The Shore Daily, 1/11/15
Follow Scott Stump on Twitter for news and notes from around the Shore.
The 15th annual Boardwalk Hoop Group Showcase at Long Branch on Saturday left much to discuss in the aftermath of a five-game slate that featured a big upset, a dominant St. Anthony squad, a huge individual performance, and a hard-fought final game. It also was a huge weekend for Howell wrestling, while there were some other big matches on Saturday that I will get to below.
Here are eight things we learned from Saturday's Boardwalk Showcase action:
1. A sophomore could be the key to Neptune's season.
The Scarlet Fliers haven't had a real go-to scorer for much of the season during a slow start that featured four single-digit losses. However, in the last two games, Barry Brown, a sophomore guard who transferred from Cardinal McCarrick, has shown flashes that he could be that guy with 19 points in a loss to Red Bank Catholic on Thursday and then 18 in a big 50-44 takedown of previously undefeated Lakewood on Saturday.
He is a knockdown shooter who also showed the ability to get into the lane and get to the foul line on Saturday. When he is drawing some attention, it opens things up for clean looks by Neptune's two other top shooters, senior twins Kerry and Keishawn Kirkwood. Coach Joe Fagan is still looking for consistent play from his interior players, who got overwhelmed on the boards by Lakewood at times, but Brown's development could make Neptune into a dangerous team come tournament time despite its 3-5 start.
2. Brendan Barry should be talked about as one of the top juniors in the Shore.
While CBA's Pat Andree deservedly gets most of the attention as the flagship player in the Shore for the Class of 2016, Barry is also putting himself into the conversation. He has become one of the Shore's top scorers for Rumson-Fair Haven and attracted interest from Ivy League programs like Princeton and Brown. He poured in a Boardwalk-record 34 points in a 57-42 wipeout of Point Beach on everything from catch-and-shoot threes, 3-pointers off the dribble, drives into the lane, and runners off the dribble. He has a wide arsenal and moves well without the ball. He's a little undersized, but plays with toughness and uses his quickness to his advantage.
3. The best guard in Monmouth County doesn't go to school in Monmouth County.
Marlboro resident Jagan Mosely, another highly-touted junior, would be a major star if he played in the Shore. As it is, he is a key cog on perennial juggernaut St. Anthony, which flattened CBA 60-35. Mosely had 11 points in the win, including a few dazzling finishes.
His older brother, former St. Anthony guard Cheddi Mosely, is currently a freshman guard at Boston University, and Jagan has offers from Boston University, Brown and Fairfield as well as interest from Stanford, Princeton and Harvard because he is also an outstanding student. St. Anthony has been clipping Monmouth County for some top guards in recent seasons, as it nabbed the Mosely brothers, who are from the Morganville section of Marlboro, and the Friars' captain last year was Tarin Smith, a guard from Ocean Township who now plays for Nebraska.
4. Manasquan may be the deepest team in the Shore.
The Warriors were without two starters in the frontcourt, seniors Aidan McMenaman and Kyle Bradshaw, due to injury and Bradshaw's ejection from a game on Friday, but still pulled out a 42-40 win over Matawan. You have to think when the Warriors finally get everyone out there together regularly, they should be a real threat to make a run in the Shore Conference and state tournaments. They have a knockdown shooter in junior Jack Sheehan, a versatile scorer in senior Luke O'Shaughnessy, a rebounding machine and shot-blocker as well as a solid scorer in junior Ryan Jensen, plus two other scorers up front in McMenaman and Bradshaw and some solid bench players. I would put them right up there with Red Bank Regional as far as having a lot of players who can hurt you on a given night.
5. Dan Largey is one of the Shore Conference's most improved players.
The Shore Regional senior has now scored 20-plus points in seven of eight games this season after dropping 25 in a rout of winless Long Branch. He also has worked hard to improve his body to be more physical on drives in the paint, and he is a little unorthodox to defend because he is a lefty. He can score from all over the floor, so the question is really whether there is enough around him and seniors Kevin Bloodgood and Jack Byrne for the Blue Devils to be a postseason factor.
6. Lakewood has some kinks to work out.
Whatever the previous Boardwalk Showcase record was for missed lay-ups, Lakewood obliterated it in the 50-44 loss to Neptune for the first blemish on its record this season. On the bright side, the Piners played poorly but were right in it until the end despite being down 17-2 and 24-6 in the first half. They annihilated Neptune on the offensive boards but had little to show for it because they couldn't get any putbacks to fall. They also had several drives right down the lane that resulted in missed lay-ups. Patience will be a key going forward as sometimes they get so sped up that their shot selection is brutal, but they always play hard, so it's more a question of just execution rather than effort. They are still a team I think will be right there in the end in both the SCT and sectional tournaments.
