Boys Basketball – Wall Edges Red Bank Catholic to Stay on Top in B North
*Scroll Down for Highlights*
WALL TWP. – The shots were not falling Saturday for Wall like they were the first time the Crimson Knights stunned Class B North rival Red Bank Catholic, a win that effectively announced to the Shore Conference that Wall would be a contender this season after winning only one division game all of last year.
While the offense did not come as easy for the Knights, one thing remained constant against the No. 7 ranked Caseys’ balanced offense: Wall’s defense.
For the second time in as many games this season, Wall bottled up Red Bank Catholic’s dangerous array of shooters and hung on for a 47-46 win Saturday to keep pace with Red Bank as the co-leaders in the Class B North division with two games to play for each.
“It’s not just that they have multiple scorers, but they have multiple scorers who can all score in different ways, which makes defending them a tall order,” first-year Wall coach Matt Kukoda said. “I thought we did a good job closing on their shooters and being physical with them. Unfortunately, that physicality parlayed itself into some fouls on us, but we wanted to bring a level of physicality to try to disrupt what they were doing.”
Red Bank Catholic (11-8, 7-6) shot just 11-for-38 (29 percent) from the field with nine turnovers against Wall’s man-to-man defense. The Caseys did much of their damage from the free-throw line, shooting 20-for-29.
“We did some switching on screens at times to mix it up and keep them off guard,” senior point guard Brendan Barcas said. “Our main focus was just getting out on their shooters. There is not one guy you can key on because they can all shoot it, so we wanted to make sure we were communicating and helping each other.”
Despite the off-shooting game, Red Bank Catholic took a 44-43 lead with 2:05 left in the game on a 3-pointer by junior Evan Madigan off a steal by senior Joe Montano. Wall (13-5, 9-3) responded with a go-ahead basket on the other end by senior Mike Andrejco off a deflected pass from senior Joe Tashjy. The basket by Andrejco gave the Crimson Knights the lead for good with 1:33 left.
Senior Ryan Janeczek hit two free throws with 25 seconds left to push the lead to 47-44 and Red Bank Catholic answered with two free throws by senior Tom Montano to slice the Wall lead to 47-46 with 8.2 seconds left.
Wall senior Trent Mitchell missed the front end of a one-and-one with 6.8 seconds left and after an RBC timeout, Joe Montano dribbled the ball to the left wing and fired a 3-pointer that hit the front rim as time expired.
“We just wanted to make sure we stayed in front of our man in that situation,” Kukoda said of the final play. “Montano is tough because he is so adept at scoring off the dribble, and we wanted to make it so that if he does score, he is going to have to shoot over somebody. Fortunately, Brendan did a good job staying in front of him and I think his length was able to bother him just enough.”
Barcas led Wall with 16 points and five assists, while Janeczek added 10 points.
Senior Liam Byrne led the Caseys with 13 points and Madigan chipped in 10 in the loss.
Wall can clinch at least a share of the Class B North division championship by winning its remaining two games against Neptune and Colts Neck. The Scarlet Fliers just had an eight-game winning streak snapped by Plainfield on Saturday, while Colts Neck is currently in third place in the division. Red Bank, meanwhile, plays Colts Neck and 6-11 Ocean to wrap up its division slate.
“I feel like we are telling ourselves that today is a big game every single night,” Barcas said. “That’s how it’s been for us in this division. Every team is tough and we know we can’t take anyone for granted. It’s an awesome feeling to have a chance to win a division championship, but we know we still have to focus on one game at a time if we want to keep it going.”
Wall 47, Red Bank Catholic 46
|Red Bank Catholic (11-8, 7-6)|
|Wall (13-5, 9-3)|
Red Bank Catholic (46): Joe Montano 2 2-2 7, Evan Madigan 2 5-6 10, Kevin Fazio 1 2-4 4, Eddie Hahn 3 2-4 8, Liam Byrne 3 5-5 13, Tom Montano 0 4-8 4, Joe Agius 0 0-0 0, Anthony DeRosa 0 0-0 0. Totals: 11 20-29 46
Three-pointers: J. Montano, Madigan, Byrne 2
Wall (47): Brendan Barcas 5 6-7 16, Ryan Janeczek 3 2-2 10, Joe Tashjy 3 0-0 6, Mike Andrejco 1 2-2 4, Trent Mitchell 3 0-4 7, Matt Andrejco 2 0-1 4, R.J. Janeczek 0 0-0 0, Eddie Palluzzi 0 0-0 0, Shaun Scott 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 10-16 47
Three-pointers: Ryan Janeczek 2, Mitchell