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TOMS RIVER – Toms River South boys basketball coach John MacIntosh said he expects whatever dark hairs he has on top of his head to be white by the end of the season thanks to his collection of players this year, but if the results continue to mirror those of recent flavor for the Indians, those gray hairs are a small price to pay.

Khaleel Greene scored 19 points and sparked a third-quarter rally by Toms River South. (Photo by Matt Manley)

For the second time in their first three games of the season, Toms River South rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half, this time rallying to beat Monsignor Donovan, 64-61, Thursday in the WOBM Christmas Classic quarterfinals at Pine Belt Arena. They advance to face seventh-seeded Manchester in the semifinals on Saturday.

“These guys will drive me nuts all season with how they play for part of the game, but one thing about them is they will do anything to win a game, and they never give up,” MacIntosh said. “They’ve shown that nothing is going to keep them down and that will come in handy for us over the course of the season. In the meantime, though, we need to fix some things so we stop falling behind in these games.”

The Indians were six days removed from erasing a 12-point deficit with 4:30 left in the fourth quarter to beat Lacey, 53-51, on opening night. On Thursday, they fell behind Monsignor Donovan 51-41 with a little more than two minutes left in the third quarter before they made their move.

Toms River South went on a 12-0 run to close the third quarter, transforming a 10-point deficit into a 53-51 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Junior guard Khaleel Greene led the charge with nine points during that stretch alone and 11 of his game-high 19 points in the third quarter.

“One thing about me is I just like to win,” Greene said. “My main sport is football, but I love winning just as much in basketball and if I get a chance to help the team win, I love doing it. Marquis and Tymere are great players, and they get a lot of attention from the other team, so if I can step up and make plays, it makes us that much better.”

Greene converted a three-point play to cut the Griffins' lead to 51-44, hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to make it 51-50, then kicked a pass out to junior guard Tymere Berry for the go-ahead three in the final seconds of the quarter.

“Khaleel is the secret to our team,” MacIntosh said. “He does so many things over the course of the game that help us and scoring is only part of it. Today, he hit some big shots to get us back in the game, but another night it will be getting to a loose ball or disrupting the other point guard.”

Toms River South did not take the lead for good until early in the fourth quarter, when senior Marquis Davis knocked down his fourth 3-pointer of the game to put Toms River South ahead 56-53. Davis, Greene and Berry combined to hit 11 threes and scored 48 points. Greene finished with 19 points, Berry had 15 and Davis chipped in 14.

“With the way we can shoot the ball and the way we pressure on the other team’s guards, we believe we’re never out of a game,” Davis said.

Monsignor Donovan had two chances to tie the game in the final 6.7 seconds. Kyle Carrington was fouled on a three-point attempt by Indians senior Darrius Hart, but missed all three free throws.

After Berry missed a front end of a one-and-one and the ball was deflected out of bounds on the advancement attempt by the Griffins, Monsignor Donovan had one last chance with 0.5 seconds remaining. Senior guard Eamonn Kearney got off a fading three-point attempt from well beyond the arc, but the shot fell short.

“Kearney is such a tough player, and he’s a great point guard,” Davis said. “I love playing against him because he’s the kind of player that brings out the best in you.”

Toms River South will look to continue its strong start to the season following come-from-behind wins over Lacey and Monsignor Donovan, with a rout of Barnegat to open the WOBM Tournament mixed in. The Indians will play No. 7 Manchester, 74-56 winners over upstart Toms River East, on Thursday.

From Every Angle

Last season, senior guards Mason Jones and Damiun Moore accounted for a large portion of Manchester’s scoring. With the two standouts gone, the Hawks have had to rely on the efforts of many to replace that production, and it has worked out so far at the WOBM Classic.

All five Manchester starters scored in double-figures on Thursday in a 74-56 win over No. 15 seed Toms River East, led by senior guard and Matawan transfer KaShaun Barnes, who scored 20. The Hawks will now face third-seeded Toms River South in the semifinals on Saturday.

“I haven’t asked anybody to step up or fill any specific role,” Manchester coach Ryan Ramsay said. “I just want these guys to play hard and look to contribute to the team. If they go out and play together, the roles will work themselves out.”

Senior guard Darius Barlow contributed 13 points, while a trio of sophomores combined for 39 points. Forward Israel Almestica poured in 15 points, while Jordan Torney and Shavar Reynolds dropped in 12 apiece.

“This is a unique group because we’re starting three sophomores,” Ramsay said. “I like that because they have come in hungry and willing to learn, and they have really bought into what we’re trying to do, particularly on the defensive end. This is the best defensive team I’ve had in my nine years here, and that’s what makes me excited for this group going forward.”

Bench Press

Fifth-seeded Freehold Township rolled through its second straight WOBM Classic opponent on Thursday by beating No. 4 Red Bank Catholic, 75-65, thanks to another suffocating performance by its full-court pressure defense and a balanced scoring effort.

Four Patriots scored in double-figures and only two of those players started on Thursday. While starters Mike Alexander (11 points) and Jason Czajkowski (10) pulled their weight in scoring, Freehold Township’s two top offensive threats came off the bench. Senior Chris Talbott poured in 13 points off the bench while junior guard and Freehold Boro transfer Tyree Wilson scored a game-high 16. The Patriots advanced to face top-seeded Jackson Memorial in the semifinals on Saturday.

“Chemistry is one of those things you can preach about as a coach, but no matter how much you preach it, you have no idea if it’s going to sink in,” Freehold Township coach Brian Golub said. “Some of the most talented teams I’ve had had no chemistry and some of my lesser teams have had a lot of it. This group just loves playing with one another, and it’s a pretty good group of players, too.”

