Boys Basketball – 2018-19 Shore Sports Network All-Shore Team
2019 All-Shore Boys Basketball Teams
Teams selected by SSN Boys Basketball Editor Matt Manley
Bryan Antoine, Sr., Guard, Ranney
Key Stats: 20.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.8 steals, 58.9 FG%, 73-for-188 (38.8%) 3-pointers, 84.7 FT%
Signature Game: When a player scores 2,499 career points, authors a third straight Player-of-the-Year season and helps lead his team to the first NJSIAA Tournament of Champions title in the history of the Shore Conference, it is hard to pin down one signature game. Antoine never scored more than 21 points in any of Ranney’s 11 postseason games and his biggest scoring outbursts came during the season’s first couple of weeks. Right in the middle of all of those wins was a 103-43 win over Mater Dei Prep that would have been forgettable were it not for the history that Antoine made during it. The Villanova-bound guard scored 30 points in the game and his 20th broke a Shore Conference career scoring record that stood for 46 years. Antoine produced memorable moments throughout his four-year career and that one put him ahead of every scorer who has ever put on the jersey of a Shore Conference school.
Antoine is the Shore Sports Network Co-Player of the Year along with his longtime teammate, Scottie Lewis, and it is the third straight year Antoine has been recognized as the Shore’s best player by SSN. For the first time in his career, Antoine’s scoring average dropped from one year to the next, from 21.4 last year to 20.8 in 2018-19. That could be attributed to Ranney having its best, deepest offensive team during Antoine’s four-year career, which led to Antoine going an entire season without attempting more than 18 shots in any one game.
Other players at the Shore scored more on a per-game basis but it would be hard to find a high-school guard more efficient than Ranney’s go-to guy. Antoine shot 59 percent from the field, just under 85 percent from the free-throw line and just under 39 percent from three-point range. At the beginning of the season, Antoine could hardly miss: in Ranney’s five non-conference games before the New Year, Antoine averaged 32.8 points and eclipsed the 30-point mark in four of them. After three more 20-plus-point games against Bergen Catholic, McDuffie (Mass.) and Federal Way (Wash.), Antoine averaged 30.2 points in the first eight games of Ranney’s challenging non-conference schedule.
Once Ranney completed its team with the return of Ahmadu Sarnor on Jan. 27, Antoine dramatically scaled back his shot volume and, in turn, his scoring. After Sarnor came back, Antoine averaged 16.8 points in 17 games, however there was an exception. He caught fire in the second half of the Feb. 6 win over Mater Dei Prep and scored 30 points on the night he broke the Shore Conference scoring record. Antoine wrapped up his career with 2,499 career points, the new all-time mark in the history of the Shore Conference, and will attempt to add to his legend at Villanova next season.
Read more about Bryan Antoine’s season
Scottie Lewis, Sr., Guard/Forward, Ranney
Key Stats: 17.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.7 steals, 1.5 blocks, 55.2 FG%
Signature Game: Like Antoine, Lewis had several key moments during Ranney’s run to the Shore Conference Tournament and Tournament of Champions titles but his best individual performance also came in the regular season. Against Federal Way – the No. 14 team in the country according to USA Today – Lewis not only put up 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals but he also defended fellow five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American Jaden McDaniels and held the 6-foot-10 wing to 10 points on 4-for-18 shooting. On top of that, Lewis put on that show in front of a national audience on ESPNU.
It is hard to narrow the greatness of Lewis to any one statistic, both because he put up so many noteworthy numbers and because what he did for Ranney this year and over his four years goes so far beyond the box score. The highlight-reel dunks, the lockdown defensive efforts, the energy, the charisma – those don’t always show up on paper and they were all significant parts of the total package.
One of the lasting images of Lewis, though, will be him standing and cheering from the bench as his team defeated Wildwood Catholic in overtime after he fouled out of the game early in the extra session. Lewis hit two tying free throws with 22 seconds left, blocked two huge shots while playing with four fouls and finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out on a questionable offensive foul call. While the thought of spending the final minutes of a storied career helplessly watching from the bench could be overwhelming for a high school senior, Lewis spent the last 3:18 of the game standing, cheering and even coaching from the Ranney sidelined as his team won a second straight sectional title and extended their season.
Lewis was at his best in big moments all year long and showed off every tool in the toolbox during Ranney’s postseason stretch. In 11 postseason games, the Florida commit averaged 17.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.7 blocks, including 20.25 points, seven rebounds, 3.25 assists, 2.75 steals and 2.25 blocks in the Shore Conference Tournament. Lewis closed out his career with 20 points and 11 rebounds in the Tournament of Champions final against Bergen Catholic to help the Panthers capture the T of C title. Lewis leaves the Shore for Gainesville as the 12th-leading scorer in Shore Conference history with 1,874 points.
