The Shore Daily, 1/9/15
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While there were some interesting results in Ocean County and a last-second thriller in Class B North on Thursday night, St. Rose boys basketball coach Dennis Devaney quietly hit a huge milestone with his 500th career victory in a win over Henry Hudson.
In typical understated Devaney fashion, it wasn't accompanied by much fanfare, but it certainly deserves to be recognized as a tremendous achievement. Now in his 29th season with the Purple Roses, Devaney has been a fixture in the Shore Conference landscape. The Purple Roses have always been competitive under Devaney and have won numerous division titles and made multiple runs to sectional finals and/or titles and Non-Public B finals before inevitably running into powerhouses like St. Anthony, Patrick School, and Trenton Catholic.
While much is made, deservedly so, of the accomplishments of brothers Ken and Bill Frank in the baseball realm, where they combined for 1,300-plus wins at Toms River South and Toms River East, Dennis and his younger brother, Sean, the coach at Holmdel, also have quietly put themselves up there with any sibling coaching tandem in Shore Conference history. Between the two of them, they are pushing 900 combined wins, but if you ever ask them how many wins they have or any personal accolades, they have no clue. They just love coaching basketball and don't even think about the individual stuff.
They are two old-school coaches who are also bitingly sarcastic. Watching and listening to them on the sidelines can be half the fun of covering their games, and they are both good tacticians who give opposing coaches headaches even when they are undermanned, talent-wise. As a former player myself who played against both St. Rose and Holmdel in the '90s, I hated playing those guys because they always made you work hard defensively and fight through a million picks on long, deliberate possessions while hounding you on the other end.
There is also one more Devaney brother, Billy, who is a former general manager of the St. Louis Rams and is now a player personnel scout with the Atlanta Falcons.
As for Thursday night's games, it was a competitive night in Class A South, while Colts Neck junior Lloyd Daniels continued to be Mr. Clutch for the Cougars in a win over Matawan with another last-second game-winner.
Brick Memorial handed No. 4 Southern its second straight loss and threw its name in the ring as a contender in Class A South with a 74-70 win. Aaron Scheiderman and Co. can fill it up, so they are a threat on any given night. Scoring has not been the issue for Southern led by the tandem of Peyton Wejnert and Jake Logue, but getting stops during crunch time has been an Achilles' heel.
Toms River South also nearly knocked off undefeated Toms River North after being blown out by the Mariners in the semifinals of the WOBM Christmas Classic. The Indians clearly made some adjustments the second time around and got a big night from senior guard Tymere Berry (25 points), but Toms River North pulled it out of the fire with a one-point win thanks to a clutch free throw by sophomore guard Darrion Carrington. Toms River East also got its first A South win with a double-OT thriller against Brick thanks to a 3-pointer by Ryan West. In the loss, Brick's Brian Oehme because the first Shore player this season to turn in a 20-20 effort with 20 points and 23 boards.
The game to watch coming up is RBC-Colts Neck on Monday after the Caseys dispatched of Neptune to set up a first-place showdown in Class B North with the Cougars.
One other game of note was Barnegat making a piece of school history under new coach Mike Puorro with its first win ever over Donovan Catholic, 67-60, thanks to a 27-point night by junior Nick Camarato in Class B South. Also, condolences to the family of Barnegat athletic director John Germano, whose father passed away last night.
More on Friday:
- The Shore Conference has a shot to have an alumnus in the Super Bowl for the second straight season after Middletown South grad Knowshon Moreno played in it for the Broncos last year. Wall and Rutgers grad Tim Wright is a tight end for the Patriots, who play the Ravens in the 4 o'clock game on Saturday. An undrafted free agent who played for Tampa Bay before being traded to New England, Wright has become a weapon for Tom Brady and even has drawn praise from The Hoodie himself. Wright has always been a high-character person. I remember him playing out of position at running back as a senior to sacrifice for the team when he was obviously a receiver. Former Wall coach Chris Barnes and that staff always spoke very highly of him in off-the-record conversations, so it's great to see his success.
- It's official: Patrick School is disqualified from the NJSIAA Tournament for an incident in which five players were ejected in a tournament in California over the holidays. I've already heard of several Shore coaches reminding their players of the consequences if they leave the bench during an on-court scuffle.
- A player on Scotch Plains-Fanwood dropped 57 points on Roselle last night in a wild triple-OT game that went into the triple digits.
- Camden won an instant classic in triple-OT against Shawnee last night. Camden is a team that a Shore squad could potentially see down the road in the Group II semifinals if a Shore team like Lakewood, Manasquan, Rumson, Matawan or others can win Central Jersey Group II.
- Looks like Rob Konrad has kept himself in good shape, post-NFL. Enough to swim 9 miles to safety after falling off his boat off the coast of Palm Beach in Florida.
Finally, I'll leave you with a question posed by former Manasquan basketball and baseball standout Tommy Toole when it comes to the best dress-up job between two fanbases - his own Warriors last season and rival Wall this year over Christmas. May be too close to call.