Boys Basketball – Army Strong Team of the Week: Mater Dei Prep
In a season with plenty of great weeks and perhaps some even better weeks to come, the Mater Dei Prep boys basketball team had its most accomplished stretch of the season from Jan. 31 to the end of last week. That stretch was worthy of the week six Shore Sports Network Army Strong Team of the Week award of the season.
The Seraphs scored an impressive 57-49 win over St. Joseph of Montvale on Jan. 31 in a battle between two teams ranked in the top 20 in the state at the time, according to NJ.com. Mater Dei followed by beating Ranney, 64-52, for the second time this season to clinch a share of a division title for the first time since 2005. The Seraphs went on to clinch the outright title on Tuesday against St. Rose on Tuesday and completed an unbeaten B Central season by beating Asbury Park on Thursday.
During its ressurgent season, Mater Dei has relied on a deep roster and balanced lineup that was on display during its Team-of-the-Week performance. Junior Elijah Barnes scored 15 points to take home the MVP of the Valerie Fund Showcase game against St. Joseph, then scored 17 in the win over Ranney.
Seniors NyQuan McCombs and Kyle Elliot were both instrumental in both wins, with McCombs averaging 14 points in the two games while defending and limiting the top scorer on each team - Nate Garvey of St. Joe's and Bryan Antoine of Ranney. Elliot, meanwhile, finished strong in both games with six of his eight points in the fourth quarter against St. Joseph and all 15 of his points in the second half against Ranney.
With Thursday's win over Asbury Park, Mater Dei extended its winning streak to 16 straight games and will look to make it 17 against Notre Dame on Saturday before heading into the Shore Conference Tournament - potentially as the No. 1 seed.
Previous Teams of the Week