Connor Walsh, Milestone for Ben Roy Highlight Manasquan (NJ) Beat-down of Don Bosco
MANASQUAN - Despite reaching the 1,000-point mark for his career in the second quarter of the fifth game of his junior season, Manasquan guard Ben Roy would probably like to forget about his individual shooting performance from Saturday afternoon against Don Bosco Prep.
Forgettable shooting game or not, Roy and his team turned in another noteworthy performance in what the Warriors hope will be an abbreviated 2021 season to remember.
While Roy labored to 14 points on 5-for-18 shooting, senior Connor Walsh stepped up with 19 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks to lead a dominant performance by Manasquan - ranked No. 1 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 and No. 3 in the state by NJ Advance Media - in a 57-44 win over the No. 17 Ironmen.
"It's all heart," Roy said. "You go out, you play hard, you push them around and they don't like that. They don't like the intensity that we play with and I feel like that's why we're successful."
Walsh led an inspired effort by Manasquan's front court, which neutralized a Don Bosco lineup that packed in plenty of size with 6-foot-8 brothers Tarik and Akil Watson, 6-6 senior Joe Carroll, 6-9 sophomore Noah Barnett and 6-5 senior Michael Higgins. Senior Andrew Solomon pitched in nine points and 10 rebounds and while he did not score after hitting a three-pointer on Manasquan's first possession, senior Jack Collins made an impact on defense (three blocks), on the glass (eight rebounds) and as a facilitator (two assists).
"It's tough to show attention to multiple guys and this shows we have other guys who are more than capable of doing what they did tonight," Roy said. "With Connor doing what he did tonight, Andrew being an absolute beast on the boards, it proves we're not just me and Jack scoring. We have guys who come in and do what they do."
Roy and senior Casey Mulligan took care of the backcourt duties, with Mulligan netting eight points and Roy pitching in six rebounds and five assists to go with his 14 points. Roy entered the game just five points away from the milestone and left the gym Saturday with 1,009 points for his career.
"I knew I was close so I knew I was going to get it eventually," Roy said of his 1,000th point. "Just the fact that my teammates had my back today, we went out and won a big game, that's all I could ask for."
Manasquan broke the game open with a 23-5 run that started with just under three minutes to go in the fourth quarter and concluded with a dunk by Walsh off a feed from senior Shayne Leddy with 1:40 to go in the third. Manasquan held Don Bosco without a point in the first 6:08 of the third quarter and built its lead as high as 20 at 47-27.
The Warriors survived some foul issues in the first half and even started their run with Roy on the bench. Most of Manasquan's 8-2 run to close the half came with Roy saddled on the bench with two fouls, which both Walsh and Mulligan each had to endure as well after collecting two first-half personals.
"Although I hate to be on the bench, it helps to get some rest," Roy said. "I'm almost never on the bench, so I feel like that was a chance to rest and see some other guys step up. We have a freshman (Ryan Frauenheim) come in and make a big play and that's all we need."
Don Bosco standout freshman Dylan Harper - the son of former NBA guard Ron Harper and younger brother of Rutgers junior Ron Harper Jr. - played under three minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Harper picked up two fouls in just under two minutes and got hit with his third within the first minute that he one came off the bench.
Akil Watson - a 6-8 sophomore wing - finished with nine points to lead Don Bosco, which has lost all three of its matchups so far against power programs: Manasquan, No. 11 Trenton Catholic and the Patrick School (not NJSIAA-affiliated this season and not ranked in the state Top 20).
Manasquan, meanwhile, completes a week in which it defeated a Montclair Immaculate team ranked No. 8 in the state, a Wall squad that started the week No. 9 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 and now a win over one more Top 20 team. Manasquan was shut down for two weeks due to a case of COVID-19 on its team and returned to action with a narrow home win over Montclair Immaculate.
The Warriors are set close their regular season this week with two matchups against Neptune (No. 6 at the Shore), Trenton Catholic at home and a regular-season finale against No. 2 Bergen Catholic on the road.
"I'm so proud of my teammates," Roy said. "We come through and we work hard every day. You might not think much of us, but we go out there, we work hard and we leave it all out there, which you have to do against these good teams."