RUMSON – First-year Red Bank Catholic head boys basketball coach James Catalano was not sure what to expect from his new team prior to the first day of practice this past November. Up until Monday night, he still did not know what he had with a young-but-experienced Caseys roster.

Against two Shore Sports Network Top 10 teams in two nights, Red Bank Catholic’s players began to show their new coach what they are made of.

Red Bank Catholic guard Joe Montano dribbles through the Rumson defense during his team's 77-66 win on Tuesday night. (Photo by Matt Manley)

For the second time in as many nights Tuesday, the Casey held off a furious comeback against a ranked Shore Conference Class A Central opponent, this time beating No. 7 Rumson-Fair Haven on the road, 77-66.

“One of the toughest situations a team finds itself in is after they give up a big lead,” Catalano said. “A lot of times when a team comes back from a double-digit deficit, it’s hard to stop that momentum, but our guys showed a lot of character and a lot of composure to gather themselves and finish these two games off, on back-to-back nights no less.”

One night earlier, Red Bank Catholic outlasted No. 9 Shore Regional, 81-75, in overtime after squandering an 18-point halftime lead.

Junior Liam Byrne scored a game-high 21 points to lead RBC and sophomore Eddie Hahn scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half against Rumson.

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Red Bank Catholic outscored Rumson 20-11 in the third quarter to take a 53-43 lead into the fourth quarter and led by as many as 15 points in the quarter. After Rumson scored the first basket of the second half to go up 34-33, the Caseys hit the Bulldogs with a 12-0 run to go up 46-34 and built the lead to 51-36 with an overall run of 17-2.

Hahn had five points during the run and senior center Tim O’Hara helped key the run off the bench with six points in that stretch. O’Hara finished with eight points, all of which came in the third quarter.

“The last few games, we’ve finally started to put everything together,” Hahn said. “We’ve had some guys hurt and some of us just weren’t clicking early on, but we’re starting to learn the new system and guys are starting to play with confidence, and it shows in these last two wins.”

Rumson overcame the 15-point third quarter deficit and pulled to within 60-57 inside the three-minute mark left in the fourth. RBC responded, however, with a 7-0 run, keyed by the third of Byrne’s three 3-pointers that made it 65-57. Hahn capped the run with a transition lay-up off an outlet pass from senior center Quenton Nelson.

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The Bulldogs again overcame a double-digit deficit to cut the Caseys’ lead to 70-66 with 43 seconds left on a double-clutch three-point shot by sophomore Brendan Barry, who led Rumson with 20 points. Junior Morgan Maguire stole the ball on the ensuing RBC possession to give Rumson a chance to make it a one-possession game, but the Bulldogs could not convert a three-point attempt and RBC put the game away with three free-throws and layups by Byrne and Hahn.

Junior point guard Joe Montano also poured in 12 points for RBC and sophomore Evan Madigan added 10 to put four Caseys in double figures. Madigan scored 20 points in the overtime win over Shore on Monday to go with the game-high 29 that Hahn scored.

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“We have guys on this team with definite roles, and they know it’s important that they understand those roles because, quite frankly, not everyone is able to handle everything that I’d like at this point,” Catalano said. “Only a few guys have the base skills to handle what we’re trying to do and those are the guys who are getting the majority of the shots. As everyone gets comfortable in their roles and picks up the offense, hopefully we’ll have more guys contributing.”

Junior Thomas Famulary scored 18 points for Rumson, which lost senior and leading scorer Jack Herrmann to his fifth foul with 5:59 left in the fourth quarter. Herrmann finished with eight points.

Red Bank Catholic began the season with a 59-31 loss at Manasquan, the defending division champion, and also suffered double-digit losses to Freehold Township (75-65) and Red Bank (71-50). Since the loss to Red Bank, a game that Nelson, a Notre Dame football recruit, missed in order to play in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, RBC is 4-0 with wins over Raritan, Holmdel, Shore and Rumson – all division wins.

After a shaky start to the season, RBC trails only Manasquan (7-1, 5-0) in the standings and Catalano said he expects to get senior T.J. Verdiglione back within the next week or two after a bout with mononucleosis.

“We’re starting to do some of the things I’d hope we’d be able to do at the start of the season and even then, we’re a long way off from where I’d like to be,” said Catalano, who previously coached at Boonton High School and was the head coach at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. “We have a lot of young, relatively inexperienced players, but to see them show this kind of character is a great sign that, hopefully, there are some good days ahead.”




Box Score

Red Bank Catholic 77, Rumson-Fair Haven 66






Red Bank Catholic (6-3, 4-1)






Rumson-Fair Haven (6-2, 2-2)







Red Bank Catholic (77): Joe Montano 4 2-2 12, Evan Madigan 3 3-4 10, Quenton Nelson 2 2-5 6, Eddie Hahn 6 2-2 15, Liam Byrne 7 4-5 21, Shaughnessy 1 0-0 3, Kevin Fazio 1 0-0 2, Tom Montano 0 0-0 0, Tim O’Hara 2 4-4 8, Kyle Jeffery 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 17-22 77

Three-Pointers: Montano 2, Madigan, Hahn, Byrne 3, Shaughnessy

Rumson-Fair Haven (66): Brendan Barry 7 1-1 20, Thomas Famulary 5 7-10 18, Morgan Maguire 3 3-4 9, Jack Herrmann 3 2-3 8, Alex Geiger 0 0-0 0, Chris Drummond 2 0-0 4, Ralph Del Negro 0 0-0 0, Jack Luby 2 2-2 7. Totals: 22 15-20 66

Three-Pointers: Barry 5, Famulary, Luby

Fouled Out: Herrmann