Read more about Scottie Lewis’s season
Ian O’Connor, Sr., Forward, Rumson-Fair Haven
Key Stats: 21.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 86 3-pointers
Signature Game: O’Connor did just about everything for Rumson this season other than drive the bus and it’s quite possible he got behind the big wheel in a pinch. One game that best exemplified that was a 66-56 win over Shore Regional in which O’Connor had a brush with a triple-double, posting 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.
For a Rumson team coming off back-to-back Central Jersey Group II titles and four straight trips to the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals, 2018-19 was a disappointing one. The Bulldogs bowed out of the SCT as a No. 5 seed in the round of 16 and lost in the CJ II semifinals as a No. 2 seed – both on their home floor.
None of that was on O’Connor, a double-double machine who was also one of the Shore’s most dangerous three-point threats. He scored at least 10 points in all of Rumson’s 27 games this season, scored at least 20 in 19 of the 27 and put up 30 or more three times. He scored more than half of his team’s points in six games this season, including twice in the CJ II Playoffs. O’Connor scored 26 in a 51-46 win over Raritan in the opening round and 28 in the 49-44 loss to Lincoln that ended the season. In the 64-54 sectional quarterfinal win over Bordentown, O’Connor scored 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, when the Bulldogs outscored the Scotties 26-9 to rally for the win.
O’Connor will continue his athletic career on the football field for Lehigh University, but not before leaving an indelible mark as a basketball player at Rumson-Fair Haven. He closed out his career second on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,449 points, which trails only former teammate Brendan Barry (1,812). He also helped lead Rumson to its first two sectional championships in more than four decades, which the Bulldogs won back-to-back in 2017 and 2018. Rumson might have fallen short of expectations this season, but those expectations were as high as they were because of O’Connor’s excellence over the previous two seasons – excellence he exceeded during his senior season.
Rob Higgins, Sr., Guard, Middletown North
Key Stats: 28.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.3 steals, 98-for-264 (37.1%) 3-pointers, 81.5 FT%
Signature Game: As a three-time scoring champion at the Shore, Higgins has churned out 30-point performances all over the place but his defense is a strength of his as well. The senior guard was the total package on a number of occasions this year, most notably in a 66-63 loss to Wall during the regular season. In the loss, Higgins scored 39 points and hounded Wall leading scorer Quinn Calabrese while holding him to two points – 16 points below his season average.
If Bryan Antoine decided to go to some established national powerhouse to play high school basketball, basketball fans at the Shore would have been closely following Higgins as he pursued the Shore’s all-time scoring record. If not for a hand injury as a sophomore and missing a handful of games over the past two seasons due to illness, the Lions combo guard would have breezed past the old Shore Conference scoring record of 2,302, held by Norm Caldwell of Croydon Hall. Higgins came up just short of taking over the No. 2 spot all-time behind Antoine, wrapping up his career at the Shore with 2,278 points during his outstanding four-year varsity career.
Perhaps even more impressive than the career point total Higgins amassed was his run of scoring titles. He led the Shore Conference in points-per-game average in each of the past three seasons and in each of the past two, he averaged better than 28 points per game. He scored 30 or more points 10 times – all before the end of January – and scored 40 of his team’s 46 points in a 56-46 loss to Colts Neck on January 29.
The Lions sported a very young, inexperienced team around Higgins and while that probably figured into Middletown North missing the Shore Conference Tournament, Higgins and his young squad still won a road game in the Central Jersey Group III Tournament. The Lions defeated Jackson Liberty in the opening round in a game that pitted the Shore’s top two scorers – Higgins and Liberty senior Daniel Sofield – against one another. Higgins scored a game-high 22 points and held Sofield to 16 to spark Middletown North to a 47-42 win. It was another stellar defensive effort during the senior season of a player whose offense set him apart from just about every other player who has ever played in the Shore Conference. Higgins said is he currently considering continuing his career at either St. Francis of Brooklyn or Monmouth.
Alex Galvan, Jr., Forward, Manasquan
Key Stats: 17.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.6 blocks
Signature Game: Galvan had a breakout season and the 6-7 junior announced that breakout to the rest of the state early on. In a 78-74 win over a Union Catholic squad ranked in the preseason Top 20, Galvan erupted for a career-high 30 points and 18 rebounds against a talented Vikings squad in just the second game of his junior season.
