TINTON FALLS - Bryan Antoine insists he never thought about being the greatest scorer in the history of Shore Conference basketball and despite entering Wednesday's game against Mater Dei Prep on the cusp of that accomplishment, sometimes he has to be reminded of it.

"There have been times I or one of the other coaches has to tell him to shoot or be more aggressive," Ranney coach Tahj Holden said. "There was one time, I think it was against Mater Dei last year, when he came up to me and asked if it was okay for him to start shooting. I said, 'Bryan, you don't ever have to ask my permission.'"

He might not lace up his sneakers thinking about breaking all-time records, but that did not stop Antoine from chasing down the Shore Conference's all-time scoring record, a chase that ended with 3:20 left in the third quarter of Ranney's 103-43 rout of Mater Dei on a record-breaking dunk by the 6-foot-5 Villanova commit.

Antoine finished with a game-high 30 points and surpassed a 46-year-old record held by Norm Caldwell of long-defunct Croydon Hall since 1973. Antoine tied the record with a three-pointer from the left wing and on the next possession, he took a pass from fellow McDonald's All-American Scottie Lewis and dropped in a one-handed dunk to pass Caldwell.

Bryan Antoine 1) is rushed by Alex Klatsky 3) and the rest of his teammates after breaking the Shore Conference scoring record on Wednesday night. Phot by Paula Lopez)
Bryan Antoine (1) is rushed by Alex Klatsky (3) and the rest of his teammates after breaking the Shore Conference scoring record on Wednesday night. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

"I really wasn't aware of how many points I had," Antoine said. "The reason I screamed after I dunked the ball is because I thought it was a big play to get the crowd riled up. After I came back to the three-point line, Ahmadu (Sarnor), Scottie and Chris (Autino) started hugging me and that's when I knew. I didn't even totally know until they had the banner out there. I thought it was a timeout or something."

By the end of the night, Antoine stood alone at the top of the Shore's all-time list with 2,313 career points - 11 ahead of the now-second-place Caldwell.

"Bryan was quiet today, like any other day," Lewis said. "He knew he had something to prove in breaking the record. We tried to make plays for him to make sure he got that record. We're all just speechless. We are all so excited for him. This is something that doesn't come around like that - a guy like that, a player like that, a genuine person like he is. He deserves it."

Bryan Antoine goes up for his record-breaking basket on Wednesday night. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
Bryan Antoine goes up for his record-breaking basket on Wednesday night. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

More than anything, Antoine's record-setting career has been defined by his remarkable consistency. Antoine has not missed a single game since starting on opening night as a freshman and up until a Jan. 27 loss to Gill St. Bernard, he had never scored fewer than 10 points in any high school game.

Antoine also has never scored 40 or more points in a high-school game and his career-high of 39 came during his freshman season. His scoring has steadily increased from year-to-year: 20.7 points as a freshman, 21 as a sophomore, 21.4 as a junior and currently stands at 23.9 this season despite never attempting 20 shots in any game this season.

Although the record was well within reach - Antoine needed 20 points to break Caldwell's record at the opening tip - Antoine was not especially aggressive and scored 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting in the first half. Even with only eight first-half shots, Antoine still had an inclination that he was pressing.

"After the first half, the coaches thought I was probably trying to reach it too aggressively," Antoine said. "At halftime, coach (Holden) just told me to calm down and start attacking the basket and that's what I did and it happened."

Antoine missed his first shot of the third quarter and then found a rhythm. He converted a three-point play to get to 14 points, then followed with a dunk to reach 16.

Antoine finally got a three-pointer to fall around the midway mark of the third quarter to pull into a tie with Caldwell for first place on the all-time list with 2,302. Lewis came up with the ball on the ensuing Mater Dei possession and flung a long pass to Antoine, who leaked out ahead of the pack. The senior took a dribble and went up for a dunk that he just managed to push over the rim to register the record-setting points.

"I'm not trying to sound cocky but my first game freshman year I had 26 points and that was just me being me without trying to do too much," Antoine said. "But what I have been able to reach over the last four years I would have never thought of. It just goes to my coaching staff, my teammates, God. It's all unbelievable."

Beginning with the three-point play in the third, Antoine hit seven of his last eight shots and finished 11-for-17 for the game.

"To be in the company he is is incredible and he has done it the right way," Holden said. "He doesn't hunt shots, he is not a ball hog, he has done most of his scoring within the offense and getting out in transition and doing what he does. It's a great accomplishment for him and it's a great accomplishment for our team for setting him up over the years."

The record-setting performance came on Ranney's Senior Night, in which the school honored a class that since joining the program in 2015-16 with coach Tahj Holden has gone 91-16. Lewis and fellow seniors Ahmadu Sarnor and Alex Klatsky all reached double-figure scoring in their final regular-season home game, with Sarnor scoring 17, Lewis pouring in 12 and Klatsky netting 11.

Sarnor also chipped in six rebounds and six assists while Antoine also contributed five rebounds and five assists for Ranney.

Senior Chris Autino chipped in six points and fellow senior Mike Dettro added a three-pointer. The only louder crowd reaction that the one on Antoine's record-breaking shot was on a pair of free-throws by senior Cole Redman in the fourth quarter to make it seven seniors to score on Wednesday.

Junior Phillip Wheeler also scored 14 points with five dunks for Ranney, which clinched its third straight Shore Conference Class B Central championship and second outright with the win.

"With eight seniors, there was a lot to think about," Holden said. "Overall, I would say it was perfect night."

Antoine will look to add to his record over what he and his team hopes to be 13 more games this season. Ranney wraps up its regular season with a high-profile showdown against national power Montverde in the Metro Classic Friday at Kean University, then plays Class B Central rival Asbury Park on Saturday to close out the regular-season schedule.

Ranney will then begin its Shore Conference Tournament championship defense beginning on Feb. 14 and will eventually set out to win the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions title to finish No. 1 in the state. No Shore Conference team has ever won the T of C and only one team - Neptune in 2002 - has ever reached the championship game.

As much as Antoine has cemented his individual legacy, he and his teammates would like to leave a lasting impression on the state by taking home the top prize in New Jersey high school basketball.

"There are a lot more steps for our legacy to be fulfilled," Lewis said. "We have a Shore Conference Tournament to win, we have a TOC to win, but it's about the culture - the culture we have created, the mark we're leaving at the Ranney School, in the Shore Conference and in the state of New Jersey."


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