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Four teams ran away with Shore Conference division championships by going unbeaten in the division and Class B South’s 2021-22 champion was among that group. Manchester dominated the field as much as any division champion a year ago, winning every Class B South game by a double-digit margin – the only Shore Conference division champion to do so in 2021-22. With Manchester graduating four starters, this season is a chance for the division to exact its revenge, although the team that finished second a year ago is no longer in Class B South, while the team that might benefit the most from Manchester’s graduation played in a different division last year.

Central Regional joins the Class B South field while Donovan Catholic and Lakewood move out as part of divisional realignment. Upon its move to B South, Central becomes an instant contender – perhaps even the favorite – to win the division. Manchester will try to defend its title with a new-look team, while Lacey, Brick and Pinelands look to separate themselves after they all finished in a three-way tie for third place a year ago.

Whichever team emerges as champion of Class B South, there is a good chance it will have a claim as the best team in Ocean County, so the stakes remain high heading into 2022-23.

In predicted order of finish

1. Central

Rarely do teams graduate an All-Shore forward and four-year starter and come back stronger the next season, but Central appears to be in that position heading into 2022-23. Justin Soranno was a standout player for the Golden Eagles during his four-year career and his former team will miss his size and all-around excellence, but the experience coming back to the roster and depth up within the starting lineup and on the bench have Central set up for a step forward this season – one that could lead its first division championship in more than a decade.

Senior point guard John Truhan and junior wing Miles Chevalier return with plenty of varsity experience and will take the lead in Central’s guard-heavy lineup as the two leaders on the squad. Chevalier, in particular, is on the cusp of becoming one of Ocean County’s top all-around players, if he did not already wedge into the conversation as a sophomore last year. Junior Brayden Lowden and sophomore Jaycen Santucci broke into the lineup a season ago, with Santucci showing promise as a scorer in only his freshman seasons.

Carlos Medina-Farres adds some intrigue and length to the lineup after moving from Spain. The bench should also be an asset for coach Mike Clemente Jr., who is looking to turn loose a talented group of sophomores that performed at the sub-varsity level last year while Santucci was breaking in on the varsity. While Jackson Memorial and Brick Memorial duke it out for the Class A South championship, Central will start the season as the Class B South favorite and make its case as the best team in Ocean County.

Central junior Miles Chevalier. (Photo: Tom Smith |
Central junior Miles Chevalier. (Photo: Tom Smith |

Head Coach: Mike Clemente Jr., eighth season
2021-22 Record: 15-10 (8-4, third in Class B South)
Key Losses:
Justin Soranno, 6-6, Forward; Gianni Smith, 6-1, Guard; Luke Kryzkowski, Jr., 6-3, Forward (Transferred to Red Bank Catholic)

Projected Lineup (Returning Starters in Bold)

John Truhan, Sr., 5-10, Guard 

Miles Chevalier, Jr., 6-3, Guard 

Brayden Lowden, Jr., 5-10, Guard

Jaycen Santucci, So., 6-3, Guard 

Carlos Medina-Farres, Sr., 6-4, Guard (Transferred from Spain)


Off the Bench

Royalty Riley, So., 6-2, Forward

Jordan Barbot, Jr., 6-2, Guard

Ryan Kelly, Sr., 6-0, Forward

Aidan Graham, So., 6-0, Guard

Deven Sisler, So., 6-5, Forward

Devont King-Riley, So., 6-0, Guard

Liam Hurley, So., 6-0, Guard


2. Manchester

While Central bid farewell to a star player, Manchester said goodbye to a standout class at the end of last season. Savon Myers and D’Maari Brown were four-year starters and All-Shore players for the Hawks, while Amari Ayala-Petty came over from Donovan Catholic and made a major impact last season for the reigning Class B South champions and Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinalists. With four new starters in the fold, Manchester will put its program depth to the test and try to live up its current standard of winning a division title and making noise in the postseason.

