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It had been more than a decade since the Brick Memorial boys basketball team won a Shore Conference division title and the core of this year's team had high hopes to be the first since 2008-09 to do it.

And that was last year.

Do to factors outside, but also within, Brick Memorial's control, the 2021 season did not work out the way the Mustangs had hoped, but the disappointment fueled the fire for a 2021-22 season in which coach Mike Pelkey's team kicked down the door to reach the first on their lofty list of goals.

Last week, Brick Memorial won two must-win games to complete its first Class A South championship season in 13 years, then capped the regular-season with a convincing win over rival Brick to head into the Shore Conference Tournament 16-4 and claim the seventh Jersey Mike's Team of the Week honor of 2022.

Photo by Steve Meyer
Photo by Steve Meyer
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Coming off a 2021 season in which it was not in the traditional Class A South grouping, lost senior center Luke Braaten for the season four games into the schedule and faded down the stretch while failing to qualify for the top four pods of the Shore Conference playoffs, Brick Memorial -- with several key pieces back as seniors and juniors -- resolved to make the most of the full, hopefully-healthy 2021-22 season.

A 53-45 loss to Jackson Memorial at home on Jan. 24 threw Brick Memorial's chances of an outright division championship into question, but when Toms River North stunned Jackson Memorial on Feb. 5, the door again cracked open for Brick Memorial to push through for an outright title.

The Mustangs storming past Central Regional, 45-29, the battling past Southern, 34-31, to officially clinch the division championship. Braaten and junior Brian Starrett led the way in both wins, with Starrett scoring a team-high 12 points in both to go with six assists vs. Central and four vs. Southern.

Braaten, meanwhile, dominated Central despite scoring just four points. The 6-foot-7 senior blocked 10 shots and cleared 12 rebounds in the win over the Golden Eagles, then put up 10 points, eight board and four blocks against Southern.

Braaten went off for 22 points and 19 rebounds in Saturday's 49-27 win over Brick to close out the week and Brick Memorial extended its winning streak to nine games Tuesday when the Mustangs rolled to a 61-39 win over Monmouth Regional in the Shore Conference Tournament opening round.

 

2022 Jersey Mike's Team of the Week Winners

Week 1: CBA

Week 2: Manasquan

Week 3: Red Bank Catholic

Week 4: Jackson Memorial

Week 5: Manalapan

Week 6: Rumson-Fair Haven/Holmdel