Boys Basketball – 2021 Season Preview: Point Beach
From approximately 2009-10 until the 2017-18 season, the Point Pleasant Beach boys basketball team was a perennial contender in the NJSIAA Group I playoffs, was routinely a top 10 team in the Shore Conference and a Shore Conference Tournament title contender a number of times as well. After a big drop-off from a sectional championship in 2018 to a one-win season the following year, the Garnet Gulls were one of the Shore’s most improved teams in 2019-20, when they increased their win total from one to 14. At the end of the year though, 16-year coach Nick Catania stepped down after a decade-and-a-half long effort that transformed Point Beach into a championship program, destination school and a Division I scholarship factory.
New coach Ed Goodman takes over a unique situation and while he won’t be aiming to replicate Catania’s tenure step for step, the goal will be to remain a competitive, winning team within Group I and the Class B Central division. Playing against Mater Dei Prep, Keyport, Keansburg, Asbury Park and Henry Hudson in pod play, Point Beach will have a good chance at another winning season thanks to a solid group of returnees that will have to replace two major sources of production from a year ago. Junior guard Anthony Longo and senior forward Joe Coakley were starting-lineup regulars throughout 2019-20 and will be two of the more reliable players in their pod.
Senior Matt Cavanaugh and junior Andrew Laumbach are two more frontcourt players with starting experience and with those two teaming up with Coakley, the Garnet Gulls will have an experienced, solid group of interior players. Sophomore Kevin Burns and junior Andrew Seaman will be key cogs in the backcourt, with Burns a likely starter and Seaman either a starter in a three-guard lineup or the first man off the bench. Point Beach lost a lot of scoring in graduating Jake Clark and in losing Chris Venturosa to a transfer, but there is enough depth, experience and energy to give Goodman and the Gulls a chance to keep winning games.
Goodman and his new-look Garnet Gulls will have to wait to make their 2021 debut, with the program currently on hold due to COVID-19 protocol.
Head Coach: Ed Goodman, first season
2019-20 Record: 14-14 (8-4, third in Class B Central)
2020 Postseason Performance: Lost in Shore Conference Tournament first round (Marlboro); reached NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I quarterfinals (lost to Bound Brook)
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.
Anthony Longo, Jr., 6-0, Guard (RS)
Kevin Burns, So., 6-0, Guard (R)
Joe Coakley, Sr., 6-3, Forward (RS)
Andrew Laumbach, Jr., 6-2, Forward (RS)
Matt Cavanaugh, Sr., 6-3, Forward (RS)
Jake Clark, 6-1, Guard
Chris Venturoso, So., 6-2, Guard/Forward (Transferred to Lacey)
Off the Bench
Andrew Seaman, Jr., 5-11, Guard (R)
Dave Terra-Nova, Sr., 6-0, Guard (R)
Stephen Seaman, So., 5-10, Guard
Kyle Simpson, Jr., 6-1, Forward (transfer from St. John Vianney)
Christian Flores, Jr., 5-10, Guard (R)
Shae Gada, Jr., 5-10, Guard
RS – Returning Starter
R – Returning Varsity Player
Player to Watch: Joe Coakley
Coakley was the third-most productive player on Point Beach last year, posting 5.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game during his junior season, while also leading the team with 20 blocks. Point Beach will look to Coakley to finish off more plays to increase his scoring and after answering the call last year, the 6-foot-3 senior is primed to take over as a leader on a team with a new head coach.
Big Shoes to Fill: Kevin Burns and Andrew Seaman
Replacing all-around talent Jake Clark (18.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.4 steals) was already going to be a tall order for this year’s Point Beach squad, so losing sophomore and second-leading scorer Chris Venturoso (13.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game) to Lacey is a big blow to the lineup. To replace that production, Point Beach will need its frontcourt depth to stay solid with some guards to step up alongside Longo on the perimeter. Burns and Seaman will be the duo that rounds out the back court and with those guys making shots, the team should be well-rounded on the offensive side.
Impact Newcomer: Stephen Seaman
Burns is a sophomore looking to make a difference in the first year of a new era at Point Beach and Seaman is another who could carve out a spot in the regular rotation in his second high school season. Point Beach will have three seniors that see the floor in Coakley, Cavanaugh and Terranova, so the young core is already going to be a key to the season. With Seaman entering the fold – along with Simpson and Flores – Point Beach can feature some lineups that will still be around in 2022.
X-Factor: Paint Presence
Clark and Veturoso carried the offense last year and also contributed on the glass, and while replacing the scoring will be a challenge, the rebounding should still be there. Point Beach has at least three starting caliber interior players in Coakley, Laumbach and Cavanagh and the Garnet Gulls will look to those three to win games in the paint on both ends of the floor.
Jan. 28 at Keyport – PPD, TBA
Feb. 1 vs. Keansburg, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 3 at Keansburg, 3:45 p.m.
Feb. 4 vs. Keyport, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 9 vs. Asbury Park, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 11 at Asbury Park, 4 p.m.
Feb. 13 at St. John Vianney, 1 p.m.
Feb. 15 at Mater Dei Prep, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 17 vs. Mater Dei Prep, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 20 at Point Boro, 1 p.m.
Feb. 23 at Henry Hudson, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 25 vs. Henry Hudson, 5:30 p.m.