Manchester’s hope for 2022-23 starts with 6-foot-8 center Evan Weiner, who was the perfect complementary piece to Myers and Brown a season ago. Weiner was content to focus on rebounding, rim protection and cleaning up in the paint as a junior and this season, he is ready to show off a wider range of skills for a team that will need him to be even better this year. Junior Jordan Love will also need to step up, which he did early in his sophomore year as a starter while Ayala-Petty sat the required 30 days as a transfer.

Sophomore Aidan Lunn and senior Javion Glenn will be stepping into more prominent varsity roles this season, with Lunn looking to pick up a chunk of the perimeter scoring and Glenn offering some quickness on the perimeter. Senior Eli Casalan steps in to run the point in Brown’s absence – big shoes to fill for the first-year starter. Junior Jaymire Watts will be a spark off the bench with the potential to play his way into a starting role along the way. There is enough potential for coach Ryan Ramsay and the team to dream on and with the taste of winning still fresh from a season ago, Manchester should remain a championship contender in B South.

Manchester senior Evan Weiner. (Photo: Tom Smith |
Manchester senior Evan Weiner. (Photo: Tom Smith |

Head Coach: Ryan Ramsay, 18th season
2021-22 Record: 23-6 (12-0, first in Class B South)
Key Losses:
Savon Myers, 6-5, Guard; D’Maari Brown, 5-9, Guard; Amari Ayala-Petty, 6-2, Guard; Jordan Dupont, 5-11, Guard; Brandon Sogness, 5-11, Guard

Projected Lineup (Returning Starters in Bold)

Eli Casalan, Sr., 5-9, Guard

Josh Love, Jr., 5-9, Guard

Aidan Lunn, So., 6-2, Guard

Javion Glenn, Sr., 6-1, Guard

Evan Weiner, Sr., 6-8, Forward


Off the Bench

Jaymire Watts, Jr., 6-4, Forward

Joe Horowitz, Jr., 6-0, Guard

Joe Bentivegna, Jr., 5-10, Guard

Tre Ross, Jr., 5-11, Guard

Alex Vasylatiy, So., 5-10, Guard

Na’Zyr Battle, So., 6-3, Forward

Maquis Goins, So., 5-9, Guard


3. Lacey

With the loss of standout center Carson Howard to a transfer prior to last season, Lacey went from a very good rebounding team in 2021 to a suspect one in 2021-22. The guard-heavy lineup a season ago showed it could produce points and get up and down the floor, but controlling the paint was a challenge throughout the season and it was the primary factor in Lacey losing 16 games – a disappointment after coming out of 2021 with visions of grandeur for its talented group from the class of 2023.

While last season was a hard dose of reality, Lacey enters this season with renewed hope thanks to one of Ocean County’s more experienced lineups, which now features more senior influence than it has in a long time. Chris Venturoso has been one of Ocean County’s top scorers since he debuted as a freshman at Point Pleasant Beach and over the last two seasons, he has been vital to Lacey’s operation. Classmate Troy Buxton is also a fourth-year starter, a knockdown shooter and capable floor general who is looking to have a bounceback season to close out his career. Dylan Hall is the other senior with starting experience and he returns off a junior season in which he averaged four assists per game.

Junior Logan Brash and senior Peter Murphy round out the starting five, with Brash moving into a full-time starting role after providing steady play off the bench as a sophomore. Senior Ryan Fitzgerald also brings varsity experience off the bench, while Trevor Santucci and Joe Miereles can bring some size to the lineup when needed. The leadership is place and Lacey should put points on the board. If the defense and rebounding can just be passable, the Lions will be a major threat in Class B South and a state-tournament sleeper.

