Boys Basketball – VOTE: Week 7 Seaview Orthopaedics Player of the Week
Each week during the 2021-22 season, Shore Sports Network will recognize the top performers in Shore Conference boys basketball and give the SSN readers a chance to pick the top one.
With seven Shore Conference divisions this year instead of six, there will be a Player of the Week in each division, plus three wild cards, giving you a pool of 10 players from which to choose every week.
Read about this week's nominees and vote for the one that strikes you as the best pick for overall Player of the Week. The top vote-getter will receive a $25 gift card to the Turning Point and a long sleeve t-shirt courtesy of Seaview Orthopaedics.
Vote in the poll at the end of the post once per hour until the poll closes at 10 p.m. on Thursday.
Class A North Player of the Week
Jayden Holmes-Cotter, Freehold Twp.
Holmes-Cotter has been one of the Shore’s most consistent players and this past week, he had two of his biggest scoring outbursts of the season. The 6-foot-5 junior carried the Patriots offense with 26 points in a 65-56 loss at Manalapan and after scoring 10 points in an easy win over Long Branch, he exploded for 30 points and 24 rebounds in a win over crosstown rival Freehold Boro in the annual Kuhnert Memorial game.
Class A North Honorable Mention: Dylan Csik, Middletown South; Mike Bimonte, Manalapan; Joe Dupuis, Howell; Tom Schork, Middletown South; Jack Seidler, Marlboro
Class A Central Player of the Week
Trent Sloan, Rumson-Fair Haven
Senior classmate Scott Gyimesi had a huge statistical week again and teammate Matty Newman had the moment of the week in getting his first varsity start and scoring his first varsity points on Saturday vs. Holmdel after serving as varsity manager throughout his high-school career. The honor this week, though, goes to Sloan, who two of his biggest scoring games as a Bulldog last week. The senior scored a team-high 18 points in Rumson’s huge, 53-37, win over No. 1 Red Bank Catholic and then poured in 22 at Matawan later in the week.
Class A Central Honorable Mention: Jack O’Leary, Raritan; Justin Rivera, Raritan; Colin Haluska, Matawan; Scott Gyimesi, Rumson-Fair Haven; Liam Gajewski, Shore
Class A South Player of the Week
Luke Braaten, Brick Memorial
Although he is the team’s second-leading scorer, Braaten has been the heart and soul of Brick Memorial this season as its senior leader and dynamic big man at 6-7. Last week, Braaten dominated in wins over Freehold Boro, Toms River North and Wall, averaging 17.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 6.3 blocks over the trio of games, including a triple-double against Toms River North (18 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks).
Class A South Honorable Mention: Steven Bado, Jackson Memorial; Samir Padilla, Jackson Memorial; Jaden Anthony, Southern; Manny Vargas, Toms River East; Micah Ford, Toms River North; Justin Soranno, Central; Delani Hyde, Toms River North
Class B North Player of the Week
Nate Williams, St. John Vianney
Triple-doubles are the theme of the week and not only is Williams the second of three players on this list with a triple-double this week but is one of three players to accomplish the feat in a unique way. While Braaten got his triple-double with points, rebounds and blocks, Williams did so with points, rebounds and steals, going off for 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 steals in a Lancers come-from-behind win over Middletown North. Not only that, but Williams also became the 10th boys player at St. John Vianney to join the 1,000-point club for his career, doing so with a 28-point performance at Colts Neck that also included eight rebounds and 10 steals.
Class B North Honorable Mention: Nick Valentino, Red Bank; Matt Kenny, Middletown North
Class B Central Player of the Week
Kevin Burns, Point Beach
Despite the best efforts of Braaten and Williams, Burns was the triple-double king of the Shore last week. In both of his team’s games, Burns put up the more conventional triple-double (points, rebounds and assists), which were the first two of his career. The Garnet Gulls junior started it with 19 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists in Point Beach’s first win over Mater Dei Prep in seven years, then went even bigger with 31 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in a loss at Asbury Park.
Class B Central Honorable Mention: Zy’mier Jones, Asbury Park; Anthony Longo, Keyport; Isaac Hester, Ranney; Jack Fitzpatrick, Henry Hudson; George Mitchell, Keyport; D.J. Thomson, Keyport; Sha’Born Goodman, Asbury Park; Sal Berardesco, Asbury Park
Class B South Player of the Week
Nunes Bakula, Donovan Catholic
Bakula had a career week for the Griffins, beginning with a career-high point total in a win over Pinelands. Not only did Bakula score 20 points, but he did so in a 40-27 win over the Wildcats, scoring half his team’s points against an opponent that has made it a habit of keeping opposing teams quiet on the scoreboard. Bakula followed that effort up with 12 more points in a win over Lakewood.
Class B South Honorable Mention: Amari Petty, Manchester; Savon Myers, Manchester; Chris Venturoso, Lacey; Alex Jenkoski, Brick; Shane Ryan, Point Boro; Cole Toddings, Barnegat; Dan Schwartz, Donovan Catholic
Class C North Player of the Week
Luke Farrell, St. Rose
Farrell continued to produce at a high level last week and did so, more importantly, in three St. Rose wins. The senior Coast Guard commit put up 21 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in a 71-53 win over likely SCT qualifier Monmouth, posted 24 in a win over points in a win over Ocean, then capped the week with 13 points in limited action during a one-sided Purple Roses win over Academy Charter on Saturday.
Class C North Honorable Mention: Stephen Mellett, Point Boro; Matt Solomon, Manasquan; Phanique Dupree, Jackson Liberty; Ta’haj Wiggins, Monmouth
Justin Rivera, Raritan
Statistically speaking, Rivera has had better weeks than the one he had last week, but he has never hit a bigger shot than the one that ended a perfect week for his Raritan team. On Saturday at Ranney, Rivera scored 21 points and banked in the game-winning floater to beat the buzzer and the Rockets stunned the Panthers, 56-55. Rivera was a force in the final minute-and-change, scoring the final seven points of the game in the span of 1:10.
Steven Bado, Jackson Memorial
Jackson Memorial’s nine-game winning streak came to an end Saturday against Toms River North, but it was nonetheless a big week for Bado – the team’s lone senior starter. He kicked it off with 14 points and eight rebounds in a key win over Central, then went for 17 points in a Senior-Night win over Brick. In the loss to Toms River North, Bado did his part by leading all scorers with 23 points.
Liam Gajewski, Shore
The Blue Devils took a big step in clinching a Shore Conference Tournament spot last week with wins over Asbury Park and South Hunterdon. Gajewski was the scoring standout in both wins, pouring in 19 points vs. Asbury Park and matching a career-high with 21 points in the victory at South Hunterdon.