Over the past decade and certainly over the past two seasons, the Class B North division has been the most competitive at the Shore year-in and year-out. Two years ago, Manasquan, Red Bank Catholic and Middletown North tied for the division championship with a 10-4 division record and Long Branch was right behind at 9-5. Last year, while Manasquan won the division at 12-2, there were five more teams to finish with a division record between 9-5 and 7-7.

Manasquan, Red Bank Catholic and Long Branch are no longer in the division, but the addition of Neptune, Matawan, St. John Vianney and Red Bank figure to keep the regular-season race as wild as ever. Every team in the division is no worse than a middle-of-the-pack Shore Conference team and none is unbeatable either. Neptune is coming off the biggest season and with its program pedigree and successful coaching staff in place, the Scarlet Fliers still figure to be the favorite. They will, however, have their work cut out for them in fending off seven other teams that will be both hungry and capable enough to pick off them and anyone else in B North.


In predicted order of finish


Head Coach: Joe Fagan, fifth season
2017-18 Record: 22-6 (13-1, first in A North)
Key Returners: Dwaine Jones (Sr., 6-3, Guard), Sam Fagan (So., 5-10, Guard), Sean Young (Jr., 5-11, Guard)
Key Losses: Jared Kimbrough (6-8, Center), Kobe Blake (6-2, Forward), Scott Fields (6-3, Forward), Jawan Crenshaw (6-3, Forward)
Newcomers: Mekhi Moore (Sr., 6-9, Center), Makai Suit (Jr., 6-0, Guard), Samad Armstead (Sr., 6-1, Guard), Sadiq Armstead (Sr., 6-0, Forward), Brian Roberts (Sr., 6-1, Guard), Everett Cheavers (So., 6-3, Center), Jett Tinik (Jr., 6-0, Forward), Malik Fields (Fr., 6-4, Forward), Jase Hoffman (Jr., 6-0, Forward)

Neptune senior guard Dwaine Jones. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
Neptune senior guard Dwaine Jones. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Last season was Neptune’s best since Joe Fagan took over the program in 2013-14 and what stood out about the Scarlet Fliers was their consistency. All-Shore First-Teamer Jared Kimbrough was the primary reason for that with his 21 double-doubles in 28 games and replacing that kind of production, reliability and versatility at 6-foot-9 will be nearly impossible. With that in mind, Neptune is more likely to remake its team around what the Scarlet Fliers do have back rather than try to recreate last year’s team, minus its best player. Fagan hopeful they can do that, saying that this has a chance to be his best team in five years at Neptune because it is his most coachable group.

This year’s Neptune team starts with its returning starting back court. Senior Dwaine Jones and sophomore Sam Fagan were the next two scoring leaders in what was a balanced offensive effort after Kimbrough. Both returning guards can run the point and shoot the three, which gives the Fliers the ability to play matchups and make sure neither player is trying to carry too much of the responsibility. Neptune did not use its bench too extensively last year but junior Sean Young got meaningful minutes along the way and will be among the players filling in the spots around Jones and Fagan.

Among the players in line to up their input are junior Makai Suit, seniors Samad and Sadiq Armstead, senior Brian Roberts and 6-9 senior center Mekhi Moore. Moore has returned an improved player after getting on the court sparingly last year and could pose a matchup problem to a lot of teams with his size. Samad Armstead, meanwhile, has proven an early candidate to be Neptune’s third scorer behind the two returnees. Freshman Malik Fields is nursing a foot injury but could find himself contributing later in the season, when the Scarlet Fliers will hope to once again hit their stride.


Middletown North

Head Coach: Mike Iasparro, 12th season
2017-18 Record: 12-13 (8-6, tied third in B North)
Key Returners: Rob Higgins (Sr., 6-1, Guard), Matt Spencer (Jr., 6-2, Forward)
Key Losses: Dave Campbell (6-2, Guard), Sky Cherry (6-2, Forward), Jack Kenny (5-10, Guard), Travis Cimino (6-0, Forward), Mike Youncofski (5-10, Guard)
Newcomers: Ryan Rozynski (Jr., 6-2, Forward), Anthony Soto (Jr., 5-10, Guard), Michael Frazee (Jr., 5-10, Guard), Andrew Kret (Jr., 6-2, Forward), Chris Pinckney (Jr., 5-11, Guard), Sean Mahoney (Jr., 5-10, Guard), Quentin Soler (So., 5-10, Guard), Alex Bogues (So., 6-3, Forward), Tommy Giannone (So., 6-3, Forward), Matt Kenny (Fr., 5-10, Guard)

