On top of returning starters Jaden Rhoden, Mike Nyisztor and Darrion Carrington, juniors Travis Holland and Holden Petrick have jumped into the lineup and contributed right away.
5. Point Pleasant Beach (6-1, 3-1) Last Week: 5
After losing to Ranney by 35 points on opening night, Point Beach has gone to work on a six-game winning streak heading into a back-to-back against Keansburg and Manasquan to open this week. During this winning streak, the Garnet Gulls have earned tough wins over St. Rose, St. Peter’s of Staten Island and Union while getting steady point guard play from junior Danny Frauenheim.
6. Manasquan (6-2, 3-1) Last Week: 6
The Warriors played just one game this week and took down Middletown South. They continue to make do without senior guard Brian Paturzo thanks to Devin Jensen and solid play from sophomore Brad McCabe and senior Seamus Hogan. Manasquan has plenty on its plate this week, with games against Wall, Point Beach and Middletown North.
7. Rumson-Fair Haven (7-0, 3-0) Last Week: 10
The Bulldogs are the only team to climb this week and they do so after beating Red Bank and Marlboro to push their season-opening winning streak to seven. After A Central games against Holmdel and Shore, Rumson will play host to Point Beach on Saturday with a possible 10-game winning streak on the line for the Bulldogs.
8. Christian Brothers Academy (6-2, 3-1) Last Week: 7
Although the Colts’ three Shore Conference wins are against the three teams at the bottom of the A North standings, they have proven to be competitive while playing the likes of Freehold Township and Toms River North. With two sophomores leading the way, CBA will be a team to watch heading into the Shore Conference Tournament.
9. Lakewood (6-1, 4-0) Last Week: 9
The Piners continue to churn out Class B South wins and also have a quality win over Bloomfield Tech to go with the four B South wins. The win over Long Branch also carries some weight considering the Green Wave beat both Manasquan and Middletown North.
10. Central (7-1, 4-0) Last Week: 8
The Golden Eagles appear to be the primary competition for Toms River North in Class A South and have lost just once – to No. 1 Mater Dei Prep. With a senior-loaded team, Central looks like it could hang around in the top 10 and be a tough postseason out. That first shot against Toms River North will come on Thursday.
Top 10 Watch List
St. Rose (6-3, 4-1) – The Purple Roses have losses to three top-10 teams in No. 4 Toms River North, No. 5 Point Beach and No. 6 Manasquan.
Marlboro (6-2, 4-0) – With P.J. Ringel close to returning, the Mustangs are in good position to hit their stride as the A North schedule intensifies.
Neptune (5-3, 2-2) – Now on a four-game winning streak, Neptune has improved over the first month and will test itself further this week against CBA and Colts Neck.
Red Bank Catholic (5-3, 3-1) – While a few teams have beaten Middletown North while the Lions were missing Rob Higgins, the Caseys did so when the Lions were whole.
Ocean (7-2, 2-2) – The Spartans have won six straight and have a chance to extend the run to eight games against RBC and Monmouth this week.