The Shore Daily, 1/7/15
Welcome to a new feature here on ShoreSportsNetwork.com called The Shore Daily, a regular round-up of links, news, tidbits and opinions on Shore Conference sports and beyond that will appear every day.
I aim for this to be a quick-hit resource to catch up on anything you might have missed, find out the latest with Shore Conference athletes at the college level and above, and get links to plenty of other news and notes. Anyone who has something they think should be included can email me any time at email@example.com or tweet them to me @Scott_Stump.
I'll start with a great night of Shore Conference basketball on Tuesday, where I took in Toms River North's 65-60 win over Southern at Pine Belt Arena behind a huge night by senior center Jordan Craig. One of the most athletic big men in the Shore Conference, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Craig had his first breakout game of the season after finishing last year racking up one double-double after another. This clip pretty much sums up his athleticism.
However, Craig's future is in football, where he was a standout tight end for the Mariners. With National Signing Day looming on Feb. 4, he is still undecided, with offers from Buffalo, Maine and Central Connecticut State and others showing some late interest. He said he currently has no timetable for a decision and remains the top uncommitted senior in the Shore Conference.
As far as the basketball side of things, you can read the story and watch the videos of Craig's performance as well as strong showings by Mike Nyisztor, Pat Marinaccio and Darrion Carrington. Nyisztor, by the way, has one of the purest jumpers I've seen this year. When he is squared up, it looks like it's going in every time.
One thing that stuck out to me was a postgame comment by Mariners' coach Rory Caswell about the heightened atmosphere in general. The Rams and Mariners are both ranked in the top five in the most recent Shore Sports Network Top 10, which is rare for a pair of Class A South teams in recent seasons. The last current Class A South team to win a Shore Conference Tournament title was Toms River South in 1982.
"Not only is it a big win for us, but just for A South,'' Caswell said. "It's been a long time since A South has had two top-tier teams. It's been us or Jackson the last few years, but we're really trying to show that we're trying to get rid of that stigma of Monmouth over Ocean County. We've won two straight Shore Conference Tournaments (Lakewood in 2012 and Point Beach in 2013), and we're trying to change that (stereotype) around. A couple of years ago it wasn't like that, so this is great for A South."
There also is a great photo gallery of the game by Larry Murphy of Sports Pix NJ.
No. 1 Christian Brothers Academy kept its grip on Class A North with a hard-fought win over Manalapan last night. Even though the Colts have stumbled in some nonconference games, I still think they are the team to beat in the Shore Conference. They will get another big test on Saturday in their annual nonconference showdown with perennial power St. Anthony at the Boardwalk Showcase at Long Branch High School.
Matt Manley took in Red Bank Regional's lop-sided win over Matawan, where a scary night for Huskies' star Jason Dunne overshadowed the game. Thankfully, he is out of the hospital and recovering.
A few other quick items from Tuesday. St. John Vianney and Howell are well on their way to surpassing last season's win totals. The Rebels are already 4-3 under coach Pat Ramsay after going 5-19 last season, as they knocked off Freehold Boro. The return of Gino Palummo from Jackson Memorial has clearly helped a team that already had some quality returners. That's Will Kocsis, who dropped 21 in the win, pictured below. You can check out a great photo gallery from the game by Larry Murphy here.
As for the Lancers, they took care of Holmdel behind 22 points from Zach Howarth and 16 from Grant Goode to improve to 5-2 under coach Matt Conklin after going 8-16 last season. Goode and Howarth are right up there among the top scoring duos in the Shore. Wall is also off to a 4-2 start with a veteran team under new coach Matt Kukoda after winning 10 games last season.
Keep an eye on Colts Neck, which quietly took over first place in the competitive Class B North early in the season with a one-point win over Neptune, which is the unofficial Shore Conference leader in excruciating, single-digit losses this season. Senior guard Chris O'Reilly and junior guard Lloyd Daniels have the Cougars in the mix to reclaim their usual spot in the Top 10 after being under the radar last season with a young team.
Always interesting to see which players make the leap from solid complementary roles to become top scorers and the centerpiece of the offense. Looks like Rumson-Fair Haven guard Brendan Barry has made that step this season, as he had another big game with 25 points in a 56-46 win over Shore in Class A Central.
More from today:
- Go to WaWa, Surf Taco or Shore Conference high schools to grab your copy of the latest Shore Sports Network Journal now. It should fit right in your budget at the low price of FREE thanks to our sponsors.
- Perennial power Patrick School may be banned from the NJSIAA Tournament by rule after having five players ejected during a tournament in California over the holidays.
- Watch Middletown North graduate Jason Huelbig throw one down for Drew University over an opposing center. Great to see him doing well, given what he has gone through with an eye condition that has affected athletes like U.S. Olympic bobsledder Steven Holcomb and nearly ended Huelbig's career.
That looks awfully familiar. Oh yeah, that's right...
- North Carolina senior tight end Jack Tabb, a former Red Bank Catholic star, is getting ready for the Medal of Honor Bowl in South Carolina at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Our old friend and former All Shore Media photographer, Cliff Lavelle, is now retired and living in Charleston. He is shooting the game and snapped a photo of Tabb from practice. Tabb says hello to everyone back here at the Shore as he tries to earn himself a shot to make an NFL team this summer.
- Former Southern basketball star Kristen Sharkey has earned Mid-American Conference East Player of the Week for the University of Buffalo.
- Monmouth University has released its 2015 football schedule, with some MAC-tion in it.