Middletown North junior Rob Higgins. (Photo by Robert Samuels)
Middletown North senior Rob Higgins. (Photo by Robert Samuels)

Most programs losing four starters from a team that finished one game below .500 a year earlier probably would not be so keen on its prospects, barring the arrival of a special group of freshmen or sophomores. Middletown North, however, is not most programs because senior guard Rob Higgins is not most players. Higgins is the lone returning starter from last year’s team and he just so happens to be the two-time defending Shore Conference scoring leader by points-per-game. A lot will be made of Bryan Antoine’s pursuit of the all-time Shore Conference scoring record this year, but Higgins also has a chance to surpass the current record of 2,302. Higgins enters the season 758 points away from that mark, which is 20 fewer points than Wall’s Steve Geis scored during his brilliant senior season in 2017-18. It is at least plausible that Higgins could break the current record and end his career second all-time behind Antoine (1,811 career points).

So we have established that Rob Higgins with his two All-Shore selections and 2,000-plus-point pace is first-class in Shore Conference basketball. What about his team? Last year, the Lions showed plenty of offensive prowess even beyond Higgins but had an inconsistent defensive unit. Although the players around Higgins will not be the proven commodities that Dave Campbell and Sky Cherry were last year, the Lions will again surround Higgins with some shooters and will try to build a cohesive unit that can not only support Higgins on offense but can also get some stops on defense.

Junior Matt Spencer returns to the rotation this season and is the only player outside of Higgins to play meaningful minutes last year. Juniors Ryan Rozynski and Chris Pinckney also lettered last year and will play a lot more minutes this season, with Rozynski providing some size and length and Pinckney some outside shooting. Sophomore Alex Bogues is an incoming forward who will get front-court minutes, with the rest of the newcomers adding to the back-court depth. The Lions will go as Higgins goes and if this new group can keep defenses somewhat honest, that will allow Higgins to keep going at his usual breakneck pace.



Head Coach: John Terlecsky, 11th season
2017-18 Record: 17-11 (8-6, tied third in B North)
Key Returners: Jack Miller (Jr., 6-1, Guard), Michael Cascaes (Sr., 5-9, Guard), Blake Arlington (Sr., 6-2, Forward)
Key Losses: Andrew Seager (6-7, Forward), Brian Laustsen (6-4, Forward), David Yatcilla (5-10, Guard), Gage Hutzley (6-0, Forward), Luke Yates (Sr., 5-10, Guard)
Newcomers: Sam Meeks (Jr., 6-1, Forward) – transfer from Red Bank Catholic; Jack Savare (So., 6-3, Forward) – transfer from Red Bank Catholic; Corey Miller (Fr., Guard), Brent Gaber (Sr., 6-0, Forward), Evan Peters (So., Guard), Matt Shaw (So., Guard), Brian Yatcilla (Jr., Guard)

Ocean junior Jack Miller elevates for a shot. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
Ocean junior Jack Miller elevates for a shot against Manasquan last season. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Behind the play of All-Shore forward Andrew Seager, Ocean pushed its way into the top-10 conversation throughout the season and enjoyed a few highlights in the process – most notably beating Neptune in the Boardwalk Showcase at Brookdale and nearly upsetting Mater Dei Prep on the road in the Shore Conference Tournament round of 16. It took a loaded Nottingham squad to knock out the Spartans in the Central Jersey Group III Tournament and that Nottingham team went on to reach the Tournament of Champions semifinals. Ocean’s best performances last year gave it a chance against the best teams on the schedule and there may be a point later in the year in which the Spartans are again knocking on the door of the Shore Sports Network Top 10.

The biggest reason for optimism out of the gate is the return of junior sharpshooter Jack Miller, who scored 15.3 points per game and hit 82 total three-pointers – good for a distant second place in the conference behind Wall graduate Steve Geis (119). With Seager gone, the offense will now center more around Miller’s abilities as a scorer and creator and he will be tasked with getting teammates involved as well as lighting it up from the outside. Seniors Michael Cascaes and Blake Arlington will be part of that supporting cast after getting time as juniors last year, as will senior Brent Gaber. Miller’s younger brother, Corey, will hope to have the same kind of success Jack had as a freshman, which would give the Spartans two dangerous scorers on the perimeter.