Head Coach: Sean McAndrew, sixth season
2021-22 Record: 10-16 (6-6, tied third in Class B South)
Key Losses:
Mike Abode, 6-1, Forward; Dylan O’Rourke, Sr., 5-10; Connor Davis, Sr., 6-0

Projected Lineup (Returning Starters in Bold)

Dylan Hall, Sr., 5-10, Guard

Chris Venturoso, Sr., 6-1, Guard

Troy Buxton, Sr., 6-0, Guard

Logan Brash, Jr., 5-10, Guard

Peter Murphy, Sr., 6-3, Forward


Off the Bench

Ryan Fitzgerald, Sr., 5-11, Guard

Trevor Santucci, Jr., 6-2, Forward

Joe Miereles, Jr., 6-5, Center


4. Brick

Although the won-loss record might not make it obvious, Brick is coming off an encouraging season and has reason to be hopeful in 2023 – even with the graduation of some key pieces in 2021-22. Jack Dougard and Rob Giovine were important players on last year’s team, but Dougard battled injury throughout the season, which gave Brick a chance to play younger players who will come into this season more prepared than they might otherwise have been. The Green Dragons will also be under the direction of a new coach for the second straight season, with Rob Panasuk taking over for Chris Cordiano. The quick turnover is a new challenge for the program after Mike Gawronski built Brick into a winning team during his nine seasons.

The Green Dragons will look to its two returning senior starters to lead the way, particularly guard Alex Jenkoski. The 6-2 guard had a breakout season as a sophomore in 2021 and is coming off another strong showing as a junior in 2021-22. Senior Stephen Novak, meanwhile, will provide some of the grunt work in the paint, with 6-4 classmate Brandon Farber joining him on the front line of the starting five. Guard Nick Verdesco is the fourth senior in the starting lineup and sophomore Jayden Johnson rounds out the projected first five coming off a promising showing as a freshman a season ago.

Novak and Farber will have to handle the frontcourt responsibilities due to a lack of size on Brick’s bench, but the Green Dragons should have enough help to spell the starters in a pinch. For the most part, though, Brick will go as Jenkoski goes and the senior has shown he can handle big games against tough opponents to this point. With Lacey in a similar situation coming off last season and Manchester graduating so much talent, there is lane for Brick to make a run at a top spot in B South this season.

Head Coach: Rob Panasuk, first season
2021-22 Record: 10-16 (6-6, tied third in Class B South)
Key Losses:
Jack Dougard, 6-4, Guard/Forward; Rob Giovine, 6-0, Guard; Giuseppi Johnson, 6-0, Forward

Projected Lineup (Returning Starters in Bold)

Alex Jenkoski, Sr., 6-2, Guard

Nick Verdesco, Sr., 5-11, Guard

Jayden Johnson, So., 5-11, Guard

Stephen Novak, Sr., 6-2, Forward

Brandon Farber, Sr., 6-4, Forward


Off the Bench

Aidan Dvorak, Jr., 5-10

Sean Gilson, So., 5-11

Kyle Knowsley, Sr., 5-10

Sam Karavangeles, Jr., 5-11

Anthony Zarilli, Jr., 5-9

Jayson Nardone, Sr., 5-9

Jack Stansbury, Sr., 5-9

Gavin Maffei, So., 5-8


5. Barnegat

Last year was an honest-to-God rebuilding season for Barnegat, which coach Mike Puorro had built into a 20-game winner and division-title contender in his first seven years. By the end of last season, the Bengals were starting two freshmen with a group of juniors, so while the results were not coming in the form of wins, the Bengals were at least set up to take a big step forward in 2022-23 – especially with a program track record of building up winners.

The team looks a little different than the Bengals might have anticipated at the end of last season, with three key juniors opting not to play during their senior years. With that said, Barnegat will now have a very clear nucleus for the next two seasons and with no seniors on the roster, the timetable to contend extends beyond this season. Sophomores Mason Krey and Cole Toddings are two key building blocks after both started as freshman, while junior Jamari Smith moves into the starting lineup after getting time as a sophomore. Junior varsity returnee Shawn Javines and sophomore newcomer Kyle Greenleaf round out the starting five, with Greenleaf providing size to a guard-heavy roster at 6-5.