The year 2018 was a special one for Galvan: he broke out on the summer baseball circuit and landed a non-binding verbal commitment to play baseball at Louisville, trimmed down within his 6-foot-6 frame and ended the year by announcing his presence to the N.J. basketball scene with a handful of major performances for the Warriors. Galvan’s hard work in 2018 results in his first All-Shore selection and it comes on the hardwood rather than on the diamond.
Galvan kicked off his breakout junior season with 26 points and 13 rebounds against Raritan and followed it up with the big 30-18 showing against Union Catholic. In a quarterfinal win over Toms River East at the WOBM Classic, Galvan went off for a 20-20 game – 20 points and 20 rebounds in the Warriors win over the Raiders. Those were three of his 21 double-doubles on the season, which was the most of any player in the Shore Conference.
Manasquan enjoyed one of its best seasons in the last 50 years and the Warriors stamped its overall season with a great performance in both the Shore Conference and NJSIAA Tournaments. During a run to the SCT final, Galvan averaged 19 points, 9.5 rebounds and two blocks as Manasquan came up a little short of its first SCT championship since 1960. The Warriors made up for it by winning the Central Group II title for the third time since 2009, dominating their four opponents by an average of 30 points per game. In those four games, Galvan put up 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, capped with 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in the championship-clinching win over Lincoln. Galvan will try to carry over his success to the baseball field this spring before returning as one of the Shore’s top basketball players in 2019-20.
Josh Cohen, Sr., Center, Christian Brothers Academy
Key Stats: 20.2 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.6 blocks
Signature Game: On Jan. 24, Cohen became the 19th player in CBA history to join the 1,000-point club with a first-quarter basket against Class A North rival Middletown South. That turned out to be just the beginning in one of the best performances in Cohen’s career. The 6-11 St. Francis (Pa.) commit piled on 31 points and 10 rebounds as the Colts outlasted the Eagles, 74-72, in one game-of-the-year candidate within the Shore Conference.
Just like Galvan, Cohen was nearly an automatic double-double – he posted 20 on the season and while that was one fewer than Galvan, it was in seven fewer games. Cohen became a more complete player over his final high school offseason, landed a scholarship with St. Francis and authored what was easily his best statistical season as a high school player. Cohen scored in a wider variety of ways, stepped up his game as a passer (2.3 assists) and was a much-improved defender as well (1.5 steals and 1.6 blocks).
Cohen began his season by scoring no fewer than 19 points in each of CBA’s first eight games, averaging 24.9 points during that stretch. He won the MVP of the Kreul Classic in Florida by averaging (23-10, 24-16, 27-10) 24.7 points and 12 rebounds over the three games, including 24 and 16 in a win over Pittsburgh-area power Taylor Allderdice.
CBA’s season kicked into gear after its win over Middletown South in which Cohen joined the 1,000-point club. The Colts beat Freehold Township and Red Bank Catholic in back-to-back games, with Cohen posting 23 points and 17 rebounds against the Patriots and 17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in a rout of the Caseys. CBA had then-unbeaten Elizabeth on the ropes at the Dunn Center before losing at the buzzer, with Cohen posting 23 points against one of the top public school teams in the state during 2018-19. Cohen also eclipsed 20 points in losses to Manasquan and Camden Catholic, both of which have big front lines and had to hold on after CBA chipped away at big deficits.
Cohen departs the Academy as one of its 20 1,000-point scorers, finishing at 1,224 for his three-year varsity career.
Brad McCabe, Sr., Guard/Forward, Manasquan
Stats: 15.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 98 3-pointers
As one of the top two players on the Shore’s No. 2 team, McCabe put up the season-long numbers worthy of his first All-Shore selection. It was his postseason, however, that made him a serious candidate for a First Team spot and, more importantly, helped Manasquan reach heights not seen by the program in a long time. The Warriors reached the Shore Conference Tournament final for the first time in 14 years, with McCabe averaging 20.25 points, seven rebounds and 3.75 assists during the tournament. He capped that run with 33 points in the championship game vs. Ranney, including a 9-for-10 performance from beyond the three-point line. He then averaged 18.5 points in four blowout wins during the Warriors’ run to their third Central Jersey Group II title in 11 years. McCabe finished up his three-year varsity career with 1,251 points.
Daniel Sofield, Sr., Forward, Jackson Liberty
Stats: 26.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.1 steals, 92 3-pointers, 79.7 FT%
After toiling through on losing teams and battling through injury last year, Sofield and Jackson Liberty finally put it all together for a full season in 2018-19. The 6-6 senior led the Lions to their best season in school history, which included a 15-10 record, the Lions’ first ever Class B South championship and their first ever Shore Conference Tournament win. Sofield stats reveal an all-around player who led his team on both ends of the floor, but his scoring is what set him apart. He erupted for 59 points in an overtime win over Lacey in December and less than two weeks later, he poured in 46 in a loss to Central Jersey Group III champion Wall. His 26.9 points per game rank second at the Shore this season and his 1,824 career points rank 15th all-time in the history of the Shore Conference.