Ocean will get a boost in mid-January when junior Sam Meeks and sophomore Jack Savare become eligible to suit up. Both players transferred to Ocean from Red Bank Catholic and after sitting the required 30 days, both will provide an immediate lift to the rotation, perhaps even as starters. Sophomores Evan Peters and Matt Shaw and junior Brian Yatcilla add to the youth movement that will make Ocean a team to watch in 2020 with a core of the two Millers, Savare and Meeks. For now, Ocean remains a competitive B North team with some questions, but not without some potential answers on the roster.



Head Coach: John Giraldo, fourth season
2017-18 Record: 20-6 (10-2, second in A Central)
Key Returners: John Buekers (Jr., 6-6, Center), Ethan Okello (Jr., 6-2, Guard), Quincy Wathington (Sr., 6-0, Guard), Niles Haliburton (Jr., 6-3, Guard), Justyn Coleman (Sr., 6-2, Forward)
Key Losses: Mike Dunne (6-4, Guard), Reggie Tawiah (6-2, Guard), Ramon Estrada (5-11, Guard)
Newcomers: Zaire Williams (Jr., 6-2, Forward), Trevor Garland (Sr., 6-0, Guard), Dylan Casey (Sr., 6-4, Forward), Andre Wells (So., 5-8, Guard)

An emotional offseason is sure to carry into the season for Matawan’s players, who lost one of their teammates for the season and almost for a lot more than that. Darrell Rogers – a breakout sophomore for the Huskies in 2017-18 as the team’s third-leading scorer – went into cardiac arrest during an AAU practice in late May and had to be revived on the court. Coach John Giraldo said his recovery is going better than expected – Rogers is walking, talking, receiving home-schooling and has some of his memory back – but his road to anything resembling a full recovery is a long one. Needless to say, everyone on Matawan’s roster – most of which is comprised of players from Rogers’s class – will be playing for their teammate this season. They are even making sure to include Rogers on the roster, which means he will get a jersey, a locker and, hopefully, a spot on the bench for the home games he can attend.

Junior center John Beukers is one of Rogers’s best friends on the team and is also one of the Huskies top players. The 6-6 center has been a starter since his freshman year and with the graduation of guards Mike Dunne and Reggie Tawiah, the offense will be built more around his abilities in the post. Beukers is a quality big man on a team with a lot of wing players with which to surround him, with junior guard Ethan Okello sliding to the point guard spot in Rodgers’s absence. Okello was a productive sixth man last year who showed some real scoring ability, which should shine through even more now that he is a junior and a starter.

Junior Niles Haliburton and seniors Quincy Wathington and Justyn Coleman round out a starting lineup that has some length to it. Haliburton has grown to 6-3 and has range on his shot to go with his size, while Coleman also brings some versatility as an athletic forward who can extend the defense. Junior Zaire Williams can fill in at multiple positions off the bench, as can 6-4 senior Dylan Casey. Senior Trevor Garland and sophomore Andre Wells will bolster the back court coming off the bench as well for a Matawan team that still has plenty of depth. Playing without Rogers is sure to be an emotional challenge, not to mention a schematic one, but the Huskies are motivated to put in the work to excel on the court, just as Rogers is doing to get back onto it one day.



Head Coach: Bob Klatt, first season
2017-18 Record: 14-13 (4-10, seventh in B North)
Key Returners: Quinn Calabrese (Jr., 6-3, Guard), Trey Dombroski (Sr., 6-5, Forward), Ian Ackerman (Jr., 6-0, Forward), Pat Lacey (So., 6-1, Guard)
Key Losses: Steve Geis (6-0, Guard), Mike Cassidy (5-10, Guard), Andy Lenneper (6-2, Forward)
Newcomers: Cam Johnson (Sr., 5-11), Brett Palmer (Jr., 5-11, Forward), Tom Palluzzi (So., 6-2, Guard), Michael Caputo (Jr., 6-2), Nick De La Cruz (Jr., 5-11), Sean Nocera (Jr., 6-0), Luke McGill (Jr., 5-10), Brad Mahoney (Jr., 5-9), Chad Mahoney (Jr., 5-9), Sean Brannon (Jr., 6-2), Gabe Ramirez (Jr., 5-8), Logan Peters (So., 6-0), Colin Ackerman (Fr., 5-11)

With a record that finished above .500 and the top point-scorer in the Shore Conference last year, Wall made plenty of headlines last year but not at the time of year the Crimson Knights wanted to make them. They fell a win shy of qualifying for the Shore Conference Tournament and lost their opening-round game in the Central Jersey Group III Playoffs to Hopewell Valley despite the best efforts of Steve Geiss, who exploded for 49 points in his final career game vs. Hopewell and finish with a remarkable 778 points for the season. Wall will move on without Geiss and with a new head coach in Bob Klatt, who was previously head coach at Mater Dei and served as an assistant under Matt Kukoda before Kukoda stepped down following last season.

