The last time the Middletown South boys basketball team had a player reach 1,000 career points in a season, the team reached the Shore Conference Tournament final.

On Saturday, Eagles senior Ryan Purcell ended one of those droughts and next week, he would like to help end the other one as well.

Purcell drained a first-quarter three to hit the 1,000-point milestone for his career during a 19-point performance and a 70-42 win over Shore Regional. Purcell is the sixth Middletown South boys player to join the 1,000-point club and the first since Kyle Cancillieri did so in 2009-10.

Middletown South senior Ryan Purcell with coach Jim Anderson following his 1,000th point. (Photo by Matt Manley)
Middletown South senior Ryan Purcell with coach Jim Anderson following his 1,000th point. (Photo by Matt Manley)

That was also the last year that Middletown South won a Shore Conference Tournament game, which the Eagles will try to do on Tuesday when the tournament begins. Middletown South and the rest of the 27-team field will find out their seed on Sunday afternoon after the tournament is seeded.

Tuesday will also mark Middletown South's first tournament appearance since 2012-13.

Purcell helped Middletown South clinch a spot in the tournament by scoring 20 points in a win Friday over Ocean, which had aspirations of potentially reaching the top 10 in the seeding prior to losing to Middletown South for a second time.

On Saturday, Purcell backed up a 21-point showing by fellow senior Nick Unrath as the Eagles finished off their regular season on a high note.

Purcell was one of two Shore Conference players to reach 1,000 career points on Saturday. Mater Dei Prep senior Kyle Cardaci scored on a fourth-quarter layup in a 78-69 Seraphs win over Point Pleasant Beach to join the the club - the second Mater Dei player in as many years to hit the milestone.

Current Princeton University freshman and former All-Shore forward Elijah Barnes scored his 1,000th point during the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals last season.

Cardaci began his high school career as a prominent varsity player at Holmdel, averaging double-figure scoring as a freshman before putting up better than 17 points per game as a sophomore.

Ahead of his junior year, Cardaci transferred to Mater Dei Prep and lost 30 days-worth of games while sitting out, as required by the NJSIAA transfer rules.


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