Junior Alex Churney will fill the sixth-man role, with a sophomore trio also pushing for minutes in Barnegat’s rotation. This season will be an opportunity for the Bengals to compete with some experienced teams in Central, Brick and Lacey and one of Ocean County’s consistent contenders in Manchester. If the Bengals can hold their own this season, they will be a team to watch for 2024 and 2025.

Head Coach: Mike Puorro, ninth season
2021-22 Record: 7-19 (2-10, sixth in Class B South)
Key Losses:
Logan Kreudl, 6-0, Guard; Shikeith Gordon, Sr., 5-11, Guard; JoJo Bivins, Sr., 6-0, Guard; Gabe Terry, Sr., 6-3, Forward

Projected Lineup (Returning Starters in Bold)

Jamari Smith, Jr., 6-2, Guard

Shawn Javines, Jr., 6-0, Guard

Mason Krey, So., 5-11, Guard 

Cole Toddings, So., 6-2, Forward 

Kyle Greenleaf, So., 6-5, Forward


Off the Bench

Alex Churney, Jr., 6-0, Guard

Todd Muhammad, So., 6-1

Stephen Griffin, So., 5-11

Luke Tortorici, So., 6-0


6. Pinelands

Pinelands was the other team to battle its way to a .500 divisional record and a three-way tie for third place in Class B South and the Wildcats’ effort to get to the even division record might have been the most impressive job out of the three teams. The Wildcats were short on experienced scoring and size, but found a way to grind out six wins in the division – even when it required making the game ugly. One of Pinelands’ wins in 2021-22 was a 23-15 win over Barnegat, which was part of a four-game stretch in which the Wildcats failed to reach 30 points.

Scoring is not likely to be a strength for Pinelands this season either, with all five starters from a season ago moved on to graduation. There is some potential, however, with just two seniors in the starting lineup this time around. Mike Hall and Ashish are those two seniors, while junior Aiden Falduto returns with the most experience after coming off the bench as a sophomore. Fellow junior Gerald Newsome and sophomore Eric Ciccarelli round out the back court, which will have a chance to grow together for another season and come back again in 2023-24.

Pinelands hasn’t relied on its underclassmen at the varsity level in a few seasons and this year might give coach Fred Johnson an opportunity to test some of the younger players in the program and start getting them ready to compete at the top of the division by the time they are juniors and seniors. The Wildcats already showed last season they can find a way to win games, so don’t be surprised if they make their move a year early.

Head Coach: Fred Johnson, seventh season
2021-22 Record: 8-12 (6-6, tied third in Class B South)
Key Losses:
Rian O’Rourke, 5-8, Guard; Aiden Skeie, 5-10, Guard; Darren Barreau, 5-7, Guard; Daniel McCarthy, 6-1, Guard; Collin Reid, 6-0, Guard

Projected Lineup

Ashish Gainder, Sr., 5-9, Guard

Aiden Falduto, Jr., 5-10, Guard

Gerald Newsome, Jr., 6-1, Guard

Mike Hall, Sr., 6-1, Forward

Eric Ciccarelli, So., 5-10, Forward


Off the Bench

Boaz Kilasi, Sr., 5-9, Guard

Connor Bonicky, Sr., 5-10, Forward

Michael Howlett, Sr., 5-10, Forward

Joey Capriotti, Jr., 5-11, Forward

Ty Kline, So., 5-9, Guard

Matt Davis, So., 6-1, Forward

Mateo Skeie, So., 5-10, Guard

Josh Barongo, Fr., 6-1, Forward


Class B South Starting Five (With 2021-22 Stats)

Troy Buxton, Lacey (12.5 points)

Miles Chevalier, Central (12.7 points, 2.3 assists, 2.6 steals, 85 FT%)

Alex Jenkoski, Brick (13.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 47 3-pointers)

Evan Weiner, Manchester (6.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.9 blocks)

Chris Venturoso, Lacey (18.0 points, 77 FT%)


Breakout Players to Watch

Jaycen Santucci, Central

Jaden Johnson, Brick

Mason Krey, Barnegat

Aiden Falduto, Pinelands

Josh Love, Manchester


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