Stephen Braunstein, Sr., Guard, Christian Brothers Academy
Stats: 16.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 60 3-pointers, 76.4 FT%
The other half of CBA’s potent one-two punch, Braunstein is an All-Shore Second Team selection for the second straight season. On Feb. 11, Braunstein joined his teammate, Cohen, as the 20th player in CBA history to reach 1,000 career points and it marked the first time that two players from the same graduating class reached the milestone. CBA stormed into the Shore Conference Tournament with wins over back-to-back wins over Freehold Township and Red Bank Catholic, led by Braunstein – who scored 23 points against the Patriots and 20 against RBC. The 6-2 guard also led a Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinal win over Toms River North – which entered the game on a 16-game winning streak – with 22 points and five assists and scored 21 in a loss to Manasquan in the following round. Braunstein graduates with 1,067 career points.
Jakari Spence, Jr., Guard, Toms River North
Stats: 18.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.1 steals, 59-for-162 (36.4%) 3-pointers, 78.7 FT%
After beginning his career at Manchester, Spence transferred to Toms River North last year and was a spark off the bench as a sophomore. This year, he jumped into the starting lineup and became one of the steadiest guards at the Shore for Ocean County’s steadiest program. Spencer’s junior-year highlights include a career-high 37 points against Southern; two 10-assist games; 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists against Dwaine Jones and Neptune in the Shore Conference Tournament; and 23 points in a come-from-behind win over Cherokee in January. Spence is one of four junior starters set to return for Toms River North, which will look to build on a 60-game winning streak in Class A South play while eyeing Shore Conference Tournament and South Jersey Group IV titles.
Quinn Calabrese, Jr., Guard, Wall
Stats: 18.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 74 3-pointers
Wall had plenty of contributors during its best season in nearly a half-century, but Calabrese was the go-to-scorer on most nights for the Crimson Knights. He was one of 16 players in the Shore Conference to average 18 points or better and had three outings of more than 30 points. One of those was a 31-point effort in an overtime loss to Red Bank Catholic in the Shore Conference Tournament and another was his career-high 36 points in another loss – to Allentown just before the NJSIAA Tournament. While Wall would prefer to forget those results, the Crimson Knights will always remember their run to the Central Jersey Group III championship – the program’s first since 1973. Calabrese averaged 21 points in those four games and put up 27 in the sectional final win over Burlington Township. The 6-3 guard will enter 2019-20 as one of the Shore’s top returning players for a team with four returning starters.
Dwaine Jones, Sr., Guard, Neptune
Stats: 17.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.0 blocks, 53 3-pointers
Jones was already slated to take on a much bigger role as a senior guard this season with dominant big man Jared Kimbrough graduating from last year’s 22-win team. Jones’s job got a lot harder when sophomore backcourt-mate Sam Fagan sustained a season-ending leg injury in Neptune’s sixth game and all of a sudden, Jones was the only regular player from last seasons team. All the senior guard did was lead the Scarlet Fliers on a stretch of 11 wins in 12 games leading up to a 63-57 road loss to Toms River North in the SCT round of 16. He also guided the 18-11 Scarlet Fliers back to the Central Jersey Group III semifinals for the second straight season and in the last game of his career, Jones joined the 1,000-point club.
Greg Billups, Sr., Guard/Forward, Freehold Twp.
Stats: 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.6 steals, 22-for-64 (34.4%) 3-pointers
There have been Freehold Township teams that had better records, won outright division titles and even one that won a Shore Conference Tournament title. None, however, did what this year’s Patriots team did when they beat Trenton, 57-56, to win the program’s first Central Jersey Group IV championship after coming up short in six prior trips to the final since 1996. Freehold Township was as balanced a team as there was at the Shore, but when a game needed to be taken over, Billups was the man. He scored 16 points to go with six rebounds, three assists and three steals while taking over at a critical juncture of the fourth quarter to give the Patriots the lead. Billups would foul out and his team finished the job with the senior cheering from the sidelines. Billups was robbed of a season’s worth of games because of ankle injuries during both his sophomore and juniors but the championship performance was the ultimate redemption for the versatile 6-5 senior.
