Boys Basketball – 2021 Season Preview: Ocean
In a 2019-20 season that began with high expectations, Ocean could never quite get its entire talented, balanced roster on the court at once at 100 percent. Top scorer Jack Miller, Sam Meeks, Cole Kelly and Jack Savare all missed multiple games over the course of the season, which had an accumulating effect in sinking Ocean’s chances to make a push for a division championship and a deep postseason run. Despite that, the Spartans still managed to win a road Shore Conference Tournament game at Rumson-Fair Haven and push Holmdel to the final minutes in the next round.
After missing out what could have been a bigger season, Ocean is embarking on a rebuilding year with a new coach and doing it in the Shore Conference’s toughest pod. Former assistant Ryan Pringle takes over as the head man and he will have a new-look group with a few holdovers from 2020 and plenty of questions as well. Corey Miller opted to transfer to the Pennington School instead of playing his junior year at Ocean, taking 15 points per game out of a would-be returning lineup.
Miller’s transfer will put some additional onus on returning starter Evan Peters and returnees Jack Savare and Matt Shaw, all of whom were role players last year and have a chance to show more this year against a challenging schedule. Peters and Shaw are guards and strong shooters, while Savare has the potential to fill up the stat sheet. Junior Aidan Tisony and senior Jamal Cetoute join the starting five and the Spartans will call on a deep bench to find both the help to get through a brutal 2021 slate of games, as well as some potential for 2022.
Head Coach: Ryan Pringle, first season
2019-20 Record: 14-11 (6-8, fifth in Class B North)
2020 Postseason Performance: Reached Shore Conference Tournament round of 16 (lost to Holmdel); lost in NJSIAA Centra Jersey Group III first round (Allentown)
Disclaimer: Projected lineups listed in the 2021 Shore Sports Network Preview are not necessarily directly from coaches. Some are, while others are projections from Shore Sports Network staff. In either case, the projected lineup is fluid and could change leading up to the start of the season and beyond. Check back for periodic updates to every team's projected starting lineup on shoresportsnetwork.com.
Aidan Tisony, Jr., 5-10, Guard
Matt Shaw, Sr., 6-0, Guard (R)
Evan Peters, Sr., 6-1, Guard (RS)
Jamal Cetoute, Sr., 6-0, Guard
Jack Savare, Sr., 6-3, Forward (R)
Jack Miller, 5-10, Guard
Corey Miller, So., 6-1, Guard – Transferred to Pennington
Sam Meeks, 6-1, Forward
Cole Kelly, 6-5, Center
I’Shyne Woodard, 5-10, Guard
Off the Bench
Mike DiDario, Sr., 6-2, Guard/Forward
Reif Birzin, Sr., 6-0, Guard
Rusty Todd, Sr., 6-3, Forward
Ethan Lowther, Sr., 5-10, Guard
Cord Birzin, Jr., 6-2, Forward
Justin McMahon, Jr., 6-3, Guard
Brandon Loughlin, So., 6-5, Forward
Ethan Brawer, Jr., 5-8, Guard
Shane Garrett, So., 6-1, Forward
Devon Simms, Fr., 6-5, Forward
RS – Returning Starter
R – Returning Varsity Player
Player to Watch: Jack Savare
Peters and Shaw got more total playing time last year due to some injury issues for Savare, but the 6-3 senior enters 2021 healthy and ready to put it together. Savare will be a solid contributor on both ends of the floor and can score from several spots on the floor. Ocean has a number of potential leading scorers and if it is not Savare, he will still do a little bit of everything – perhaps a lot of everything.
Big Shoes to Fill: Evan Peters
Jack and Corey Miller were a lethal sibling duo, combining for 29 points per game last season, even with Jack working through some injury issues. With both now gone, Ocean will need scoring from a lot of different places, including from Peters – a sharpshooter from the outside on last year’s team.
Impact Newcomer: Aidan Tisony
Tisony is a quick guard and standout on the soccer pitch, so he will pump some speed and energy into the Ocean lineup. With a pair of shooters in Peters and Shaw, plus a longer wing like Savare floating around, there are some potential finishers if Tisony can catch on a point guard with a threat to score on his own as well.
X-Factor: The non-pod schedule
Ocean went from playing in a Class B North division that, even with a clear-cut No. 1 team in Wall, featured close games throughout the standings every night. Ocean even beat Wall two years ago during the Crimson Knights’ first of two straight division-title runs. Now, the Spartans find themselves among some of the Shore’s giants. On top of Wall and Neptune, the Spartans got stuck with Manasquan and Ranney – the last two Shore Conference Tournament champions – as well as St. Rose. For now, the two Wall games originally scheduled to open the season have been knocked off the schedule due to a spread of COVID-19 cases at the school (and replaced with Raritan and Keyport) and Ocean managed to switch out of two games with Ranney in exchange for two with Asbury Park, but the schedule is still awfully tough for a team with so many unknowns going into opening night.
Jan. 26 vs. Raritan, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 28 at Keyport, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 2 vs. St. Rose, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 4 at St. Rose, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 6 vs. Monmouth, 11:30 a.m.
Feb. 8 vs. Manasquan, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 10 at Manasquan, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 13 at Shore, 1 p.m.
Feb. 16 at Neptune, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 18 vs. Neptune, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 23 vs. Asbury Park, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 25 at Asbury Park, 4 p.m.