Boys Basketball – Jimmy V Showcase at Central Moves to Sunday With Winter Storm Looming
The Jimmy V Showcase at Central Regional has quickly established itself as one of the Shore's best basketball events on the scholastic sports calendar and as it prepares for its sixth annual installment, it will have to wait at least one more day.
Even founder and Central head coach Mike Clemente said Friday morning the six-game slate will be postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to the significant winter storm forecasted to hit the Jersey Shore on Friday night into Saturday during the day.
Sunday's schedule will remain the same as planned for Saturday, which looks as follows:
Records do not include Friday's games
Donovan Catholic (8-5) vs. Freehold Township (8-6), 10:30 a.m.
The opener is a rematch of a first-round game at the WOBM Christmas Classic, in which 13th-seeded Donovan Catholic surprised the Patriots by beating them, 64-50 to advance in the tournament. Both teams have had up-and-down seasons since then, with Donovan Catholic suffering three of its five losses to Class B South division rival Manchester and Freehold Township losing heartbreaking games to top-five teams Marlboro and Christian Brothers Academy after leading by at least eight points in the fourth quarter of both games.
Freehold Township is led by 6-foot-5 junior and constant double-double threat Jayden Holmes-Cotter, while the Griffins boast a balanced attack that features two-sport athletes Jalin Butler and Kyree Drake.
Toms River North (7-8) vs. Howell (8-4), Noon
The second game of the schedule features two teams at different stages of their development. Howell is an experienced team without a lot of recent success as a program, so this group of Rebels is determined to make this season a memorable one.
Toms River North is two years removed from a trip to the Shore Conference Tournament final and early this season had its 74-game Class A South divisional winning streak snapped. After a 2-7 start by the Mariners' inexperienced lineup, they won five straight to get back to .500 before losing to Jackson Memorial on Thursday night.
Howell's senior core includes Zach Emery, Joe Dupuis, Dylan McVeigh and Nick Gallo, while Toms River North counters with seniors Lamir Mitchell and Ryan Baker, who have led a team that has a mix of improved seniors, a talented 6-7 junior in Delani Hyde and a promising sophomore group.
No. 3 Marlboro (12-2) vs. No. 4 St. John Vianney (13-2), 1:30 p.m.
The best Shore-vs.-Shore game of the day, St. John Vianney will again be looking to prove it deserves to be considered a legitimate contender to win the Shore Conference Tournament title in 2022. The Lancers already have a win vs. Manasquan and their only two losses are to No. 1 Red Bank Catholic and No. 2 CBA. Senior Nate Williams is a front-runner for Shore Conference Player of the Year, while sophomore Dylan Seay and senior Omar Calderon have stood out as supporting players.
Marlboro, meanwhile, is starting to look like the team that was ranked No. 1 in the Shore Conference to open the season after ending 2021 by nearly upsetting undefeated Manasquan in overtime. The Mustangs lost two games in a span of five days to No. 2 CBA and No. 1 Red Bank Catholic while senior starter Zach Molod was out sick, but are unbeaten with their starting five intact. Marlboro just dismantled CBA, 71-36, on Monday in what was the most impressive 32-minute performance by a Shore Conference team this season.
Along with Molod, Jack Seidler, Jonathan Spatola, Jay Ratner and Vin Spatola form the senior core of what is likely Marlboro's most promising team in program history.
Central (11-4) vs. Holmdel (7-6), 3 p.m.
The tournament host get a good challenge in the middle of the day against one of the Shore's youngest teams. Holmdel starts four sophomores and a freshman and, as one might expect, there have been some highs and lows for the Hornets as they try to grow up quickly in a competitive conference.
Sophomores Ben Kipnis, Nick Seeloch and James Vallillo have all been big scorers for Holmdel, while freshman Evan Romano has also led the team in scoring on several occasions. All four can shoot the ball, but as Thursday's 73-49 loss to Rumson-Fair Haven showed, they are still learning how to get stops at the varsity level. Rumson is one of three top-five teams to have beaten Holmdel this year, with the Hornets also losing to both Red Bank Catholic and CBA by double-figures.
Central, meanwhile, is locked in a three-way tie atop the Class A South standings and will try to pick up a solid out-of-conference win on Sunday. Senior Justin Soranno is having another All-Shore season as one of the conference's top big men, while junior John Truhan and senior Anthony Musso have made steady contributions. Central has been without starters Gianni Smith and sophomore Miles Chevalier, the latter of whom is the team's second-leading scorer.
No. 1 Red Bank Catholic (14-1) vs. Rutgers Prep (13-0), 4:30 p.m.
The marquee game of the schedule is up fifth, with the Shore's No. 1 team clashing with the No. 8 in New Jersey.
Red Bank Catholic -- ranked No. 13 in the state -- has not lost since dropping a 61-58 decision to Marlboro in the WOBM Christmas Classic championship game on Dec. 30. The Caseys recently rattled off a week of wins that included double-digit victories over Holmdel, No. 6 Rumson-Fair Haven and No. 2 CBA and this past Saturday, they clobbered No. 7 Ranney, 56-29.
Although the team is on a roll, RBC will have to tackle Rutgers Prep shorthanded, with starting sophomore center Zach Meeks out with a sprained ankle that he suffered against Ranney.
The silver lining for RBC is that it is also the Shore's deepest teams, one that operated fairly normally without senior leader Alex Bauman for the first week of the season. Along with Bauman, senior C.J. Ruoff, senior Cyril Arvanitis and sophomore Gioacchino Panzini have all played at a high level as starters and bruising 6-6 sophomore center Tyler Burnham is a worthy replacement for Meeks in the short-term.
Rutgers Prep brings in a guard-heavy attack with plenty of shooting and quickness -- a combination that Manasquan experienced first-hand when the Argonauts slammed the Warriors, 71-50, back on Dec. 18. Rutgers Prep's only real interior player is 6-7 senior Ryan Zan, who spent the previous two seasons at Ranney.
Juniors Jadin Collins and Cameron Piggie are the top two Rutgers Prep scorers, while senior Ryan Pettit is the do-it-all guard and leader for the Argonauts.
Mater Dei Prep (6-8) vs. No. 2 CBA (12-2), 6 p.m.
The long day of basketball Sunday is set to conclude with CBA looking to get straightened out after a 35-point loss at Marlboro the Colts would like to forget. CBA's lineup entered the season with little varsity experience beyond senior Pat Lautato and juniors Joe White and Will Bradley, but started the season 10-0 before finally losing to Red Bank Catholic.
Mater Dei is still trying to put together a complete game against a top opponent, with all six of the Seraphs' wins this season coming against the bottom four teams in the Class B Central standings. Seniors Anthony Tancredi, Gerard Novello, Derek Ragona, Jayden Cabrera and Cal Lugay give Mater Dei an experienced starting five to run at CBA.
The schedule for Sunday remains fluid as schools react to the storm as it hits different areas of the state. Stay tuned in on Shore Sports Network for updates to the Sunday schedule.
Proceeds raised at this weekends event benefit the V Foundation -- a well-known and respected charity organization named for the late Jim Valvano that raises money and awareness for cancer research. Clemente has been a steward for the cause since fighting his own battle with cancer in 2017 and 2018.