RUMSON - On more than one occasion during the 2018-19 season Middletown South has missed a golden opportunity to beat a team ranked in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, but when you are consistent playing teams of that caliber, a loss will happen from time to time.

For every loss Middletown South has against a Top 10 team, the Eagles have also beaten one and on Saturday in Rumson, they responded to a heart-breaking loss on Thursday with its biggest win of the year.

Middletown South - No. 7 in the latest Shore Sports Network Top 10 - handled the No. 2 Bulldogs for most of the game and held off a furious Rumson rally in the final two minutes to seal a 47-45 win on the road.

Juniors James Anderson and Mike Dabas each scored 13 points to lead Middletown South's balanced scoring effort, which helped the Eagles build a double-digit lead in the second half and an 11-point advantage heading into the final two minutes.

Middletown South junior James Anderson. (Photo by Matt Manley)
Middletown South junior James Anderson. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Anderson scored all 13 of his points in the second half and grabbed eight rebounds while Dabas scored his team's final two field goals - the second of which gave Middletown South a 43-32 lead with under three minutes to go.

Rumson (12-3) rallied behind freshman Geoff Schroeder, who scored eight of his 12 points in the final 1:35, beginning with a three-pointer to cut the Middletown South lead to 43-35.

The Bulldogs cut their deficit to 45-42 on a putback by senior Ian O'Connor and Middletown South threw away the ensuing inbound pass with 13 seconds left. The Eagles fouled Rumson before it could take a three-point shot and Schroeder made by shots with 7.9 seconds left to cut the Eagles lead to 45-44.

Anderson converted a pair of free throws on the other end and Middletown South (11-6) again fouled O'Connor before he could take a potential tying three-point shot. O'Connor made the first foul shot and missed the second on purpose, which led to Middletown South junior Bobby Pirie losing the ball out of bounds as he fell to the ground as the result of contact underneath.

Rumson took over with 2.1 seconds left and sophomore John Baker scored after a missed three-point attempt by Schroeder, but it came after the clock had expired.

O'Connor led Rumson with 15 points and eight rebounds and Middletown South held senior and second-leading scorer Jackson McCarthy to seven points and seven rebounds.

Sophomore Luke Albrecht and Pirie each added nine points for Middletown South.

Rumson dropped to 1-2 during this past week, which included three games against three ranked opponents - No. 4 Manasquan, No. 3 Red Bank Catholic and No. 7 Middletown South. The Bulldogs' lone win came on the road vs. RBC on Thursday night, which completed a season sweep of the Caseys.

Middletown South now has wins over current No. 6 Freehold Township, No. 2 Rumson-Fair Haven and No. 10 Matawan while five of its six losses are to CBA (twice), Red Bank Catholic (twice) and Manasquan.


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