Shore Sports Network Player of the Week: NJSIAA Tournament MVP

Lloyd Daniels, Colts Neck

Colts Neck was the only top-eight seed to miss out on the Shore Conference Tournament and the Cougars made up for it in a big way during the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV playoffs. As he has all season long, Daniels steered the ship for the Cougars, who won four straight home games to capture their first ever NJSIAA sectional championship – capped by a win over Freehold Township at the buzzer in the CJ IV final.

Daniels averaged 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and three assists per game in Colts Neck’s five state tournament games, including 18 points in that championship win over the Patriots. It was his pass that set up Brendan Clarke’s game-winning shot in that game after Freehold Township sent a double-team his way. Daniels closed out his senior season with a valiant effort in his team’s 55-50 loss to Atlantic City on Wednesday, scoring 23 points on 11-for-17 shooting with eight rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots.

Colts Neck's Lloyd Daniels led the Cougars to their first ever NJSIAA sectional championship. (Photo by Rob Samuels)

All-Tournament First Team

Nick Facendo, Freehold Twp.

The unofficial runner-up for tournament MVP among Shore players, Facendo posted 19 point and 7.2 assists per game during the Patriots’ four-game run. The only game in which he failed to score double-digit points was a near triple-double: nine points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against top-seeded Hunterdon Central.

Steve Staklinski, Freehold Twp.

Staklinski capped his breakout season with one of the best individual tournaments of any Shore Conference players. The junior averaged just shy of a double-double – 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds – in four games for Freehold Township, including 20-and-10 performances against both Old Bridge (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Hunterdon Central (23 points, 10 rebounds).

Brendan Clarke, Colts Neck

Clarke averaged a solid 10.2 points per game in Colts Neck’s five tournament games and came off the bench in four of them. It wasn’t the total stat-line, however, that earned Clarke notoriety this postseason. The junior hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer that gave Colts Neck a 45-44 win over Freehold Township in the Central Jersey Group IV final and the Cougars their first ever sectional championship.

Kyle Gordon, Colts Neck

To the victor go the spoils and Colts Neck advanced further in the state tournament than any other Shore Conference team, which means they are loading up on all-tournament players. Gordon was the glue-guy on the team all year long and that carried over to the state tournament, during which he averaged 10.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

Jack Sheehan, Manasquan

Sheehan’s performance during Manasquan’s run to the CJ II final included a 28-point outburst against Lincoln in the sectional quarterfinals and a near-triple-double (11 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists) in the 19-point win over Rumson in the sectional semifinals.


Second Team

Ryan Jensen, Manasquan

Jensen helped lead the Warriors to the Central Jersey Group II final with a 16-point, 14-rebound game against Rumson-Fair Haven in the semifinals. He also scored 16 points to go with 18 rebounds in Monday’s sectional final loss at Bordentown on Monday.

Sean Barksdale, Lakewood

Barksdale made a push for 1,000 points thanks to a colossal Central Jersey Group III quarterfinal performance against Long Branch. Barksdale scored 35 points, collected 12 rebounds and blocked six shots in Lakewood’s win over the Green Wave. He then scored 17 points in a loss to Ewing, leaving him one shy of 1,000 for his career.

Ryan West, Toms River East

Toms River East had its best season in recent memory, capped by two state tournament went. West starred in both, scoring 19 points in a win over Hammonton and posting 20 points, six assists and four steals in a sectional quarterfinal win over Bridgeton.

Mike Boice, Donovan Catholic

The Griffins nearly stunned CBA on the road in the South Jersey Non-Public A quarterfinals and Boice’s effort drove the scare. He scored 11 points and defended CBA leading scorer Pat Andree all game, forcing him into 5-for-13 shooting. Boice also put up 19 points, five rebounds, five steals and four blocks in a win over Gloucester Catholic.

Brendan Barry, Rumson-Fair Haven

Barry’s outstanding high school career came to an end with an off-shooting game at Manasquan in which he still managed to score 20 points. Prior to the loss in the sectional semifinals, this year’s Kerwin Award winner posted 24 points and four assists against Holmdel and 30 points and seven assists in a win over A.L. Johnson.


Third Team

Kyle Elliot, Mater Dei

Elliot led a balanced Mater Dei effort with 12 points in a loss to Gill St. Bernard’s in the South Jersey Non-Public B semifinals and averaged 10.7 points in Mater Dei’s three state playoff games.

Jack McGuire, CBA

McGuire led CBA with 31 points in two tournament games, and delivered the steal and game-winning basket that lifted the Colts to a quarterfinal round win over St. Augustine.

Jake Talarico, Ocean

The senior sharp-shooter drilled six three-pointers in a first-round win over Red Bank and four in a sectional quarterfinal loss at top-seeded Ewing, including the game-tying three-pointer with 30 seconds left that precluded Ewing’s win at the buzzer.

NyQuan McCombs, Mater Dei Prep

McCombs opened the tournament with 20 points and eight assists in Mater Dei’s win over Doane Academy and followed that performance up with 14 points in an overtime win over Trenton Catholic, including the go-ahead three-point play in the final minute.

Jake Guempel, St. John Vianney

The Lancers routed Paul VI in the opening round of the South Jersey Non-Public A Tournament behind a career-best performance for Guempel, who poured in 25 points.