After entering the 2017-18 season with lofty expectations, the Christian Brothers Academy basketball team last week faced the prospect of potentially dropping to two games under .500 and falling a leg back in the Shore Conference Class A North division race.

Instead, CBA took on its two primary contenders for the A North title and won two games that suggest the Colts have the big-game chops to go with a balanced collection of talent.

CBA won thrilling games against Colts Neck and Neptune last week - both of which are ranked in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - to seize early control of the A North race and also earn this week's honor as the Jersey Mike's Team of the Week.

Colts Neck entered play on Jan. 9 undefeated with CBA coming to its gym. The Cougars battled CBA for four quarters and two overtimes, with senior guard Ben Bosland hitting three huge shots to extend the game. In the end, though, CBA pulled out a 72-69 road win over its A North rival to avoid dipping under .500 overall and remain undefeated in Class A North play. Junior Stephen Braunstein led the way with 19 points and senior Nolan Madden and Liam Kennedy each scored 16, with Madden hitting a clutch three-pointer to give CBA a 63-61 in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

Two days after the thrilling win at Colts Neck, CBA fell behind a determined Neptune team, 27-15, at halftime. The Colts came out of the locker room a new team, outscoring the Scarlet Fliers, 17-5, in the third quarter to pull even by the start of the fourth and gutted out a 43-42 win over their longtime Shore Conference rival.

Braunstein and Madden again led the way for CBA, with Braunstein scoring 16 and Madden adding 11.

Following its big two-win week, CBA is up to No. 5 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 and is currently 7-3 overall after wins over Marlboro and Manalapan so far this week. The Colts will play in the Shoot Down Cancer Showcase Saturday at St. Augustine, where they will take on an 8-4 Eastern team that has high aspirations for the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV Tournament come March.

 

2018 Team of the Week Winners

Week 2: Rumson-Fair Haven

Week 1: Manasquan

 

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