Boys Basketball – Photos: Holmdel Stuns No. 7 St. John Vianney With Last-Minute Comeback
HOLMDEL -- Nick Seeloch and Ben Kipnis are only at the start of their junior seasons, but their composure in tense moments is more akin to that of a senior leader and it showed in the first game of 2022-23.
Seeloch capped a career night with the game-winning basket after Kipnis came up with the deciding defensive play as Holmdel erased a six-point deficit in the final minute to stun St. John Vianney -- No. 7 in the Shore Sports Network Preseason Top 10 -- in the season-opener, 64-61.
Seeloch erupted for a career-high 33 points, including 21 in the second half, to lead Holmdel's late surge. With 14 seconds left and Holmdel trailing by one, Kipnis stole the ball and flipped it up ahead to Seeloch for the go-ahead score that put Holmdel in front, 62-61.
St. John Vianney led, 59-53, with a minute left before the Hornets closed the game on an 11-2 run to steal the victory.
Kipnis also contributed 13 points, while junior Daxx Corniero poured in 10 for Holmdel while making his first varsity start.
Senior Connor Howard led St. John Vianney with 24 points -- 14 of which came during the third quarter to help send the Lancers into the fourth quarter with a 45-43 lead. Sophomore Aiden Ur added 14 points for St. John Vianney and junior Sayreville transfer Emanuel Domingo contributed six points and 11 rebounds in his Lancers debut.
Thursday's result gives St. John Vianney its first division loss since 2019-20 after the Lancers rolled through Class B North with a 10-0 record a season ago.
Holmdel, meanwhile, starts the season in encouraging fashion despite the absence of junior and third-year starter James Vallillo (foot injury) and the transfer of talented sophomore Evan Romano to St. Rose. Seeloch and Kipnis were the top two scorers on last year's 16-11 Hornets squad that started four underclassmen.
The two teams will meet again on Monday, Jan. 9 at Holmdel.