With Geiss gone, junior Quinn Calabrese is likely to slide into the role of leading scorer, although it is hard to imagine him scoring like Geiss did. The 6-3 Calabrese has been a solid contributor since his freshman year and with some more consistency, he could be one of the division’s top scorers and players. Forwards Trey Dombroski and Ian Ackerman also return to give the Crimson Knights some size and bulk on the interior, with Dombroski moonlighting as a basketball player when he is not a lights-out pitcher and Ackerman doing the same when he is not playing on the offensive and defensive lines during football season.

Sophomore Pat Lacey is another candidate to pick up the scoring in the wake of Geiss’s graduation after playing off the bench as a freshman. The four returnees – Calabrese, Ackerman, Dombroski and Lacey – will lead the way with a deep stable of newcomers that includes only one senior (Cam Johnson). With every player other than Dombroski and Johnson due back in 2019-20, the future at Wall is bright and the Crimson Knights have a chance to lay the foundation for a memorable stretch for the program.


Colts Neck

Head Coach: Lou Piccola, 20th season
2017-18 Record: 19-8 (10-4, third in A North)
Key Returners: Andrew Abujawdeh (Sr., 6-1, Guard), Brian Hill (Sr., 6-3, Forward)
Key Losses: Danny Gaines (6-0, Guard), Ben Bosland (6-3, Guard), Rob Hill (6-3, Forward), Sabour Quddus (5-7, Guard), Zach Albom (6-3, Forward), Mike Federici (6-4, Forward)
Newcomers: Sean Tice (Sr., 6-3, Forward), Nick Alviggi (Sr., 6-3, Forward), Nick Giannattasio (Sr., 6-1, Forward), Hunter Peterson (Sr., 6-2, Forward), Guy Conforti (Jr., 5-8, Guard), Ryan Thayler (Jr., 6-2, Forward), Stephen Ciccarone (So., 6-1, Guard), Richard Lee (So., 5-9, Guard) – transfer from CBA

Two years ago, Colts Neck had to replace five key players from a sectional-championship team and not only did the Cougars hold their own in that season – they were back in the Central Jersey Group III final last year. With a senior-heavy roster, Colts Neck came up one score short in a championship loss to Trenton and will now try to regroup enough to contend this season while pushing toward another championship-caliber team in the near future.

Senior guard Andrew Abujawdeh and senior forward Brian Hill return from last year’s rotation and Abujawdeh got some starts during a solid overall junior season. He will have to be a more consistent contributor for this year’s team, but Abujawdeh proved to be a versatile scorer and a solid defender. Hill, meanwhile, provides some length and has enough size to handle some of the interior duties on a team that doesn’t have a player taller than 6-3 but has some depth in the front court.

Seniors Sean Tice, Nick Alviggi, Nick Giannattasio and Hunter Peterson all join the varsity squad as forwards and junior Ryan Thayler will be another key piece to play in the front court. Guard Stephen Ciccarone is a sophomore to watch during his debut season at he varsity level and sophomore CBA transfer Richard Lee will also contribute to the back-court play with Abujawdeh, Ciccarone and junior Guy Conforti. A lot has to go right in a short amount of development time, but veteran coach Lou Piccola has had success coaching up inexperienced teams and might get this group postseason-ready before long.