Talbott figures to be a starter at some point and has only sat to start the season because he missed practice in order to attend a baseball showcase, and team rules stipulate he must sit for two games. Wilson, meanwhile, had his best game as a Patriot so far after a solid sophomore season for the crosstown Colonials.

“Tyree has played with a lot of the guys on our team in AAU, so he’s been able to fit right in,” Golub said. “He’s a very talented scorer and athlete, but I’ve really liked how unselfish he is. We try to drill it into our guys' heads about making the extra pass, and he comes in with a grasp of that.”

After dominating a young Central team in the first round and overwhelming RBC in the quarterfinals, Freehold Township will face a new challenge in top-seeded Jackson Memorial, which sports more size and athleticism than either early-round opponent of the Patriots. In a 53-42 quarterfinal win over Point Boro, 6-foot-8 center Eric Carter scored 16 points while 6-7 junior Jesse Hill scored a team-high 18 points.

“We’re not going to be able to win the same way we’ve won the first two games,” Golub said. “Jackson is disciplined on both ends of the floor, and it’s going to be tough to get them to turn the ball over and speed up the game. Obviously, their size poses a major problem for us, but that’s a good thing. We’re going to find out about our team early on, and I think you always welcome that at this point in the season.”

 

Box Scores

Toms River South 64, Monsignor Donovan 61

1

2

3

4

F

Monsignor Donovan (2-1)

11

21

19

10

61

Toms River South (3-0)

12

17

24

11

64

Monsignor Donovan (61): Eamonn Kearney 2 4-5 9, Alex Morte 3 2-2 9, Tom Cerami 1 2-2 4, Sean Suskevich 5 0-0 12, Kyle Carrington 5 0-5 12, James Fata 3 0-0 7, Matt Migdon 1 0-1 3, Jimmy Cleveland 2 0-0 5, Zack Skesavage 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 8-15 61

Three-pointers: Kearney, Morte, Suskevich 2, Carrington 2, Fata, Migdon, Cleveland

Toms River South (64): Marquis Davis 5 0-2 14, Khaleel Greene 6 3-3 19, Darius Hart 3 0-0 6, Tyler Fall 2 0-0 4, Tymere Berry 4 4-8 15, Francis Hearn 3 0-1 6, John Timmes 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 7-14 64

Three-pointers: Davis 4, Green 4, Berry 3

Fouled Out: Fall

Manchester 74, Toms River East 56

1

2

3

4

F

Toms River East (2-1)

9

7

15

25

56

Manchester (2-1)

17

15

14

28

74

Toms River East (56): Carlos Lingat 0 0-0 0, C.J. Hirschy 7 8-9 22, Jon Meola 0 0-1 0, Nat Amadeo 1 5-6 7, Jerry Caporale 1 0-0 2, Ryan West 2 0-2 5, Phil Lingat 2 3-4 7, Pat Saunders 3 4-8 10, Justin Gant 0 0-0 0, Bailey Engelhard 1 1-2 3, Nick Lorenca 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 21-32 56

Three-Pointers: West

Manchester (74): Darius Barlow 4 3-4 13, Shavar Reynolds 3 5-8 12, Israel Almestica 7 1-1 15, KaShaun Barnes 5 8-10 20, Jordan Torney 6 0-0 12, Robert Planter 1 0-0 2, Devin Tomei 0 0-0 0, Malcolm Allen 0 0-0 0, L.J. Robinson 0 0-0 0, Shaquille Benjamin 0 0-0 0, Connor Lynch 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 17-23 74

Three-Pointers: Barlow 2, Reynolds, Barnes 2

Fouled Out: Planter

Freehold Township 75, Red Bank Catholic 65

1

2

3

4

F

Freehold Twp. (3-0)

18

20

15

22

75

Red Bank Catholic (1-2)

13

18

15

19

65

Freehold Twp. (75): Jason Czajkowski 4 2-2 10, Kyle Czajkowski 3 0-0 7, Brian Dziobak 2 0-0 4, Mike Alexander 4 3-3 11, Dan Saunders  3 0-0 6, Jordan McGill 3 2-3 8, Chris Talbott 5 2-2 13, Tyree Wilson 7 1-3 16. Totals: 31 10-13 75

Three-Pointers: K. Czajkowski, Talbott, Wilson

Fouled Out: Dziobak

Red Bank Catholic (65): Joe Montano 1 0-0 2, Liam Byrne 1 0-0 3, Quenton Nelson 4 6-8 14, Kevin Fazio 4 1-3 9, Eddie Hahn 5 2-3 13, Evan Madigan 3 0-0 7, Colin Shaughnessy 1 2-2 4, Tommy Montano 2 2-5 6, Kyle Jeffery 3 0-0 7, Tim O’Hara 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 13-21 65

Three-Pointers: Byrne, Hahn, Madigan, Jeffery

Fouled Out: Hahn

Jackson Memorial 53, Point Boro 42

1

2

3

4

F

Point Boro (1-2)

7

11

7

17

42

Jackson Memorial (3-0)

14

7

15

17

53

Point Boro (42): John Venturi 2 2-2 7, Jack Fitzsimmons 1 0-0 2, Bryan Byington 1 2-2 4, Wil Bocanfuso 1 2-2 4, Peyton Wejnert 7 7-9 23, Mike Larson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 13-15 42

Three-pointers: Venturi, Wejnert 2

Fouled Out: Byington

Jackson Memorial (53): C.J. Blue 2 3-9 7, Eddie Landi 0 0-0 0, Eric Carter 6 4-11 16, Jesse Hill 8 0-0 18, Marcus Ademilola 2 0-0 6, Gino Palummo 0 3-4 3, Jimmy Markham 1 0-0 3. Totals: 19 10-24 53

Three-Pointers: Hill 2, Ademilola 2, Markham