Boys Basketball – Dunne Leaves on Stretcher in Matawan’s Loss at Red Bank
LITTLE SILVER – When it comes to the health of a high school athlete, no coach is more sensitive than Red Bank boys basketball coach Scott Martin. The 14-year coach of the Bucs watched one of his players lose his life while playing in a preseason game a little more than two years ago, so when he saw two more coping with troubling ailments on Tuesday night, his mind was not on his team’s resounding Shore Conference Class B North division win over the defending division champions.
Red Bank – the No. 3 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 – pounded No. 7 Matawan at home, 64-36, behind another balanced effort from its deep roster, but the celebration was short-lived, if even existent at all. Matawan senior captain and leading scorer Jason Dunne was taken out of the gym on a stretcher to Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank while the second half was in progress after feeling light-headed during halftime, according to Huskies coach Tom Stead.
Dunne was treated for dehydration after undergoing a series of tests and was expected to be released from Riverview late Tuesday night, according to Artie Cassidy, Dunne’s uncle.
After hearing about Matawan’s star player, Martin then tended to Bucs senior Jake Marcin, who Martin said suffers from migraine headaches and was dealing with an episode during and after the game.
“It’s a huge win for us, but I don’t think anybody’s thinking about it right now,” Martin said. “Obviously, we hope Dunne is okay. He’s a great player and you hate to hear about anybody being taken away on a stretcher. Hopefully it’s not anything serious, but you can’t take any chances when you’re dealing with the well-being of a kid.”
Dunne scored eight points in the first half and showed no ill effects heading into the halftime locker room, at least not physically, as Matawan trailed 38-18 at halftime. According to Stead, Dunne warmed up for the second half, and as the teams prepared to take the floor for the second half, his leading scorer asked out of the game.
“Jason was at the water cooler, and I saw he was drinking a lot of water,” Stead said. “I figured he was just feeling thirsty or maybe he was catching something with it being flu season. But then he kind of sat down on the bench, and that’s when I noticed he wasn’t looking so good.
“He was feeling weak and experiencing some light-headedness. He’s always been a warrior on the court. If something is bothering him, he won’t say anything. He said to me, ‘Coach, I can’t go.’ And that’s not Jason.”
Stead added that he found out after the incident that Dunne is hypoglycemic, which is also commonly referred to as “low blood sugar.” Cassidy, who was with Dunne in the athletic trainer’s room, said Dunne’s blood pressure was abnormally high and that he was especially pale.
Dunne was an All-Shore first-team selection by Shore Sports Network and committed to the University of Hartford over the summer. He entered Tuesday's game averaging 17.6 points per game, including a 29-point outing in Matawan's last game, a win over Tottenville of Staten Island in the Husky Classic Holiday Tournament.
A little more than two years ago, Red Bank senior Albert Martin died of heart failure during a preseason scrimmage in Red Bank’s gymnasium. The Bucs highlighted a 5-0 start to this season by winning their own Albert E. Martin Buc Classic over winter break, which is named in honor of Martin.
“These are two basketball players, but first and foremost, these are two sons,” Martin said. “Sure, we have a game to play and that’s why we’re here, but it’s hard to be concerned about the game with everything that’s going on."
Marcin joined the Red Bank program after transferring from Christian Brothers Academy last season and has factored into the Bucs' deep rotation this season. Martin was aware of Marcin’s history of migraines, and when he complained of headaches during to the game, he chose to sit him.
“He’s a good player who has worked hard and found a role for himself on our team,” Martin said of Marcin. “He has played well as of late and it’s a shame he wasn’t able to go tonight. But seeing how those headaches affect him and the amount of pain and discomfort they cause, it’s not really a decision at that point.”
Without Dunne, Matawan could not overcome a 20-point hole that the Huskies fell into even with Dunne on the court. Bucs senior Tyler Christie scored a game-high 17 points, while senior Eddie Hendrex poured in 13 off the bench, including 11 during a 19-4 second-quarter run.
“Our guys didn’t really know what was going on away from the court and by the looks of things, they didn’t really know what was going on on the court, either,” Stead said. “Give Red Bank credit. They went with a triangle-and-two against us, which we are no stranger to, and they just beat us up in every aspect.
“Obviously, the circumstances in the second half were difficult. We won’t use it as an excuse, and we were down by 20 at halftime with Jason on the floor for the first half. But these are kids, they are human beings and there was obviously concern for their teammate.”