DOWNTOWN – Instead of revising the game plan used in their only loss of the season, the Red Bank Catholic boys’ basketball team doubled down on their strategy against Marlboro in Saturday’s rematch at the Hoop Group Boardwalk Showcase in Brookdale Community College.
After a hotly contested game won by Marlboro at the WOBM Christmas Classic on December 30, the top two teams in the Shore Sports Network standings played another Saturday and this time the No.2 Caseys came out on top with a 46 – 40 victory.
“After watching the last game we were pretty much even,” said Catholic Red Bank coach Tyler Schmelz. “It was just a handful of plays in their own way. We just knew we had to make a few more plays as the game progressed. Be tough, play hard, bounce the ball and we knew we would have. a shot. “
Saturday’s game was played at a more deliberate pace and, in turn, registered a lower score than the first meeting, which saw four Marlboro players score in double digits and three with 16 or more points. Mustangs eldest Jack Seidler scored a game-high 17 points on Saturday but was the only Marlboro player to hit double digits against the Caseys defense.
“I think the energy we put in defense today compared to the last game really helped us get this victory,” said senior Alex Bauman. “We were able to stop a lot of their mid-distance pull-ups, which they love and their three-point shot, which they love. Just bringing that energy into defense and being able to stop them was really our plan ever since. the beginning. “
On the other side, Red Bank Catholic didn’t have a player who scored more than 10 points, but also got contributions from eight players who scored at least two points. Sophomore Colin Cavanaugh scored 10 points, a team record, and all came in the fourth quarter.
Bauman, meanwhile, had eight points, seven rebounds and five assists to win the MVP of the game title.
Marlboro played without senior starter Zach Molod for the third straight game – a significant absence for the Mustangs considering Molod scored 19 points against RBC on December 30. Senior Jay Ratner was Marlboro’s second leading scorer on Saturday with nine points and the Caseys limited All-Shore first-team goaltender Jon Spatola to seven.
RBC held Marlboro to 24 points in the three quarters, but has only scored 28 points so far in the game. In the fourth, the Caseys scored the first four points of the quarter before Marlboro cut the lead to 32-29.
It was 37-32 then when RBC hit Marlboro with an 8-3 run that turned out to be the last nail. Sophomore Gioacchino Panzini stole the ball under his team’s own basket, threw an out pass to Bauman, who slipped a pass to Cavanaugh for a three-pointer from the left corner.
Cavanaugh then scored a transition layup on the next possession, followed by a pair of free throws by senior CJ Ruoff and one in two by Panzini.
Spatola and Ratner hit an unanswered pair of threes to cut Marlboro’s deficit to 45-40 with 11.9 seconds, but there wasn’t enough time for the Mustangs to reduce their deficit to one score.
Red Bank Catholic also held a decisive advantage in the rebounds and generally took advantage of their superior height across the board, led by 6-foot-5 Bauman, 6-6 Zach Meeks and 6-5 Panzini, as well as 6-5 in second year. Ty Burnham off the bench and 6-3 goaltender CJ Ruoff.
“We have a huge advantage in the height department and the waist department – down and on the perimeter, being able to stay in front of their guards and fight,” Bauman said. “They might be a little faster, but we were able to move up with our length and then go down lower with Zach Meeks, Big Burnham and Gio, our whole height really helped.”
Cavanaugh’s out was part of another productive day for the RBC bench, who went to four depths with rookie Ryan Prior, senior Alex Brown and Burnham all in the table.
“Anyone on our team can play,” Bauman said. “They prove it every day in training. We have battles in training, so I think it really translates on the pitch in games.”
With Saturday’s victory, Red Bank Catholic has now beaten every team on its schedule so far – one that includes St. John Vianney, Jackson Memorial and Raritan so far. The coming week could be the toughest of the season for RBC, who were due to face Holmdel and Rumson-Fair Haven in divisional clashes before heading to the undefeated Christian Brothers Academy on Saturday.
“Every day is a battle and there will be a lot of teams in the mix for the top spot,” Bauman said. “We have to give our A-game every game in order to be at this level.”
Last year, the ABC beat Red Bank Catholic in the Shore Conference Playoff Championship quarter-finals after RBC played a limited regular-season schedule that included just two games against Holmdel as the only clashes. against a team that finished in the top eight in the conference.
This season, the Caseys have considerably expanded their calendar. They have already played four games against teams from the Shore Sports Network’s most recent Top 10 (twice against Marlboro, St. John Vianney and Jackson Memorial) and their next three Saturdays will also include clashes against top 20 ranked teams from the state: CBA next weekend, Ranney on January 22, and Rutgers Prep on January 29.
“Our schedule this year has really helped us prepare to play all these great teams, whether you’re talking about CBA or Ranney and all these teams like that. It just gives us a better atmosphere and a sense of how the pace of these matches is going to be. “