COLTS NECK – If the first four games of its Shore Conference Class B North schedule were not proof enough that the Colts Neck boys basketball team can shut opponents down on the defensive end, Monday night’s game against Red Bank Catholic – the No. 3 team in the latest Shore Sports Network Top 10 – was the exclamation point on a definitive statement by the Cougars.

No. 8 Colts Neck locked down one of the Shore’s top scoring squads and earned a 54-39 victory that solidified the Cougars’ hold on first place in B North during the early part of the season.

“We felt pretty good about our ability to play defense coming into the year,” senior and four-year varsity player Chris O’Reilly said. “We have a lot of experience coming back from last year and most of the guys came back bigger, stronger and faster, and that’s shown on the defensive side, especially playing against teams that also have good athletes.”

Colts Neck senior Chris O'Reilly scored 10 points and the Cougars turned in another suffocating defensive effort in a win over Red Bank Catholic. (Photo by Larry Murphy)

Colts Neck held Red Bank Catholic to 4-for-22 (18.2 percent) shooting from behind the three-point arc and 13-for-46 (28.3 percent) from the field. RBC entered Monday averaging better than 58 points per game over its first nine games.

“Our game plan was to try and stop (junior) Eddie Hahn, and Chris O’Reilly did a lock-down job. He was unbelievable,” Colts Neck coach Lou Piccola said. “(Hahn) is a dangerous shooter and a phenomenal athlete, and he’s the kind of player you worry about going into the game. But we felt like if we could stop him, we could disrupt what they were trying to do.”

In five games against divisional competition this season, Colts Neck is holding its opponents to fewer than 40 points per game. In the last three games against No. 9 Neptune, defending division champion Matawan and Red Bank Catholic – all three of which were preseason top 10 teams – Colts Neck did not allow 40 points in any of them.

Junior guard Lloyd Daniels scored a game-high 16 points to go with five rebounds and five assists while playing 21 minutes thanks to second-quarter foul trouble.

“It’s a team game,” Piccola said. “Someone goes out, you pick each other up. I was just glad we had a lead when Lloyd went to the bench. He was playing great.”

In Colts Neck’s win over Matawan on Thursday night, Daniels hit a game-winning shot in the final seconds while shooting just 3-for-11 from the floor. Monday, he was on target early and finished 7-for-10 from the floor.

“I came out with more confidence tonight, especially after getting through that Matawan game,” Daniels said. “That was a tough crowd there, the fans got to me a little bit, but being able to get a win in that environment gave me and the team confidence, especially coming back home.”

O’Reilly added 10 points, Mike Lamb and Kyle Gordon each chipped in eight points, while Tom O’Reilly contributed seven.

Colts Neck built a 14-8 lead by the end of the first quarter and blew the game open with a 14-4 run to close the second quarter. Daniels picked up his second foul and went to the bench with 4:04 left in the second quarter and the Cougars still outscored the Caseys 6-0 over the remainder of the first half.

Red Bank Catholic missed its first nine three-point attempts before senior Liam Byrne finally knocked down the Caseys’ first three midway through the third quarter. Byrne finished with a team-high 13 points and hit three of RBC’s four 3-pointers.

“The key to defending them is to pressure the ball and run defenders at the wings,” Chris O’Reilly said. “All five guys can shoot it for them, so we knew we had to apply plenty of pressure on their guards and be ready to help if any of us got beat. We’re also fortunate to have some guys with size and athleticism who can protect the rim.”

Colts Neck will try to check two more opponents off its list when it meets Red Bank later in the week and Wall early next week. Red Bank and Wall are tied for second in the division after Tuesday’s action, with Wall winning its fifth straight Monday night by beating Matawan at home.

“I think with each game, we’re coming out with more and more confidence,” Daniels said. “We all feel we can compete with anybody in the Shore, and it’s starting to show in the results.”

 

Box Score

Colts Neck 54, Red Bank Catholic 39

1

2

3

4

F

Red Bank Catholic (7-3, 4-2)

8

6

10

15

39

Colts Neck (7-1, 5-0)

14

16

9

15

54

 

Red Bank Catholic (39): Joe Montano 3 3-6 9, Liam Byrne 4 2-2 13, Kevin Fazio 3 0-2 6, Eddie Hahn 1 0-0 2, Evan Madigan 0 4-4 4, Tom Montano 0 0-0 0, Mike Travers 1 0-0 2, John Poccia 1 0-0 3, Mark Caverly 0 0-0 0, Mike Conley 0 0-0 0, Anthony DeRosa 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 9-14 39

Three-pointers: Byrne 3, Poccia

Colts Neck (54): Colton LaLima 0 0-1 0, Chris O’Reilly 5 0-0 10, Mike Lamb 3 2-2 8, Tom O’Reilly 3 1-2 7, Lloyd Daniels 7 0-0 16, Kyle Gordon 4 0-0 8, Jordan DeGroot 1 3-4 5, Tim Cavrack 0 0-0 0, Chris Dombrow 0 0-0 0, Khaled Mostafa 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 6-9 54

Three-pointers: Daniels 2