Brendan Barry Scores a Showcase-Record 34 Points to Lead Rumson Past Point Beach
LONG BRANCH - In the middle of torching Point Beach at the Boardwalk Hoop Group Showcase on Saturday, Rumson-Fair Haven junior guard Brendan Barry sat on the bench and sensed something wasn't right with his left eye.
After poking around, he realized he had been wearing two contact lenses on the same eye for a chunk of the game after he thought he had lost one and put another one in. To everyone else at Long Branch High School, his eyesight looked just fine as he drained four 3-pointers on his way to exploding for a Boardwalk Showcase-record 34 points in a 57-42 nondivisional win over Point Beach (5-3) to cap a 3-0 week for the Bulldogs (6-2).
"One (contact lens) got stuck up in there when I thought it was out,'' Barry said. "It just kind of threw me off for a minute."
Barry's 34 points in the 15th edition of the Boardwalk Showcase bested the previous single-game scoring mark of 30 points set by former St. Benedict's Prep star Corey Stokes, who went on to play at Villanova.
"I was joking with him that he could've had almost 40 points if he hadn't missed free throws because he was having problems with his contacts but didn't want to come out,'' said Rumson coach Chris Champeau. "He's just really worked hard to improve."
An eyewear malfunction was the only thing that stopped Barry, as everything he worked hard to improve during the offseason was on full display in the win over the Garnet Gulls. Whether it was keeping his stamina while running through a blizzard of picks, finding open spots in transition and knocking down shots, or going hard to the rim when defenders tried to close him out at the 3-point line, he was not only effective but also efficient. He was 8-for-14 from the field, including 4-for-7 from 3-point range.
"He's definitely embraced the role (of being Rumson's top scorer) and stepped up,'' Champeau said. "He's got so many different tools and things he can do. He gained 20 pounds, and he's 6-1 now. He still looks skinny, but he's got sneaky burst and he can get by you. I think his strength and quickness have gotten better."
"I knew that I had to step it up for us to win and that we needed a No. 1 option,'' Barry said. "I just worked on getting stronger and getting in shape so that when I'm tired I can still produce."
Barry scored 17 first-half points to give the Bulldogs a 27-23 lead at the break before they blew the game open in the third quarter. He nailed a pair of threes and had 10 third-quarter points as Rumson outscored Point Beach 17-4 in the period to balloon the lead to 44-27. Through three quarters, Barry single-handedly tied Point Beach's entire team, as he had 27 points going into the fourth.
"He's just a knockdown shooter and an all-around scorer,'' said Rumson's Thomas Famulary, who had nine points in the win. "We know everyone is focusing on him in every game so it's going to give me and other guards opportunities to score."
After being worn down by a physical Matawan team in a loss in last year's Central Jersey Group III final, Barry has also worked hard on getting stronger and keeping his stamina while running defenders off multiple picks in halfcourt sets.
"Teams are usually just faceguarding me with one of their best defenders and trying to stop me from getting the ball, and that's where my teammates do a good job of setting picks and getting me open,'' Barry said.
"Everyone face guards him, and everyone is going to send their toughest guard at him,'' Champeau said. "A couple of people have thrown a box-and-one at us, but he's so crafty. We run a million screens for him. Last year that wore him down trying to get open like a Reggie Miller. But now he's stronger and can finish the game."
Rumson's defense also helped create opportunities for Barry to get open looks in transition because the Bulldogs forced 20 turnovers that allowed them to push the ball for much of the game.
"That happened a lot last year during the state run (to the Central Jersey Group II final),'' Barry said. "We would push it in transition against Lakewood and Willingboro, and I would be open on the wing and just let it fly."
"Our pressure creates our offense,'' Champeau said. "If they get us in a halfcourt set, then they can focus on trying to stop him. But if we can get them going up and down, it's a different story."
Barry, who is a 90 percent free throw shooter, then went 7-for-8 from the line in the fourth quarter to ice the win and register his second 30-point game this season. He was able to get into the lane and create contact with defenders trying to crowd him behind the arc.
"They know I can shoot, so when they run up on me, I have to be able to drive by,'' he said.
It's not just Shore Conference basketball followers who have noted Barry's improvement, either. He said he is getting interest from Princeton and Brown University, and Champeau said several Patriot League teams are starting to follow him.
"Coaches are saying he's a throwback,'' Champeau said. "So smart and crafty."
Rumson-FH 57, Point Beach 42
Pt. Beach (42): M. Frauenheim 2 2-4 7, Schifano 1 0-0 3, Panzini 5 1-2 11, Rice 1 1-1 3, Hill 3 1-2 7, D. Frauenheim 2 0-2 5, Sheehan 0 0-0 0, Covey 2 1-2 6, Pestlowski 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 6-13 42.
Rumson-FH (57): Barry 8 13-17 34, Geiger 1 1-2 4, Famulary 2 5-8 9, Luby 1 0-1 2, Ferrare 0 0-0 0, Maguire 1 0-2 2, Schluter 1 3-4 6, McCallister 0 0-0 0, Reid 0 0-0 0, McCann 0 0-0 0, Morales 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 22-34 57.
Pt. Beach (5-3) 16 7 4 15 - 42
Rumson (6-2) 15 12 17 13 - 57
Three-pointers: (R) Barry 4, Geiger, Schluter. (P) M. Frauenheim, Schifano, D. Frauenheim, Covey. Fouled out: (P) Schifano.