Basketball – CBA Duo Reunites to Win Jersey Shore League Championship
ASBURY PARK - The Jersey Shore Basketball League championship game featured a showdown of Monmouth University's all-time leading scorer vs. one of its top returning players and that subplot had its moments throughout Wednesday night's game at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Center.
Meanwhile, there was another prominent Monmouth County basketball program with major representation Wednesday night and its dynamic duo from a decade ago played a big role in deciding the championship.
For the first time in any official capacity since the 2009-10 high school season, former Christian Brothers Academy All-Shore players Roy Mabrey and Matt McMullen played on the same team this summer and capped their JSBL reunion by teaming with Monmouth all-time leading scorer and two-time MAAC Player of the Year Justin Robinson to lead Sea View Jeep to the JSBL title with a 119-113 win over Orthopaedic Institute.
Mabrey and McMullen led CBA to its last Shore Conference Tournament championship back in 2010, when Mabrey was a senior and McMullen a junior. They have been on the same preliminary JSBL roster prior to this season, but McMullen has encountered conflicts in his schedule while pursuing an acting career in Los Angeles.
"There's a connection," said Mabrey, who played his college ball at St. Anselm, of McMullen (Colgate). "Two CBA guys on the same team is trouble for a lot of people. We have played in some manner somewhere over the years. I would keep in touch with him whenever he was home and it was enjoyable to finally get to play with him again in a league like this."
It all came together for the former Colts teammates this season with Sea View, which also rostered CBA all-time leading scorer Pat Andree for most of the season before Andree left to play in Japan prior to the start of the JSBL postseason.
"You play that style (at CBA) and it's just engraved in your mind," Mabrey said. "I didn't have to play with Andree to know where he was going on cuts. We just knew what to do."
On Wednesday, Mabrey (23 points) and McMullen (19 points, 16 rebounds) combined for 42 points to back another big effort from Robinson, who posted 37 points, seven rebounds and 13 assists to capture the JSBL Playoff MVP award.
Robinson scored 19 points in the first half to direct Sea View to a 63-49 lead at the break. After trailing by as many as 17, Orthopaedic rallied to take its first lead since the opening minutes at 86-85 on a three-pointer by Monmouth University alum Jesse Steele with 9:32 left in the fourth quarter.
Former Mater Dei Prep star and Princeton University senior Elijah Barnes hit the first of two big fourth-quarter three-pointers to tie the game at 88-88, which ignited a 13-2 run that gave Sea View control of the game the rest of the way.
On the other side, another CBA alum - former Monmouth University guard Louie Pillari - stepped up with 27 points for Orthopaedic. Pillari's total was two points shy of teammate and St. Peter's University alumnus Trevis Wyche (29 points) for the team lead.
Sea View kept Orthopaedic's Monmouth standout George Papas in check enough throughout the game. On Tuesday, Papas won a semifinal showdown with new teammate, Shavar Reynolds, who transferred from Seton Hall to Monmouth for the upcoming season.
Wednesday's game caps a unique 51st season of the JSBL, which began as an outdoor league at Dempsey Park in Belmar but moved inside to Mount Carmel for most of the latter part of the season - including the entire playoffs.
Last summer, the JSBL season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was rebooted this summer with plans to play outdoors in hopes of complying with potential restrictions on indoor gatherings, which were still in effect when the season was being planned. Once those restrictions were dropped and the majority of the league's players voiced their preference to play indoors (coupled with forecasts of rain and thunderstorms on several nights), the Mount Carmel Parish Center became the de facto home of the league to round out the summer of 2021.
"I think outside, especially for the dudes who are still playing (in college and professionally), you're iffy," Mabrey said. "And I get it. Once we were inside, I think people really started playing and didn't have to worry about things. Those Monmouth guys had bragging rights, so having Justin was wonderful."