Red Bank

Head Coach: Scott Martin, 18th season
2017-18 Record: 4-20 (1-11, seventh in A Central)
Key Returners: Dean Hottmann (Sr., 6-7, Center), Matt Weidman (Jr., 5-11, Guard), Liam Joyce (Sr., 6-0, Guard), Brian Forsman (Sr., 6-3, Forward), Aidan Gilmartin (Sr., 6-2, Guard), Gavin Mahoney (Sr., 6-2, Forward)
Key Losses: Jasir Thomas (6-0, Forward), Nick Ferrogine (Guard)
Newcomers: Drew Valentino (Jr., 6-2, Guard) – transfer from CBA; Erik Christie (Jr., 5-10, Guard), Seth Cousins (Jr., 6-2, Forward), Patrick Murray (Fr., 6-2, Guard)

Although last year was a developmental one for a very young Red Bank squad, the 4-20 record does not reflect how competitive the Bucs were for most of the season. They also played a strong schedule that should have this year’s team ready to make a significant improvement in both its play and win-total given that most of last year’s major contributors are back and this division doesn’t appear to have any unbeatable opponents. Red Bank will have some more senior leadership this season with returning starters Dean Hottmann, Liam Joyce and Brian Forsman – an element the Bucs were lacking last year and could be one key to a stronger showing in 2019.

Hottman is an imposing figure down low at 6-7 and he used that height to block 2.8 shots per game as a junior – good for fourth in the Shore Conference last year. He will likely be a more involved part of the offense this season with Forsman and senior Gavin Mahoney joining him in the front court and Joyce, junior Matt Weidman and senior Aidan Gilmartin providing some shooting and slashing on the perimeter. Weidman, in particular, played well down the stretch for the Bucs as a sophomore and is a candidate to lead the team in scoring. The nice thing for coach Scott Martin about this team is there are a few candidates to do that, which should make the Bucs a tough team for which to gameplan.

Two of those potential scoring sources for the Bucs are newcomers – one a transfer and one a freshman. Junior guard Drew Valentino is a transfer from CBA who will make an impact on both ends when he is on the floor, while 6-2 guard Patrick Murray is looking to make an immediate impression on the Shore Conference, if not as a starter than as one of Martin’s first options off the bench. Red Bank has a long climb to the top from losing 20 games a year ago but in a new division and with more experience and overall talent on the roster, the Bucs have the makings of a surprise team in 2018-19.


St. John Vianney

Head Coach: Ryan Finch, third season
2017-18 Record: 11-16 (6-6, third in A Central)
Key Returners: James Rapley (Sr., 6-4, Forward); Jahmal Garraway (Jr., 5-11, Guard), Kevin Greene (Jr., 5-10, Guard), Justin Steuerer (Sr., 6-0, Guard)
Key Losses: Zach Moran (6-3, Guard), Chris Mikos (6-4, Guard), Elia Malara (6-4, Forward), A.J. McGimpsey (Sr., 6-5, Forward)
Newcomers: Nate Williams (Fr., 6-2, Forward), Christian Booker (Sr., 6-3, Guard), Ryan DiPede (Jr., 5-9, Guard), Evan Purdy (Jr., 5-10, Guard), Nasiyah Nix (Sr., 6-2, Forward), Alex Leiba (Jr., 6-7, Forward/Center), Brian Day (So., 6-0, Guard), Anthony Aubain (Jr., 5-11, Guard)

St. John Vianney is the last team listed in this B North preview, but don’t count out the Lancers as a potential top-four team in B North. Third-year coach Ryan Finch has done a good job mixing and matching a lot of different players during his first two years – the first of which came one year after St. John Vianney graduated two 1,000-point scorers. Considering that obstacle, the rebuild has gone pretty well, especially with the quality schedule the Lancers have played to sharpen their younger talent. A 6-6 finish in a solid Class A Central division that included Rumson, Matawan, Raritan, Holmdel and Shore was an encouraging showing and starting point heading into another season in a competitive division this year.

The major challenge St. John Vianney faces this year is replacing two major sources of offense in Chris Mikos (15 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.6 assist, 1.8 steals last year) and Zach Moran (13.2 points). Junior Jahmal Garraway is back and will help replace some of the perimeter scoring, with junior Kevin Greene and senior Justin Steuerer also returning at the guard position this year. Vianney should have some quality in the front court as well, with 6-4 senior James Rapley (six rebounds per game last year) back on the inside and freshman Nate Williams joining the starting lineup in his first high school season. Alex Leiba gives the Lancers a 6-foot-7 option in the front court and Nasiya Nix is another senior who can help out at forward. Sophomore Brian Day will contribute at guard, along with senior Christian Booker and juniors Evan Purdy, Ryan DiPede and Austin Aubain. Finch is hoping to ride that depth to a run at the B North title, which is a realistic possibility for all eight teams in the division.