Matt Ganter, Sr., Guard, Howell
Stats: 26.2 points, 2.7 assists, 2.4 steals, 75 3-pointers, 85.2 FT%
Only three players in the Shore Conference averaged more than 25 points per game and two of them – Higgins and Sofield – were 1,000-point scorers before the year even started. The other was Ganter and the Rebels do-it-all guard entered his senior season with a modest 481 points before breaking out as a scorer for a Howell team that graduated every other regular from its 2017-18 rotation. Ganter broke 30 points in nine games this season and capped his season with a career-high 40 points in a double-overtime loss at Trenton, leading the 16th-seeded Rebels within a hair of upsetting the top-seeded Tornadoes in CJ IV.
Ahmadu Sarnor, Sr., Guard, Ranney
Stats: 10.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.5 steals, 76.3 FT%
Sarnor played in a little more than half of Ranney’s games this season but a half-season on the Tournament of Champions winner isn’t that far off from a full season for the average N.J. program. Factor in Sarnor’s impact during Ranney’s biggest games of the season (four SCT games, seven state tournament games, regular-season games vs. Gill St. Bernard and Roselle Catholic) and his body of work was plenty sufficient for All-Shore consideration. For the second straight year, the 6-2 guard came up big in the SCT final, scoring 16 of his 18 points in the second half to help the Panthers put away Manasquan. He went 9-for-10 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter of Ranney’s huge Non-Public B championship win over Roselle Catholic. He capped his Ranney career by scoring 13 points – all in the second half – in the Tournament of Champions final to help the Panthers close out a historic season and three-year run.
Dylan Kaufman, Sr., Center, Marlboro
Stats: 17.9 points, 9.4 rebounds
Injuries derailed what began as a promising season for Marlboro, with junior guard Alex Ratner missing time in the middle of the season and Kaufman missing the final four games of his senior season while under concussion protocol. That did not undo what Kaufman accomplished this season and over the course of his four-year varsity career. He finished as Marlboro’s all-time leading scorer with 1,177 points and was an integral part of Marlboro’s 2017 Shore Conference Tournament runner-up team that knocked off Ranney. In his final season, the 6-6 center went toe-to-toe with first-teamers Alex Galvan and Josh Cohen. He held Galvan to 10 points while scoring 14 in a December win over No. 2 Manasquan and put up 23 points, 12 rebounds and five points while limiting Cohen to 11 points in a loss at CBA during Ratner’s injury absence. Wins over Manasquan and Middletown South with a fully-healthy team evoke thoughts of what could have been for Marlboro this season, but Kaufman’s career was, nonetheless, among the best in the history of the program and his 2018-19 season among the best at the Shore.
Charlie Gordinier, Jr., Forward, Red Bank Catholic
Stats: 14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.1 blocks, 67 3-pointers
This was a tale of two seasons for Red Bank Catholic and Gordinier, the team’s leading scorer. RBC stormed out to a 14-1 record, including a 12-game winning streak tha Gordinier helped spearhead with his scoring prowess. During the 14-1 start, Gordinier averaged 17.9 points per game and he poured in 20.1 per game during the 12-game winning streak. RBC finished the season 6-7 over its last 13 and in those games, Gordinier averaged 10.5 points with defenses keying on him and fellow shooter John Duffy more and more as the season progressed. On the whole, though, Gordinier was a two-way player and the No. 1 scoring option on the No. 6 team at the Shore who threw together two impressive scoring performances against the No. 2 team at the Shore, including a home win over Manasquan. Gordinier will likely be the first player to join the 1,000-point club in 2019-20 and is currently a sought-after football recruit with current offers from LSU, West Virginia, UCLA, Indiana and others.
Phillip Wheeler, Jr., Forward, Ranney
Stats: 10.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.3 blocks
There are a whole host of players worthy of an All-Shore spot who missed out and might not be happy to see a player who missed the first 10 games of the season and averaged 10 points per game make the cut. Wheeler, however, did his part. He played 24 games, which was as many or more than 13 Shore Conference teams this season, and he sacrificed the perimeter part of his game for the good of a team that went on to win the Tournament of Champions. Wheeler has shown deep range on his shot and considerable handle for a player of his 6-8 stature, but he ventured inside to battle some of the state’s top big men to free up Scottie Lewis to defend opponents’ top perimeter threats. It was a niche role for a player with a wide skillset, but that skillset was still on display plenty: 20 points and 13 boards in an SCT win vs. Middletown South, 14 points and 10 rebounds in a win over nationally-ranked Federal Way, 16 points each against Trenton Catholic and Rutgers Prep in the NJSIAA Tournament, and 14 points and six rebounds in the T of C final vs. Bergen Catholic.
All-Shore Final Vote Winners - Mike Goodall (TR East) and Andrew Abujawdeh (Colts Neck)