TOMS RIVER — The greatest season in Toms River North’s history came to an end on the wrong side of a triple-overtime thriller in the South Jersey Group IV final on Tuesday night.

Playing in their first NJSIAA sectional championship game in program history, the Mariners went toe-to-toe with longtime South Jersey stalwart Shawnee before the Renegades ultimately pulled away in the third and final overtime for a 76-72 victory at Pine Belt Arena. Shawnee big man Dylan Deveney led all scorers with 31 points, including 25 points in the third quarter and overtime periods combined, and hit clutch three-pointers and free throws down the stretch to send the Renegades into the Group IV semifinals against Hunterdon Central.

Shawnee denied Toms River North its first sectional title with a 76-72 win in a triple-overtime classic in the South Jersey Group IV final. (Photo by Ray Richardson).
Shawnee denied Toms River North its first sectional title with a 76-72 win in a triple-overtime classic in the South Jersey Group IV final. (Photo by Ray Richardson).

Dejected, the Mariners’ senior core walked back to the locker room. Head coach Rory Caswell emerged after a talk with his team, his shirt drenched in sweat. Senior Jaden Rhoden hobbled out with fellow seniors Mike Nyisztor and Darrion Carrington. They were disappointed, of course, but there was no denying they gave everything they had in the program’s biggest game.

“Every kid on both teams left everything out there. It even looks like I played in the game,” Caswell said. “I’m just proud of my five seniors, they left everything out there. Both teams had chances to win and put it away and (Shawnee) did in the end.”

“Coming into the game we knew it would be a war, and no one wanted to be that guy that didn’t leave it all out there for their brothers,” Nyisztor said. “Everyone just stepped up and kept pushing. Jaden can barely walk, we’re all hurting, but no one gave up on the team.”

Rhoden led the Mariners with 22 points while Nyisztor added 14. Dean Noll supplemented Deveney’s big game for Shawnee with 19 points and Sean Heine added 12 points.

A pull-up jumper from Noll just inside the three-point line tied the game at 46 with 1:28 left in the fourth quarter and started the madness that would continue for the final 90 seconds of regulation and three four-minute overtime periods.


Deveney nearly won the game in regulation, but his shot didn’t fall and his put-back came after the buzzer.  

“They didn’t want us to run and we ran, but we didn’t convert on a lot of it,” Caswell said. “We had the lead at the half but we weren’t executing. The second half we started making plays and once overtime started it seemed like everyone on both teams started hitting shots.”

A put-back by Travis Holland gave Toms River North a 49-48 lead before Deveney and North’s Sean O’Donnell traded three-pointers to make 52-51 with 26 seconds left in the first overtime. Noll then made two free throws to give the Renegades a 53-52 lead, and Heine made 1 of 2 free throws to put Shawnee up 54-52. Off a timeout with 9.4 seconds left, junior Holden Petrick pump-faked to free up space and knocked down a jumper from the right wing with 2.1 seconds left to sent the game into double overtime.


Shawnee pulled ahead, 60-56 in the second overtime, but Rhoden went coast-to-coast for a layup and then hit two free throws with 1:16 remaining that forced a third overtime.

Rhoden had a pass deflect off a Shawnee defender and come right back to him where he scored early in the third overtime for a 62-60 Toms River North lead. The Renegades came back with three quick buckets, however, including another huge three from Deveney, to take a 67-63 lead.

Nyisztor was fouled and made 1 of 2 free throws, got the rebound on his miss and was fouled again, and made 1 of 2 once more to trim Shawnee’s lead to 67-65 with 1:39 left. But that was as close as the Mariners would get.

Toms River North had a steal that led to a 2-on-0 breakaway, but the dunk attempt was missed and the follow-up was also off the mark. Shawnee fouled on the play, but Toms River North missed both free throws. With under a minute left the Mariners had to foul, and the Renegades made sure the ball was in the hands of their best shooter. Deveney hit two free throws and then connected on two more after a driving basket by Rhoden to give Shawnee a 73-67 lead with 26.4 seconds left.

Nyisztor drained a three-pointer with 19 seconds left but Shawnee didn’t miss from the foul line when it counted, and held on for the 76-72 win.

“I walked in there after the game and told each and every one of them to put their heads up, and that I’m proud of every one of them,” Caswell said. “The last six years all the guys brought this program to where it hasn’t been in a long time, if not ever. We had never been to a sectional final before, we set a school record with 28 wins. They should be proud.”

“We’re keeping our heads high,” Carrington said. “Tonight was a really good game, it just came down to the bounce of the ball and some missed connections.”

“It feels good to make it this far,” Nyisztor said. “It’s a shame we couldn’t get the win but we left it all out there for each other.”


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