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POINT PLEASANT – Pat Brady could not have foreseen the dominance his team would display on the opening night of the Shore Conference wrestling season, but he certainly knew what kind of group he had under his guidance. On Thursday night under the spotlight, the Panthers' best qualities were on display.

Wrestling with toughness, poise and a killer instinct, Point Boro flattened visiting Ocean, 48-22, for a season-opening statement victory in a nondivisional match against the Class B North favorites. The Panthers won nine of 14 bouts, including seven by fall, to send a notice to the rest of their opponents this season that they’re still a team to be reckoned with.

“All the kids on this team work their butts off in the room and it really shows on the mat,” said senior Ty Bailey, who recorded one of Point Boro’s seven pins.

“Point Boro is staying as it is,” added junior Jack Bailey, who also won by fall.

Point Boro sophomore Lucas Torre was won of seven Panthers to win by fall in a 48-22 win over Ocean to open the 2019-2020 season. (Photo by Richard O'Donnell).

‘As it is’ refers to a program that has won a state sectional championship, a district team title and three straight Class B South division titles over the last three seasons. Despite losing a state qualifier and two more region qualifiers to graduation and another region qualifier via transfer, the Panthers didn’t pump the brakes on their expectations for the season.

“We believe we can do big things this year,” Brady said. “We have a lot of high-character kids who come in every day and work hard and believe in each other, and you saw that tonight. That’s the true definition of a team. Nobody got pinned, we attacked bonus where we could and everybody was in it every single match.”

Not only did Point Boro attack bonus points where it was favored, it saw wrestlers in toss-up bouts come through with momentum-changing victories. It began with sophomore Lucas Torre at 106 pounds. Torre lost to Ocean junior Blake Tarnowski in last season’s dual meet (a 46-18 Ocean victory) but delivered payback this time with a second-period fall.

“It all started with Lucas Torre who wrestled that kid in the dual last year and lost 7-3,” Brady said. “He comes out this year with a great attitude, attacks, and boom, slaps on the cradle. I couldn’t be more proud of him for what he sparked with this team tonight, and that fire and energy continued.”

Ocean grabbed an 8-6 lead off back-to-back major decisions from Gio Poniros and Demetri Poniros at 113 and 120 pounds, respectively, but that was the only time the Spartans would hold a lead. Sophomore Charlie Latendorf used a reversal with 1:35 left in the third period to defeat Alex Taylor, 3-0, at 126 points and put Point Boro back in front for good, 9-8.

Then the parade of pins began.

Freshman Jack Thompson started his high school career with a bang when he rebounded from an early deficit to pack Nick Schneider at 4:59 at 132 pounds. Schneider earned to quick takedowns to begin the bout but Thompson hit a five-point move to take a 7-4 lead into the second period. Thompson led 8-6 going into the third and secured the fall when he reversed Schneider to his back and stuck him with 1:01 left in the bout.

“We’ve been watching Jack and been excited for a long time about him being a freshman in our program,” Brady said. “It was nice to see him in his first time underneath that light with the crowd behind him to come through the way he did.”

Junior Peter Karras followed by a fall over Joe Dellomo at 138 pounds and suddenly Point Boro had a 21-8 lead.

Ocean was without two starters in junior AJ Benner, a district runner-up last season who wrestles at 126 and 132 pounds, and sophomore Jared Tracey, a region qualifier who wrestles at 160 and 170 pounds. Additionally, standout senior Alex Poniros missed weight at 138 pounds, which forced him up to 145 and put the squeeze on Ocean in the middle of its lineup. Point Boro was able to take advantage with wins at 132 and 138, and when junior Connor Robinson held Poniros to a 12-1 major decision at 145 pounds the Panthers led 21-12.

Senior Jack Nies, a state qualifier last season, won by 18-3 technical fall over Chris Criscuolo at 152 pounds to pull Ocean to within 21-17 but Point Boro’s response was emphatic.

At 160, Jack Bailey locked in a cradle early before finishing off Nick Benner with a head-and-arm hold at 1:19 of the first period to push Point Boro’s lead to 27-17. Ty Bailey then used his signature cradle to pin Williams Larosilliere in just 42 seconds at 170 pounds, giving the Panthers a commanding 33-17.

“We’re always looking for those six points,” Jack Bailey said. “Those big numbers on the board help us win matches.”

After being on his back in the first period, junior Gavin O’Connor fought his way free, then threw Tah-Jay Phillips to his back to take a 6-5 lead into the second period. He too finished off a fall at the 3:05 mark of the 182-pound bout to give Point Boro a 39-16 advantage (Ocean was deducted one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct) and clinch the victory with three bouts left. For good measure, junior Nick Rebimbas pinned Christian Petit in 1:45 at 195 pounds to make it 45-16.

Junior Patrick Frawley put the finishing touches on the resounding team win by scoring a 3-1 win over Alejandro Villarga at 220 pounds.

Ocean junior heavyweight Joe Teresi closed out the match when he won by disqualification (stalling) over Josh Henderson.

“It just shows how tough we work,” Ty Bailey said. “We’re always in the room grinding and hopefully as the season goes on we can get better and better.”

 

Box Score

Point Boro 48, Ocean 22

*Ocean deducted one team point at 182 for unsportsmanlike conduct*

106: Lucas Torre (PB) p. Blake Tarnowski, 2:41

113: Gio Poniros (O) md. Lucas Sabo, 9-1

120: Demetri Poniros (O) md. Chris Poggio, 14-4

126: Charlie Latendorf (PB) d. Alex Taylor, 3-0

132: Jack Thompson (PB) p. Nick Schneider, 4:59

138: Peter Karras (PB) p. Joe Dellomo, 1:26

145: Alex Poniros (O) md. Connor Robinson, 12-1

152: Jack Nies (O) tf. Chris Criscuolo, 4:55 (18-3)

160: Jack Bailey (PB) p. Nick Benner, 1:19

170: Ty Bailey (PB) p. Williams Larosilliere, 0:42

182: Gavin O’Connor (PB) p. Tah-Jay Phillips, 3:05

195: Nick Rebimbas (PB) p. Christian Petit, 1:45

220: Patrick Frawley (PB) d. Alejandro Villarga, 3-1

285: Joe Teresi (O) by DQ (stalling) over Josh Henderson

 

Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.

 

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