7. Point Beach is still trying to mesh all the new parts.
Rumson-Fair Haven coach Chris Champeau pretty much summed it up after the game when he was saying he was glad the Bulldogs got them early in the season. The Garnet Gulls essentially are integrating a whole new team on the fly, with three transfers as well as freshman guard Danny Frauenheim all trying to get on the same page with holdovers like seniors Mike Frauenheim and Chris Schifano. At times, their offense looks smooth, but other times it looks very disjointed. The three transfers - forward Jesse Hill and guards Jimmy Panzini and Mike Rice - have been up and down as they all try to get some sense of rhythm. Point Beach had 20 turnovers in the loss to Rumson and just never got comfortable in any way, which is also a testament to Rumson's attacking defense. The good news is that it's still early for the defending SCT champs, but they are going to need to establish clear roles for their personnel going forward so everyone isn't trying to do everything or hesitant over what they should be doing.
8. Matawan has to find some help outside its big two.
You can pretty much mark it down that Matawan is going to see triangle-and-two defenses against senior guards Jason Dunne and Joe Piscopo the rest of this season until someone else steps up as a scoring threat. One possible bright spot is 3-point specialist Pat Hennessey, a sophomore who came off the bench and buried three 3-pointers in the loss with Manasquan focused on Dunne and Piscopo. Matawan had a rough week, going 0-3, and needs to find some answers soon in a tough Class B North division if it is going to have a realistic shot to defend its Central Jersey Group II title.
As for the non-Boardwalk action on Saturday, two quick things of note. Southern junior Peyton Wejnert exploded for a career-high 39 points, the highest total in the Shore this year, in a win over Toms River South that ended a two-game skid for the Rams. Also, Howell beat Point Boro on a putback at the buzzer by Will Kocsis to improve to 5-4 and tie its win total from all of last season.
And finally, here are some superlatives from Saturday's Boardwalk action.
Neptune junior forward Marcque Ellington goes full Harlem Globetrotters with this one against Lakewood. Loses control, the ball practically comes down with snow on it - nothing but net.
St. Anthony junior Taurean Thompson gets CBA's Pat Andree off his feet, goes baseline and yams one.
Congrats to Matawan senior Jason Dunne, as the University of Hartford recruit became the first Shore Conference player to hit the 1,000-point mark this season when he nailed a 3-pointer in the third quarter against Manasquan.
On the wrestling side, there was a big match in the morning to start the day and a big one to end it as Howell capped an impressive weekend. Long Branch knocked off Wall, 32-28, on Saturday morning to all but wrap up the Class B North title as the Green Wave showed their seemingly bottomless depth that keeps them in the hunt no matter who graduates.
Howell then drove home its status as the Shore Conference's No. 1 team with a 29-21 win over No. 3 Southern to give the Rebels convincing wins over two of the top four teams in the Shore in two days after routing CBA on Friday.
One other match of note was Middletown North's 43-25 win over Ocean, which marked the first time the Lions have beaten the Spartans in a dual in 10 years.
More on Sunday:
- No. 1 Roselle Catholic routed Patrick School 61-39 in a showdown of top-five teams in the state, one day after Patrick School found out it was officially banned from the NJSIAA Tournament because of five ejections that happened in a game in California. Roselle Catholic ended the game on a 30-7 run. Yikes. At least nobody got ejected.
- Middletown North grad Shilique Calhoun, a star defensive end at Michigan State, announced Sunday morning that he is staying put and not entering the NFL Draft.
- North Carolina tight end Jack Tabb (Red Bank Catholic) had two catches for 23 yards for the National all-stars in a 26-14 win over the American all-stars in Saturday's Medal of Honor Bowl at The Citadel in South Carolina. There were 120 NFL scouts in attendance between the week of practice and gameday. Our old friend and great photographer, Cliff Lavelle, was there to capture the action.
- No catches for tight end Wall/Rutgers grad Tim Wright in the Patriots' 35-31 win over Ravens, but the good news is that he is now one step away from playing in a Super Bowl. Saturday was all about Rob Gronkowski, who had 7 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Two fun facts about Gronk: His right-hand man's actual name is Robert Goon, and Gronk bought a school bus from a church that he tricked out into a party vehicle named the Sinners Bus.
- Book recommendation: Command and Control by Eric Schlosser. Reading this, it's basically a miracle that we haven't had an accidental nuclear explosion in this country, including one that almost happened near Jackson in 1960. It goes through the history of nuclear weapons in the U.S. while telling the blow-by-blow story of how a dropped socket wrench in an Arkansas missile silo in 1980 almost resulted in a 9-megaton bomb going off that would have essentially obliterated the entire state.
On tap for today: Swiffering floors, cleaning my bathroom and dealing with this grocery list left by my wife. Maybe Bed, Bath & Beyond. I don't know. I don't know if I'll have time.
Coming up: Some good divisional boys basketball games on Monday. The big one is Red Bank Catholic heading to Colts Neck at 6:30 in a Class B North showdown of Top 10 teams.
Shore Regional also travels to Manasquan for a key Class A Central game as Manasquan tries to consolidate its hold on first place. A Middletown South team that has won four out of five travels to Freehold Township in Class A North, and a Middletown North team fresh off an upset win over Manalapan travels to No. 1 CBA in A North.
Finally, I will leave you with all the dunks from Saturday's Showcase, otherwise known as the St. Anthony highlight reel + Jesse Hill.