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MARLBORO -- Speaking of his team's first of two losses this season, Marlboro senior Jack Seidler lamented the substandard shooting of him and his team, but it was not his greatest concern coming out of an overtime loss to Christian Brothers Academy on Jan. 4.

"At the end of the day, we didn't play as hard as we should have, myself included," Seidler said. "We let up way too many offensive rebounds, we weren't getting on the floor for loose balls. I we took care of that, nobody can really beat us."

With a championship-level intensity by a senior-led team that has been in multiple championship games and buoyed by a home crowd that created a championship-level atmosphere at 4 p.m. on a late-January Monday, Marlboro -- No. 3 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 -- jumped all over No. 2 CBA and never let up in a 71-36, payback win over the Colts.

PHOTO GALLERY: CBA at Marlboro by Ray Rich Photography

Marlboro senior Jack Seidler. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)
Marlboro senior Jack Seidler. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)

"The energy was not as high last time as it was today," Marlboro senior Jay Ratner said. "We had other games since then, but this is the one we have been looking at since we lost to them the first time. The preparation since then has been to get ourselves ready for this game and we were locked-in: locked-in during our practices, locked-in during warm-ups, locked-in from the tip and locked-in between every whistle."

Seidler and Ratner each finished with 20 points, with Seidler also grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out three assists. Fellow senior Jonathan Spatola also turned in an impressive effort by posting 15 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and six steals.

Poor shooting was again part of the struggle for everyone on the court during the first quarter, with the exception of Ratner, who could hardly miss. The 6-foot-4 senior hit 7-of-9 first-quarter attempts from the field, including 3-for-3 from beyond the three-point line on the way to an 18-point quarter.

"My teammates were just finding me and the ball went in the hoop," Ratner said. "I have been in a little bit of a shooting slump three-point-wise, but my teammates trust me so I'm going to trust myself to shoot it and if it goes in, it goes in."

Ratner settled for 20 points -- all in the first half -- and five rebounds, but his red-hot start got Marlboro off to a 22-7 lead through the end of the first quarter.

From there, the Mustangs defense only intensified, with CBA scoring just three points in the second quarter and 10 in the third only after CBA hit two shots for five points in the last 1:30 of the quarter. Heading to the fourth, Marlboro led, 55-20 and pushed the lead up to 61-20 early in the fourth to mark its largest lead of the game.

In CBA's two wins over Marlboro in the past two years, the Colts were able to significantly curtail the production of both Seidler and Spatola. Both All-Shore players were held to single-digit totals in a 75-42 CBA rout at Marlboro last season and to a combined 25 points in the Jan. 4 Colts win.

Not only did both improve their output -- albeit still below their per-game averages -- but Marlboro did to CBA what CBA had done to Seidler and Spatola and did so to the extreme. The Mustangs completely shut down CBA's top two scorers -- senior Pat Lautato and junior Will Bradley -- by holding each to just two points.

Sophomore Peter Noble and freshman Justin Fuerbacher led the Colts with eight points apiece.

Another key for Marlboro on Monday was the presence of senior Zach Molod, who missed the first meeting due to illness. Molod scored only three points, but was part of Marlboro's active defense and gave CBA another shooter for whom the Colts had to account.

With Marlboro's entire lineup intact, space opened up for Ratner early to jumpstart his team and, eventually, Seidler and Spatola got going.

"We have so many options," Seidler said. "With Zach being there, everybody on the court can shoot, everybody can score. Most nights it's me, Jon and Zach, but Jay has big nights and Vin (Spatola) has big nights, so we trust everybody and whoever has the open shot, we all feel confident in each other to shoot the ball. If one player has an off-night, it doesn't really matter because somebody is going to step up."

Marlboro has been a fourth-quarter team in some of its best performances this season, most recently in a 72-61 win over Freehold Township on Jan. 18. The Mustangs trailed the Patriots, 57-47, with 5:40 to go and closed the game on a 25-4 run, with Spatola (10) and Seidler (nine) combining for 19 of the 25 points.

On Monday, however, the Mustangs did not wait around, instead playing their most complete game of the season.

PHOTO GALLERY: CBA at Marlboro by Ray Rich Photography

Marlboro seniors Vin Spatola (2) and Zach Molod hound CBA junior Joe White. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)
Marlboro seniors Vin Spatola (2) and Zach Molod hound CBA junior Joe White. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)

"I think it was just the rivalry that got us amped to start," Ratner said. "Playing CBA, the energy in the gym, two good teams going at it, so we just had the energy from the start."

Marlboro will next take on Middletown South on Thursday and then gear up for another matchup against a highly-ranked Shore opponent, with No. 4 St. John Vianney meeting the Mustangs at the Jimmy V Showcase at Central Regional High School on Saturday.

"We feel as if we are one of the most skilled teams in the state, so when we play as hard as we can, we really feel like we're unbeatable," Seidler said.

Marlboro senior Jonathan Spatola. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)
Marlboro senior Jonathan Spatola. (Photo: Ray Rich Photography)

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