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RED BANK - Wednesday night's rivalry game at Red Bank Catholic was a virtual must-win for the Rumson-Fair Haven boys basketball team and their plan to get that win revolved around slowing down Caseys junior guards Cyril Arvanitis and C.J. Ruoff.

The Bulldogs - No. 9 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - were mostly successful in that pursuit, holding the duo to 18 combined points after they torched Rumson for 31 on Monday.

What Rumson did not account for was freshman Gio Panzini coming off the bench and delivering the best game of his young career.

Red Bank Catholic freshman Gio Panzini. (Photo by Patrick Olivero)

Panzini scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds while 6-foot-5 junior Alex Bauman was again unstoppable against Rumson and No. 5 Red Bank Catholic completed a season sweep of the Bulldogs with a 72-54 win Wednesday night.

After a scoreless first quarter, Panzini caught fire in the second, when he poured in 13 of his points behind three three-pointers. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, the 6-4 freshman had helped his team stake claim to a 38-25 advantage.

Panzini then closed strong with seven points in the fourth quarter to help the Caseys pull away.

Bauman put up 21 points, 20 rebounds and four assists in Monday night's win and was again an all-around force for the Caseys on Wednesday. The two-sport standout finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks.

Red Bank Catholic junior Alex Bauman. (Photo by Patrick Olivero)

Arvanitis again led the scoring effort in the first quarter, scoring eight of his 14 points in the first eight minutes. Arvanitis has become something of a first-quarter legend in his varsity career, particularly this season. In seven games, Arvanitis is averaging 15.9 points overall and an even nine for the first quarter.

Senior Max Croke - the lone senior among six players who play the bulk of the minutes for RBC - was a difference-maker on both ends. Croke led a defensive effort that held Rumson-Fair Haven junior guard Geoff Shroeder (22 points on Monday) to only five points and contributed seven points of his own on the other end.

Rumson junior Scott Gyimesi helped the Bulldogs stay in the game for the better part of three quarters by putting up 22 points and 13 rebounds. Senior Robbie Sypeck also added nine points on three three-pointers.

Red Bank Catholic's schedule this week was altered Tuesday night when Ranney informed RBC that it could not play on Friday. The Caseys will now play Wall on Thursday and finish their regular season Saturday at Holmdel.

Heading into the final three days of the regular season, RBC is one of four remaining unbeaten teams in Shore Conference boys basketball, along with Manasquan (7-0), Ranney (7-0) and Holmdel (6-0).

 

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