TOMS RIVER – The atmosphere was predictably loose for the Shore Conference Lacrosse Coaches Association Senior All-Star Game.

Players tried to pull off flashy goals and assists, they choreographed group celebrations after goals, they switched positions - middies sporting long poles and defensemen grabbing short sticks. On a cool, clear late spring night at the Jersey Shore, life was good.

For Manasquan goalie Mike LaPoint and his teammates, this one last game together meant everything.

“Tonight definitely meant a lot to me because it’s one of the last times I’m going to get to play with a lot of these kids, whether from Manasquan or not,” LaPoint said. “I’ve been playing with a bunch of these kids since I was in fifth grade starting up lacrosse and it meant so much to come out and play my last game with them.”

LaPoint was selected as the game’s most valuable player for making nine saves, including seven in the second quarter, as the North All-Stars defeated the South All-Stars, 15-10, on Friday night at Donovan Catholic High School. Manasquan long-stick midfielder Mike Page scored twice, attackman Ryan Anderson tallied one goal and one assist and midfielder James Pendergist scored once.

“It was pretty special,” said Manasquan defenseman Jack Fabean. “In eighth grade over at Long Branch me and Mike were playing in the youth game and I think he got MVP there too. It was kind of déjà vu tonight, just with more of us. It was a ton of fun and I’m definitely going to miss it next year.”

CBA attackman Connor Macrae also scored twice and Ocean attackman Holden Lowe added one goal and one assist while Freehold Township goalie Aidan Purcell made five saves. Freehold Township midfielder Matt Kondrup, Holmdel midfielder Dan Tempone, CBA defenseman Tommy Gray, Howell midfielder Jared Badillo, Colts Neck midfielder Nick Giannattasio, St. John Vianney attackman Andrew Gosse, Wall defenseman Shane Meyler and Red Bank Catholic attackman Ryan Schellin each scored once.

Point Boro midfielder Cormac McCabe led the South All-Stars with three goals while Lacey attackman Dylan Vitale scored twice, Shore midfielder Jack McCrae banked one goal and one assist and Shore midfielder Gil Goldsmith dished out two assists. Jackson Liberty goalie Sean Reid made five saves. Shore attackman Jake Turner, Jackson Memorial attackman Santo Porazzo, Donovan Catholic midfielder Trevor Barber and Lacey midfielder Chris Augustine each scored once and Toms River North midfielder Brett Singer had two assists.

Manasquan appropriately had six players selected to the senior all-star game after arguably the best season of any team in Shore Conference history. The Warriors went 21-1, won the Class B North division title, captured their third straight Shore Conference Tournament title and defended the NJSIAA South Group 1 championship to win their third sectional title in the last four years. LaPoint, Fabean, Pendergist, Page and Anderson represented the Warriors on Friday night while attackman Canyon Birch, who concluded his record-setting career with state records for goals and points, was unable to play in the game due to an injury.

“To me, what we accomplished was setting a legacy for the kids behind us to look up and say, ‘that 2019 class did what they had to do and that’s what we need to do now.’,” LaPoint said. “It’s going to build the program up and make them have higher expectations.”

“I’m really proud of what we did as a team, not many have accomplished what we have in the Shore Conference,” Fabean said. “As a brotherhood, it meant more to us than anything we won. The wins and losses meant a lot, but in terms of friends and family, we have friendships forever now.”

The North All-Stars jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first 1:47 of the game on tallies by Kondrup, Tempone and Macrae, but the South rallied on goals by Turner and Porazzo to trim the deficit to one. The teams traded goals by Macrae and McCabe as the North led 4-3 after the first quarter.

The second quarter was the polar opposite to the high-scoring opening 12 minutes thanks to a fantastic performance by LaPoint, who turned aside seven shots to keep the North in front. The South finally broke through, however, with three seconds left in the half when Singer corralled a ground ball and fed McCabe for a mini fast break that he scored on to tie the game at four.

The North All-Stars took complete control in the third quarter by scoring seven straight goals to open an 11-4 lead. Five straight face-off wins by the combination of Barber and Brick’s Justin Innarone led to goals by Barber and Augustine in the final four minutes to bring the South to within 11-6 heading into the fourth quarter.

The South All-Stars also scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter on strikes from McCrae and Vitale, but the North quickly responded on goals by Anderson and Meyler to regain a five-goal edge.

The fastest shot contest returned at halftime and it was Page winning with a shot of 99 miles per hour. Page had three shots in the final round and fired in shots at 96, 98 and mph. Vitale had a 95 mph shot and Pendergist just missed beating his teammate when his final shot registered 98 mph.

Prior to the senior all-star game, there was a youth all-star game featuring some of the top eighth-graders in the Shore Conference. The North All-Stars rolled to a dominant 13-1 victory and John McCurry, who will play at Wall High School next season, was selected as the game’s MVP.


Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.


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