Boys Basketball – Player of the Week Vote, Week One
Each week, Shore Sports Network will run a boys basketball Player of the Week vote to recognize some of the top performers of the week that followed. The eight candidates will be picked by senior staff writer Matt Manley - one player from each division and two "wild cards" - and the readers will do the rest. Get your votes in before the deadline at 10 p.m. on Monday night.
Here are the nominees for week one.
Class A North
Danny Gaines, Colts Neck
In his first stint as a varsity starter, Gaines has taken to his new gig by averaging better than 2 points through the team's first three games. The junior guard dropped 28 points in each of Colts Neck's wins over Howell and Manalapan and scored 18 in a five-point loss to Marlboro.
Class A Central
Jack Solano, Rumson-Fair Haven
Another first-year starter, Solano did most of his damage in the season's first week during one half. The junior southpaw poured in 28 of his career-high 32 points in the second half of a 60-54 win over Raritan on Friday night, which followed a 13-point outing in a rout of Matawan on Tuesday.
Class A South
Jaden Rhoden, Toms River North
Last season, Rhoden was about as dependable as any player in the conference and he has been as predictably consistent through three games this year. He opened the season with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists against an improved Middletown South team, put up 16 points and eight boards in a win over Southern on Tuesday, then 15 points and nine rebounds in a win over Toms River East on Thursday.
Class B North
Devin Jensen, Manasquan
There have been some on-fire scorers to open the Shore Conference season but none have scored as unrelentingly as Jensen has. After a solid 19-point outing in a win over Ocean to open the year, Jensen went off for at least 30 points in his team's next three games. He scored a career-high 37 points against Lacey in only three quarters, then topped his new mark with 38 in a rout of Red Bank Catholic - which he also did despite coming out of the game well before the final buzzer. In a loss to Long Branch on Thursday, Jensen put up 31 points, which matches his per-game average through four games.
Class B Central
Ahmadu Sarnor, Ranney
If Ranney was one player away from potentially winning a Shore Conference title a year ago, the Panthers may now have that one player. Sarnor's N.J. high school debut has gone about as well as it could, starting with a 20-point effort in a convincing win over Point Beach. The sophomore guard followed that performance up with 24 points in a win over Keansburg on Tuesday.
Class B South
Carson Francisco, Barnegat
The Bengals are off to a strong 2-1 start thanks to three strong defensive efforts that yielded wins over Pinelands and Donovan Catholic and a hard-fought, six-point loss to six-time defending division champion Lakewood. Francisco has been a steady source of offense so far, averaging 12 points in the three games, including 16 in a big road win over Donovan Catholic on Thursday. The junior also scored 11 against Lakewood on Monday after scoring nine in an opening-night win over Pinelands.
Darius Brown, Ocean
Ocean's home-opener against Long Branch nearly came unravelled when the Green Wave erased a 21-point Ocean lead and went ahead 57-55 in the final minute. Brown, however, came to the rescue with a game-winning three-pointer with three seconds left that capped a 19-point night for the senior swingman. Ocean's two losses came at Manasquan and Middletown North - the two ranked teams from Class B North to open the season.
Steve Geis, Wall
In four games, Geis is averaging 22.7 points in what appears to be breakout season for the junior. He scored 27 points in the opener against Monmouth, 21 in a WOBM Classic win over Toms River East and later put up a career-best 29 in a loss at RBC - which accounted for the majority of Wall's 48 points. Geis also scored 11 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter of a come-from-behind win over Middletown South on Tuesday.
Vote for Gaines, Solano, Rhoden, Jensen, Sarnor, Francisco, Brown or Geis in the poll below.