Last week’s Shore Conference Tournament featured a host of big moments, clutch shots and noteworthy performances. This week’s Player of the Week feature pays tribute to the top performers from the SCT, which concluded on Saturday with Mater Dei Prep capturing its second straight title. In addition to naming a tournament MVP, there are 15 more players who got a nod on the three tournament teams.

The SSN Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey Player of the Week Vote will return next week. In the meantime, be sure to read up on the top players from the SCT.

Mater Dei junior Kyle Cardaci. (Photo by Ray Richardson)
Mater Dei junior Kyle Cardaci. (Photo by Ray Richardson)

Shore Sports Network Shore Conference Tournament MVP

Kyle Cardaci, Mater Dei Prep

In four tournament wins, Cardaci scored a team-high 68 points, an average of 17 points per game. In the SCT championship game, he went scoreless over the first 23 minutes but caught fire late in the third quarter. From the final minute of the third through the end of the game, Cardaci hit three three-pointers and scored 14 points to help carry the Seraphs to the finish line in a 54-41 win over Marlboro.

A junior transfer from Holmdel, Cardaci was not eligible to play for Mater Dei until Jan. 17, but since he was cleared to play, Mater Dei is 15-0. He is averaging 11.2 points per game and his only two games of 20 points or more both came during the Shore Conference Tournament – one a 23-point outing against Manasquan in the quarterfinals and another a 20-point effort in the semifinal win over Toms River North.


SSN Shore Conference Tournament First Team

Elijah Barnes, Mater Dei Prep

One of two players to record his 1,000th career point in the SCT quarterfinals, Barnes ignited the semifinal win over Toms River North with 21 points and 11 rebounds, capped by a thunderous dunk and blocked shot on consecutive trips late in the fourth quarter. He averaged 14 points and 9.2 rebounds in four SCT games.

Dylan Kaufman, Marlboro

The youngest member of the Marlboro rotation, Kaufman played like a seasoned veteran during Marlboro’s run to the SCT championship game. The 6-5 sophomore led Marlboro with 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game during the Mustangs’ four-game run, highlighted by 22 points and 14 rebounds in a quarterfinal win over Freehold Township.

Dan Weiss, Marlboro

In what was likely Marlboro’s biggest regular-season game of the season – a home game against Freehold Township on Feb. 13 – Weiss did not score. During the postseason, however, he hit some of Marlboro’s biggest shots in the biggest moments. The 6-7 senior averaged 14.5 points over four tournament games, including 20 points in the quarterfinal win over Freehold Township. His biggest shot was a go-ahead three-pointer with 35 seconds left against No. 2 Ranney during the semifinals.

Jaden Rhoden, Toms River North

Like he has all season for the 26-2 Mariners, Rhoden did a lot of everything during Toms River North’s run to the semifinals, where they took top-seeded Mater Dei Prep to the wire. The senior averaged 15 points, 9.7 rebounds and five assists during his team’s three games in the SCT, including a pair of double-doubles in wins over CBA and Rumson-Fair Haven.

Kenny Jones, Mater Dei Prep

Mater Dei’s junior point guard continued to steer the ship during the Seraphs’ run to the SCT title. Jones averaged 14.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 7.7 assists in four games during the SCT, including a pair of 10-assist games in both the quarterfinals against Manasquan and the semifinals against Toms River North. Since Cardaci was inserted into the starting lineup, Jones is averaging 6.8 assists per game.


Second Team

Ryan LaRocca, Marlboro

Like his teammate Weiss, LaRocca nailed a number of big shots during Marlboro’s four-game run in the SCT. The senior guard averaged 12.7 points during the tournament, including 15 in the semifinal win over Ranney.

Bryan Antoine, Ranney

Antoine became the first sophomore in the history of boys Shore Conference basketball to reach the 1,000-point mark when he scored 33 points in a quarterfinal win over Middletown North. In three tournament games, Antoine averaged 25 points, which was the highest mark of any player in the SCT.

Ahmadu Sarnor, Ranney

In three tournament games, Sarnor averaged 16.7 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Panthers, highlighted by 19 points and nine rebounds in a quarterfinal win over Middletown North.

Darrion Carrington, Toms River North

Toms River North shot the lights out in the SCT and while Carrington had little to do with actually making those three-pointers, he played a major role in setting them up as the team’s point guard. In three SCT games, Carrington averaged exactly 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Mariners.

Scottie Lewis, Ranney

Lewis was arguably the best all-around player in the SCT from a statistical perspective, averaging 15 points, eight rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.3 blocks in Ranney’s three games. He pushed a triple-double in the Panthers’ quarterfinal win over Middletown North, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to go along with four blocks.


Third Team

Rob Higgins, Middletown North

Middletown North’s stay in the tournament lasted only a couple of games, but Higgins made his presence felt with 46 points in those two games. He poured in 26 in a round-of-16 win over Colts Neck and scored 20 in a quarterfinal loss to Ranney.

Elijah Mitchell, Mater Dei Prep

Mitchell does a little bit of everything for Mater Dei and he does not need to shoot much on a team with plenty of scoring, but he still stepped up in big moments for the Seraphs. He had 12 points, three steals and also took a huge charge late in the championship game to earn MVP honors. He averaged eight points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.5 steals in four SCT games.

Devin Jensen, Manasquan

Manasquan’s senior sharpshooter continued his march toward 1,000 points during the SCT by averaging 19.3 points in the Warriors’ three games. He scored 26 in a road win over Point Beach in the round of 16 and put up 20 against a Mater Dei defense that was keyed in on stopping him.

P.J. Ringel, Marlboro

Although he leads Marlboro in scoring average this season, Ringel played the role of distributor and disruptor during Marlboro’s SCT run, averaging 4.5 assists and 3.7 steals for the Mustangs during their four-game run. He also averaged just under seven points per game for the SCT.

Sean O’Donnell, Toms River North

Despite coming off the bench, O’Donnell filled it up for Toms River North with 12 three-pointers in four games, including a 7-for-11 performance from behind the arc in the semifinals. O’Donnell’s 21 points nearly helped the Mariners knock off top-seeded Mater Dei.


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