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LITTLE SILVER – Red Bank Regional senior Eddie Hendrex does not hear his name introduced in pregame introductions, while junior teammate Jack Navitsky does not often read his name among the team’s leading scorers.

Both of those norms held true Saturday against Rumson-Fair Haven – the Bucs' neighbors just  2 1/2 miles east on Ridge Road – and yet Hendrex and Navitsky were the standout performers for the fourth-ranked Bucs against their rivals from down the road.

Navitsky spearheaded a standout defensive effort against Bulldogs leading scorer Brendan Barry while Hendrex scored a game-high 13 points off the bench before making the game’s defining defensive play, one that closed out a 47-45 win over No. 9 Rumson.

Eddie Hendrex blocks Thomas Famulary's shot as time expires Saturday to give Red Bank a win over Rumson. (Photo by Mark Brown, B51 Photography)

Hendrex scored seven straight points during a stretch of the third and fourth quarters to give Red Bank a one-point lead, then capped his noteworthy offensive game by knocking the ball away from Rumson senior Thomas Famulary as he went up for a potential game-winning shot in the lane.

"I had a discussion with Eddie before the season and he said what I was hoping to hear," Red Bank coach Scott Martin said. "He said he was fine with any role we gave him, whether it was as a starter or coming off the bench, and to his credit, he has really embraced his role as a spark coming off the bench."

Navitsky finished the game with zero points, but the key number for the junior guard was eight – the number of points Barry scored. The Rumson junior entered the game averaging 24 points per game and leading the conference in three-point field goals, but managed just eight points on 3-for-9 shooting and did not hit a three. Two of Barry’s three field goals came on fast-break lay-ups and the other was a contested, leaning bank shot.

“He’s a great player and I was really looking forward to the challenge,” Navitsky said. “The big thing with Barry today was making sure he didn’t touch the ball. He’s very good at moving without the ball, so you really have to stay with him and trust that you’re going to get help.”

“Jack loves these kinds of challenges, so with a match-up like this, he’s our guy,” Martin said.

Senior Tyler Christie also defended Barry when Navitsky was not on the floor. The Bucs employed a variation of a box-and-one, a defense that worked against another standout junior earlier in the season – St. Joseph's-Metuchen junior Breein Tyree.

“It’s more of a diamond-and-one and it’s been pretty effective when we’ve played it,” Martin said. “The reason I like the diamond is because it gives you one rim-protector, two guys who guard each wing and a guy up top to play the passing lanes. It puts guys in better position, especially when we have Eddie in the game around the rim and we can put guys with some length and quickness on the wings.”

On the game’s final possession, Rumson inbounded the ball with 9.3 seconds and called a timeout with 4.9 to draw up a final play. Christie denied Barry the ball and Famulary drove into the lane, where he ran into Hendrex as time expired.

Senior forward Sadiq Palmer added 11 points for Red Bank and hit the second of two free throws with 1:39 left to give the Bucs a 46-45 lead.  Palmer’s free throw snapped a streak of five straight misses from the line that nearly allowed Rumson to steal the game. Christie hit one of two free throws with 1:05 left to push the lead to two and cap a six-point effort.

Bucs senior guard Anthony Mitchell scored four of his six points on a four-point play that extended Red Bank’s lead to 41-35 midway through the fourth quarter. Rumson got back in the game behind a three and a floater in the lane by senior Alex Geiger and an acrobatic scoop shot by Famulary that tied the game with 2:20 left.

Famulary led Rumson with 12 points, while Geiger added 11. While the Bulldogs nearly benefitted from a 4-for-11 free-throw shooting effort by the Bucs in the fourth quarter, Rumson itself shot just 8-for-16 from the stripe in the game.

Red Bank has now won the last four meetings between the Ridge Road rivals, which included a buzzer-beating victory last season and one of Red Bank’s four wins during the 2012-13 season.

“This game is as big as any we play,” Christie said. “Since I’ve been a freshman, this is a game that has brought out the best in us, even when we were 4-22 sophomore year. They’ve had a good team while I’ve been here, so anytime we play them, it’s a chance to prove ourselves and play for bragging rights.”

“This game means everything to me,” Navitsky said. “It’s Ridge Road. That’s all you need to say and we’re ready to go.”

 

Box Score

Red Bank 47, Rumson-Fair Haven 45

1

2

3

4

F

Rumson-Fair Haven (11-4)

7

10

18

10

45

Red Bank (11-3)

11

13

8

15

47

 

Rumson-Fair Haven (45): Brendan Barry 3 2-2 8, Alex Geiger 4 0-0 11, Kenny Ferrare 0 0-2 0, Thomas Famulary 4 4-8 12, Jack Luby 2 0-0 5, Morgan Maguire 1 0-1 2, Mickey Schluter 2 2-2 7, Liam McCallister 0 0-1 0. Totals: 16 8-16 45

Three-pointers: Geiger 3, Luby, Schluter

Red Bank (47): Jack Navitsky 0 0-0 0, Anthony Mitchell 2 1-3 6, Sadiq Palmer 2 7-12 11, Tyler Christie 2 1-2 5, Justin Gilson 2 0-0 6, Eddie Hendrex 6 0-0 13, Jimmy Ferrogine 3 0-2 6, Connor Kelly 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 9-19 47

Three-pointers: Mitchell, Gilson 2, Hendrex