Boys Basketball – Calabrese Catches Fire As Wall Tops Matawan
ABERDEEN TWP. - Wall senior Quinn Calabrese was not feeling 100 percent physically when his Crimson Knights basketball team tipped off against Shore Conference Class B North co-leader Matawan Tuesday not.
Whatever ailed Calabrese did not keep him out of the lineup and it was nothing a red-hot shooting performance couldn't cure.
Calabrese caught fire from behind the three-point line in the first half and finished 7-for-11 from beyond the arc to highlight a complete performance for Wall - the No. 9 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - in a 62-52 road win over No. 7 Matawan.
PHOTO GALLERY: Wall at Matawan by Paula Lopez
"We wasn't feeling well and at one point, he looked over and said, 'I gotta come out (of the game)," Wall coach Bob Klatt said. "For Quinn to tell you he's gotta come out hen he is shooting the ball like that, I knew something wasn't right. Then he hit (his fourth) three and he was like, 'Forget it, forget it. I'm good.'"
"Sometime in the first quarter I just randomly started feeling like I was going to throw up," said Calabrese, who played all 32 minutes. "But I got some water in me and I was fine for the rest of the game."
Calabrese scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, including five of his seven three-pointers. His seventh and final three halted a Matawan surge that cut Wall's lead to five points, giving the Crimson Knights a 54-46 lead with under five minutes to go and sparking a 9-0 run that closed out the game.
Wall seized control of Tuesday's first-place showdown during the second quarter after Matawan took an 11-10 lead after one quarter and scored the first basket of the second quarter to go up 13-10. Calabrese then scored Wall's next nine points on three three-pointers to claim a 19-15 lead for his team and the Crimson Knights closed the half with a 26-11 surge to go up, 36-24, at the break.
"My teammates were getting me open shots and we were moving the ball really well in the first half," Calabrese said. "We got out on the break and I hit some threes there. Ball movement - that's all it was.
"In some of our games this year, we have been dribbling a little bit too much. We would force the ball inside and not look to kick out as much but the kick-outs were there tonight."
Junior Pat Lacey added 16 points for Wall and junior Logan Peters chipped in nine points, 10 rebounds, four assists and five steals while also playing tough defense against 6-foot-6 Matawan center John Beukers.
Wall's lone starter to graduate from a year ago was 6-4 forward Trey Dombroski, who drew assignments against post players during Wall's 21-win season in 2018-19. Peters is emerging as a capable post defender this season as Wall has taken more of a committee approach to stopping players of Beukers's ilk.
"We knew coming into Saturday (against Toms River North) we were going to have back-to-back games against some tough big men," Klatt said, referencing Toms River North center Najae Hallenbeck (27 points and 16 rebounds vs. Wall) and Beukers. "It's tough missing a guy like Trey. He was really good at neutralizing bigs last year, but Ack (Ian Ackerman) and Logan, they do a good job against those 6-6 and 6-8 guys."
Beukers and senior teammate Ethan Okello led Matawan Tuesday night while the Huskies played shorthanded. Senior guard Niles Haliburton sat out due to illness and 6-5 senior Elijah McKenzie was in street clothes after suffering an injury in a loss to Marist on Monday.
Okello paced Matawan with 16 points and five assists while Beukers put up 14 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
On top of the defensive effort on Beukers, Peters and his five steals highlighted a Wall defense that forced 10 first-half turnovers and 14 for the game.
The two teams each entered play Tuesday with 6-0 records in Class B North and in winning the game, Wall completed a perfect turn through the division as it pursues a second straight Class B North title.
"They all played well," Klatt said. "I'm very happy to see it because it's the best they have played in a while. This is a big win on the road.