The Rumson boys basketball team opened its 2016-17 season short two returning starters (Elijah McAllister and Mike O'Connor) due to injury while also tasked with replacing the program's all-time leading scorer, Brendan Barry. Faced with those immense odds, the Bulldogs have not only survived; they've thrived.

Rumson is off to a perfect start to the season with wins in each of its first eight games this year. Last week's collection of wins could wind up being the Bulldogs' best and after another rocksteady performance, Rumson is the Army Strong Team of the Week for Week Two of the award.

The Bulldogs began the New Year with a 75-57 win over Middletown South, sparked by a career night from sophomore Ian O'Connor. After setting a career-high with 17 points in his previous game, O'Connor shattered that mark by scoring 35 on 13-for-15 shooting. That performance also helped him win the Shore Sports Network Player of the Week, as voted for by the fans.

Following the win over one local rival, Rumson took down its foe closest in proximity on. Jan. 5, when the Bulldogs rolled down Ridge Road and through Red Bank Regional, 51-35. In that win, Rumson held the Bucs to nine first-half points and got a strong shooting performance from junior Teddy Sourlis, who hit five three-pointers and finished with 17 points.

Rumson got its most impressive win to date at the Hoop Group Boardwalk Showcase Saturday against a veteran Marlboro team that, like Rumson, is battling an injury bug. After a tight game throughout, Sourlis hit a clutch three to put the Bulldogs ahead for good with 1:30 left and O'Connor iced the game at the free-throw line to give Rumson the 49-44 win and preserve the undefeated start.

After a big week last week, the Bulldogs opened this week with their eighth straight win by edging Holmdel, 52-47.


Other 2017 Team of the Week Winners

Week 1: Ocean