Boys Basketball – Red Bank Catholic Wins Battle of Red Bank, NJ Thanks to Hot Start
RED BANK - Whether in midseason form or coming off a two-week shutdown, the Red Bank Catholic boys basketball team likes the first quarter - particularly sharp-shooting guard Cyril Arvanitis.
Tuesday at Red Bank Regional, Red Bank Catholic's first game since Feb. 3, Arvanitis and the Caseys started the game red-hot and rode the fast start to a win that restarts what remains a promising season.
Arvanitis and classmate C.J. Ruoff each scored 19 points and Red Bank Catholic - ranked No. 5 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - buried the Bucs, 66-50, to get its season back on track after a two-week shutdown stemming from close contact with a Shore Regional team that had a member test positive for COVID-19.
Arvanitis shot 3-for-3 from behind the three-point arc for nine points in the first quarter Tuesday, the latest in a string of fast starts to games this season. Arvanitis is averaging an even 19 points after four games and 10.5 points in just the first quarter. Of the 16 three-pointers Arvanitis has hit so far, 11 have come in the first quarter.
"Cyril and C.J. put a lot of work in on their shots," Red Bank Catholic coach Tyler Schmelz said. "It's like riding a bike for them. They (Red Bank) started squeezing them later so it was a little bit tougher to get those looks. I'm not surprised they started by making shots like that because they're consistent kids."
Ruoff also scored seven in the first quarter and 15 in the first half, as RBC raced out to a 20-2 lead on Red Bank in the first five minutes of the game.
Red Bank responded with a 15-4 run to cut the RBC lead to 24-17, with senior Nick Ferrogine scoring 13 of the 15 and 15 of Red Bank's 17 points in the first half.
Red Bank Catholic then closed the half on a 10-0 run to take a 34-17 lead into the locker room, with Ruoff scoring eight of the 10 points during the run.
The Caseys built the lead up to 38-19 before Red Bank responded with its last big run - an 11-1 burst that saw seniors Matt Keegan and Enoch Hutchinson combined for nine of the 11 points during the run.
Junior Alex Bauman scored five of RBC's last eight points in the third quarter, pushing the Caseys lead up to 47-33 heading to the fourth. A pair of layups by Arvanitis got RBC off an running in the fourth and Red Bank never got the game closer than 11.
Bauman finished with 11 points while serving as an imposing physical presence for a Caseys team that starts as many freshmen as it does seniors. Max Croke represented the seniors with six points and tenacious defense before leaving with a knee injury, while starter Zach Meeks (five points) and Gio Panzini (six) combined) gave the Caseys 11 points from their freshmen.
Red Bank's seniors were its primary contributors, which was fitting on the Bucs Senior Night at the Field House. While Ferrogine starred in the first half, Hutchinson scored all 11 of his points in the second half and Keegan scored eight of his 10 after halftime.
Red Bank Catholic remains in position to make another bid to reach the semifinals of the Shore Conference Playoffs during the season's final week and the next nine days will determine if the Caseys are among the eight teams vying for the championship. They are scheduled to take on Red Bank once more this week, then a Monmouth Regional team Saturday that just upset No. 8 Rumson-Fair Haven, followed by two games against Rumson in the regular season's final week.
Red Bank Catholic also has regular-season games scheduled against Ranney and Holmdel, but those will both be played after the postseason seeds are set.
"It's that old cliche way of thinking: let's practice well tomorrow," Schmelz said. "All we're guaranteed is today. We want to practice well tomorrow and whenever we get to play our next game, we want to play well. Take it one day at a time and enjoy every day because we don't know what is going to happen. Don't look ahead, just enjoy today."