Written by Tyler Calvaruso
SSN Contributor

COLTS NECK - After dominating the Buc Classic less than a week ago, the Colts Neck boys basketball team – the No. 6 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 – picked up where it left off with a convincing 52-41 win win over visiting No. 8 Toms River North thanks to a balanced scoring effort.

Senior forward Robby Hill led the way with 13 points, while senior guard Dan Gaines – the Buc Classic MVP who hit seven three-pointers in the championship game – added 10 points of his own despite an off-shooting night in which he did not knock down a single shot from beyond the arc. Senior point guard Ben Bosland also chipped in nine points while dishing out eight assists and coming down with five rebounds.

“We share the ball,” Colts Neck head coach Lou Piccola said. “Once we get into transition, we share the ball and that’s the big thing. If you look at the number of assists we have based on our baskets, it’s a pretty high number.”

Toms River North jumped out to a quick 10-6 lead due in large part due to a zone defense that Colts Neck had some difficulty scoring on in the early going. However, the Cougars made the necessary adjustments and held a 15-14 lead after one quarter of play.

“I think [the zone defense] is a direct result of their size,” Piccola said of Toms River North, which features 6-foot-5 senior forward Travis Holland on the wing, as well as 6-foot-6 Division I football recruit Najee Hallenbeck and 6-foot-7 senior Eliot Daks down low. “As much as they have mismatches on the other end, we have mismatches with our quickness.”

Colts Neck continued to use its quickness to their advantage in the second quarter, as they built up a 25-19 lead by the three-minute mark. A Bosland three from the top of the key right before the halftime buzzer gave the Cougars some breathing room and a 31-23 lead heading into the locker room.

Hill and Bosland, who both had seven first-half points, continued their strong play at the beginning of the second half, as three straight buckets to start the half gave Colts Neck a 37-23 lead, prompting a timeout from Toms River North head coach Rory Caswell.

The Cougars built a 46-31 lead by the end of the quarter and despite a late charge that saw Toms River North cut the lead to single-digits with 1:49 remaining in regulation, Colts Neck hung on for the victory.

Toms River North was without senior guard Holden Petrick on Wednesday night, as he sat out with an ankle injury that has hampered him since the beginning of the WOBM Christmas Classic according to Caswell. With Petrick on the bench and in a boot, Holland led the Mariners with 15 points, while senior guard Mark Mogarte had 10 and Daks contributed nine points and six rebounds.

With Colts Neck’s latest big win, as the Cougars have now won five of their seven games by double figures. The season is still early and division play is still in its early stages, but it’s hard to ignore the manner in which Colts Neck has been able to win games early on, especially after taking down a ranked opponent in Toms River North.

“This kind of solidifies that we’re the real deal this year,” Hill said of the win. “Maybe people questioned the wins in the tournament, but this kind of solidifies what we’ve been doing.”


More From Shore Sports Network