Boys Basketball – No. 6 CBA Opens Season With Thrilling Win at No. 7 Rumson
RUMSON -- While Rumson-Fair Have junior Davey Carr pumped his fist, the Bulldogs bench cheered wildly and the Dawg Pound student section erupted following Carr's clutch three-pointer with seven seconds left in Monday's showdown between Rumson and Christian Brothers Academy, Connor Andree did not take any time to soak in the atmosphere.
Only one thing was on the CBA sophomore's mind: just go.
Immediately after Carr put Rumson ahead by a point on a three with 16 seconds left, Andree -- a 6-foot-5 power forward, took the inbound pass, dribbled the length of the floor to his spot on the block and delivered an immediate answer.
Andree's game-winning score with eight seconds left proved the difference Monday in CBA's 47-45 win over Rumson in front of a packed gym of fans overlooking the Bulldogs home floor.
"We're a tough team," Andree said. "We know each other, we love being with each other, so we have been working since August to be one of the best teams in the Shore."
CBA -- ranked No. 6 in the Shore Sports Network Preseason Shore 16 rankings -- was the last team in the Shore Conference to play its season-opener and the Colts started their 2023-24 campaign with one of the more rousing wins any Shore Conference team has orchestrated thus far.
Junior Kevin Pikiell led CBA with a game-high 15 points and junior Justin Fuerbacher scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter to go with six rebounds in helping CBA close out the win. Andree chipped in eight points, including CBA's last two shots from the field.
"It feels great to finally play," said Pikiell, who made his CBA debut Monday after transferring from Gill St. Bernard's. "We have been waiting for this since June and we're looking to have a great year.
"We prepared great in practice. We watched film, we always practice hard, so we trusted our game and we knew what we had to do."
Fuerbacher keyed a 6-0 run that flipped a 40-36 Rumson lead into a 42-40 edge for CBA. The 6-5 junior scored the first four points of the run and then assisted Andree in transition for the go-ahead basket with 1:54 left.
Rumson evened the score on a pair of free throws by senior Andrew Goodes with 1:19 left and Fuerbacher earned a trip to the line on the other end with 44.7 seconds left. Fuerbacher hit both shots to put CBA back ahead, 44-42.
Out of a timeout with 25 seconds left, Rumson worked the ball to Carr, who drained a three from the right wing to catapult the Bulldogs into the lead, 45-44, with 16 seconds on the clock.
CBA pushed the ball up the floor and Andree took the ball into the paint for a shot off the glass and in that again flipped the lead in CBA's favor, 46-45.
"It was just go," Andree said. "I got the ball and starting pushing it. I saw he (Rumson sophomore Luke Cruz) was playing back on me and I knew I could muscle him in the paint and it worked out for me.
"We all have trust in each other. We know we have guys who are going to take the right shot, so with 10 seconds left, we knew were were going to find a good shot and if we didn't, call timeout and draw something up."
With 4.2 second left, Rumson ran sideline out-of-bounds play for 6-foot-8 sophomore Luke Cruz and senior Nick Rigby found him with a lob pass at the rim. Fuerbacher fouled Cruz with 3.3 seconds left, but both of his ensuing free throws rimmed out.
Fuerbacher hit the first of two free throws and CBA knocked away Rumson's full-court inbounds pass with 1.8 seconds left to bleed the clock.
Goodes led Rumson with 11 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots while Crews posted 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Senior Sean Trinder scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of three-pointers -- one to tie the game at 33-33 and another to give Rumson a 38-35 lead.
Prior to the fourth quarter, CBA leaned on Pikiell to create a significant portion of its offense, with the Gill St. Bernard's transfer scored 11 of his points during the second and third quarters. CBA led 31-25 after a floater in the lane by Pikiell and 31-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
"At the start of the third quarter, we really trusted our game," Pikiell said. "We knew we had a rough first half and we knew we would come back. That's what we do: we're good in the third quarter and we just kept competing and it turned out great."
Pikiell's father, Rutgers head men's basketball coach Steve Pikiell, was among the fans packed into Rumson's gym for an atmosphere that rivaled that an NJSIAA sectional final, of which Rumson has hosted three times in the past six seasons. Rumson has not hosted CBA in a regular-season game since Champeau took over the program in 2009-10 and the rare occasion brought out the two all-time leading scorers from both schools: Pat Andree of CBA and Brendan Barry of Rumson -- both of whom graduated in 2016.
"It was great to play in an atmosphere like this," Pikiell said. "This is my first time playing with this big of a crowd, so it's great. It really fuels us and it's fun."
While Monday marked a memorable edition to the CBA-Rumson rivalry, it was early in the season and both teams still have their sights set on the season ahead.
"It was my first time playing here, it was a really fun atmosphere and we were ready," Andree said. "We were prepared, it was a fun game and I can't wait for the rest of the season."