LACEY TOWNSHIP – In a matchup of an experienced returning championship team versus an upstart unit with the Class B South division title on the line, it was a veteran Point Group that prevailed with a workmanlike performance.

The Panthers, ranked No. 5 in the Shore Sports Network Top, won 10 of 13 contested bouts for a 35-16 Shore Conference Class B South win over Lacey on Friday night that all but officially secured the Panthers’ second straight division crown and third in the last five seasons.

Sophomore Ty Bailey picked up an 8-4 win over state qualifier Luke Moynihan at 138 pounds, Francis Marshall (152), Anthony Bonavito (285) and Nick Torre (106) accrued bonus points and Jake Magley and Ryan Sansone used late takedowns to snatch victories at 132 and 170 pounds, respectively, to highlight the win.

“These guys have been wrestling spring, summer, fall and they have a ton of matches under their belt where they’re kind of like professionals,” said Point Boro head coach Pat Brady. “They know what they have to do and they go out there and get the job done.”

Point Boro (9-0, 4-0) also did a great job limiting bonus points against Lacey’s three hammers. Bailey did more than that in taking out Moynihan, while his brother, freshman Jack Bailey, kept Lacey junior Hunter Gutierrez, the state fifth-place finisher at 106 pounds in last season’s state tournament, to an 8-0 major decision at 126 pounds. Lacey’s Luke Gauthier defeated Point Boro’s Spencer Robinson, 8-1 at 145 pounds, in a matchup of returning state qualifiers, but it was a major coup for the Panthers to limit the trio to seven team points and only one bonus point.

“They come to work and know that they have a job do to and if they do that we’ll be successful, whether that’s winning a match, beating a good kid or not giving up bonus points,” Brady said.

“It’s the heart we have in the room and the hard work we put in every single day, and it really shows on the mat,” said senior Gabe Fattizzi. “They could be tough or they could be better wrestlers but we’re going to come at you for six minutes straight and be relentless.”

Point Boro still has to defeat Donovan Catholic, Lakewood and Pinelands to officially clinch the division title and will be heavily favored in each match.

Lacey (4-3, 3-1) was hosting its biggest home match in years with a chance to take the lead in a quest for its first division title since 1999. The match started at 126 pounds and Lacey bumped up Gutierrez to face Jack Bailey. The returning state medalist started strong with a takedown and three near-fall points in the first period to take a 5-0 lead, but Bailey diffused much of Gutierrez’ momentum by riding him out for 1:50 of the second period. A late escape by Gutierrez stretched his lead to 6-0, but Bailey had done his job. Gutierrez added a takedown in the third period to secure the major decision but the result stood as a net positive for Point Boro.

The Panthers came back with a win at 132 pounds as Magley rallied from a 4-1 deficit after the first period to stun Adam Krinic, 6-5. An escape and a takedown by Magley in the second period tied the bout 4-4 and he came close to turning Krinic early in the third period. Not wanting to risk riding Krinic for most of the third but giving up a late escape to lose, Brady told Magley to cut Krinic loose with about 1:00 left in regulation. Magley pressed forward and secured the go-ahead takedown with 15 seconds left for the 6-5 win that got Point Boro on the board.

Bailey followed with a great 8-4 win over Moynihan to give the Panthers a 6-4 lead. He took Moynihan down twice in the first period to go up 4-1, led 5-3 after two and added an escape and another takedown in the third period to improve to 14-4 and hand Moynihan his third defeat of the season.

The two met last season with Moynihan winning, 13-11.

“I felt ready with what I learned last year, so I used that,” Bailey said. “I wanted to wrestle my match and be aggressive throughout the whole six minutes.”

Lacey regained the lead when Gauthier improved to 13-0 with his 8-1 win over Robinson at 145. Gauthier had two takedowns and three near-fall points in the first period to open a 7-1 lead. He then rode Robinson out in the second period and earned an escape in the third to give the Lions a 7-6 lead.

Point Boro grabbed the lead back via Marshall’s technical fall at 152 pounds and never looked back. The returning state qualifier scored nine takedowns to put away Logan Carter, 23-8 in 5:56, to put the Panthers on top 11-7. John McTaggart followed with a 7-3 win over Trevor Krinic at 160 pounds and Sansone used a takedown with 12 seconds left to defeat Jackson Brandt, 5-4 at 170 pounds, and extend Point Boro’s lead to 17-7.

Lacey got one back at 182 pounds when Quint Kearns edged Dylan Ippolito, 3-1, on the strength of a takedown in the first period, but the Panthers would close the match with five straight victories starting with Billy Borowsky’s 5-1 win over Lacey standout freshman Vincent Cegile at 195 pounds. At 220, Fattizzi used a reversal and two near-fall points in the third period for a 4-1 win over Gerard O’Connor. Bonavito was inches from pinning Jon Rioux at heavyweight but settled for a 10-1 major decision that improved his record to 15-0 and gave the Panthers a 27-10 lead.

Torre followed with a 15-0 technical fall in 5:42 over Nick Terzo at 106 pounds and Ben Sabo used a takedown and three back points in the first period to beat Colin Rolak, 10-3, at 113 pounds and move to 17-1 on the season. Point Boro forfeited the final bout at 120 pounds.

The Panthers started the season strong and have maintained their winning ways into 2018. They have a deep lineup with no holes and 12 starters with at least 10 wins this season. They have their recipe for success and they’re hoping to carry that deep into the postseason.

“We’re all having a lot of fun and that’s what it’s all about, wrestling is hard enough as it is so we find ways to make it fun,” Brady said. “We’re tasting a little success and we’re pushing each other to be the best team we can be.”

“We have the perfect balance between hard work and fun in the room all week in practice,” Fattizzi said. “When it comes to matches we’re loose beforehand but as soon as Lehigh’s start we’re locked in. We flip the switch.”

Box Score

No. 5 Point Boro 35, Lacey 16

126: Hunter Gutierrez (L) md. Jack Bailey 8-0

132: Jake Magley (PB) d. Adam Krinic 6-5

138: Ty Bailey (PB) d. Luke Moynihan 8-4

145: Luke Gauthier (PB) d. Spencer Robinson 8-1

152: Francis Marshall (PB) tf. Logan Carter 5:56 (23-8)

160: John McTaggart (PB) d. Trevor Krinic 7-3

170: Ryan Sansone (PB) d. Jackson Brandt 5-4

182: Quint Kearns (L) d. Dylan Ippolito 3-1

195: Billy Borowsky (PB) d. Vincent Cegile 5-1

220: Gabe Fattizzi (PB) d. Gerard O’Connor 4-1

Hwt: Anthony Bonavito (PB) md. Jon Rioux 10-1

106: Nick Torre (PB) tf. Nick Terzo 5:42 (15-0)

113: Ben Sabo (PB) d. Colin Rolak 10-3

120: Saul Mayorga (L) by forfeit

Records: at Lacey (4-3, 3-1); Point Boro (9-0, 4-0).


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