Players to Watch

Rob Higgins, Middletown North – Winning a third straight Shore Conference scoring title would give Higgins legendary status in Shore history, especially if he beats out Ranney guard and Villanova commit Bryan Antoine for a third straight year. Higgins should reach 2,000 points later in the season and would be the first player since Jermaine Clay at Central in the early 1990’s to reach the milestone if not for Antoine likely getting there first.

Jack Miller, Ocean – A double-figure-per-game scorer in each of his first two high school seasons, Miller is already closing on 1,000 career points as a junior (701 heading into this year). He may have to carry Ocean’s offense early and that might help give him a shot to put up close to 20 per game before he graduates.

Sam Fagan, Neptune – Fagan is a true point guard who can manage an offense, pass teammates open and catch fire from behind the three-point line, all while being just a sophomore.

Dwaine Jones, Neptune – Jones is another Neptune guard who can fill it up and run the point, which gives the Scarlet Fliers plenty of play-making on the perimeter.

John Beukers, Matawan – A starter since his freshman year, Beukers returns as a junior in great shape and with an improved perimeter game that should help him build on a strong first-two seasons as a low-post-presence for the guard-heavy Huskies.


Breakout Players to Watch

Quinn Calabrese, Wall – After Steve Geis carried the offense last year, Calabrese has a chance to lead the way this year after showing flashes of his scoring prowess in each of his first two high school seasons.

Brian Hill, Colts Neck – The Cougars will need some players to step up after graduating five starters from a year ago and Hill has the sort of length and versatility that always seems to play at Colts Neck.

Ethan Okello, Matawan – After serving as an effective sixth man as a sophomore last year, Okello will take over point guard duties and provide some shooting for Matawan this season.

Corey Miller, Ocean – Like his older brother Jack did two years ago, Corey Miller has a chance to step right in an contribute as a three-point marksman for a promising young Ocean squad.

Jahmal Garraway, St. John Vianney – Garraway moves into a full-time starting gig as a junior and is likely to be Vianney’s primary perimeter threat.


Burning Questions

Can Rob Higgins make a run at 2,300 points and carry Middletown North to a championship?

The current Shore Conference career scoring record is 2,302 and Higgins has an outside shot to reach that mark if he can play close to 30 games this year. That would mean a successful season for Middletown North, which is lacking in experience outside of its dynamic guard. If Higgins can get the Lions into the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals and win at least two games in the Central Jersey Group III bracket this season, that would mean he is making some serious history and ending a brilliant four-year run with an exclamation point.

Could Neptune be better than last year, even without Jared Kimbrough?

One would be hard-pressed to find a more consistent player at the Shore last year than Kimbrough, who posted 21 double-doubles and was a shutdown defender as well. Despite losing him, Neptune still has the makings of a division-championship caliber team that can again show up during the postseason thanks to its guard play and defensive energy. The Scarlet Fliers don’t have an obvious third option after Dwaine Jones and Sam Fagan, but they have several guys who can fill that role on a good team.

How many teams have a legitimate shot to win the division?

More than any division in the conference, the B North race is anybody’s game. Neptune might be a tier above the rest of the field, but one ill-fated injury or development could drag the Fliers back to the pack and then it is completely up for grabs. Middletown North has questions around Higgins, Ocean’s depth doesn’t arrive until mid-January, Matawan, Wall and Vianney graduated some big-time scorers, Colts Neck lost an entire starting lineup and Red Bank lost 20 games last year. All of those teams, however, have reason for optimism as well, which should make for a wild season to follow night-in and night-out.

Does Ocean have the makings of a top team in the Shore?

With some impact players in the junior, sophomore and freshman classes, Ocean looks like it might be a year away from doing some serious damage in the Shore Conference and perhaps even beyond. If that is to be the case, the Spartans will have to lay the groundwork this year, which means competing for a spot in the top half of the division and maybe even making some noise in the SCT and Central Jersey Group III Tournaments.

How will Matawan’s players respond to an emotional offseason?

A scary incident last May involving teammate Darrell Rogers shook up the Matawan players and took away a player who might have been its best player this coming season. As Rogers continues to recover from sudden cardiac arrest that almost took his life, his teammates want to play for their fallen-but-determined teammate as he works to get back the life he had before the incident. It won’t be easy road for Rogers to get back on the court someday or for Matawan to have a big season without him, but neither Rogers nor the Huskies should be written off.


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