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Toms River East offers potential this boys’ basketball season

The Toms River High School East’s boys’ basketball team may be young but it has plenty of potential to make noise in the Shore Conference Class A South Division this winter.

“I honestly believe we can really be a very good team, even though we are very young. This team just has a chance to be very good this season,” coach Jim Dempsey said.

The Raiders return a three-guard nucleus from last season.

Senior guard Josh Nicol and junior guards Mike Goodall and Ryan Goodall, who are cousins, will be the spearheads.

The Raiders finished 13-11 overall and 11-5 in the Class A South Division this past season.

In the postseason last winter, Toms River East fell to Red Bank Catholic, 75-56, in the Shore Conference Tournament’s opening round and then it was eliminated in the South Jersey, Group 3 state sectional tournament by Mainland Regional High School, 72-62, in the first round. Both RBC and Mainland were defeated in the ensuing round of each tournament.

Dempsey said this years’ team style will be to push the ball on the fast break and press defensively.

“So basically we are a full-court team. We try to run fast break as much as we can. This team will look to full-court press from baseline to baseline,” Dempsey said.

Junior forward Riley Engelhard has impressed Dempsey.

“He just keeps growing. He is about 6-3. He just keeps doing a better job each and every day,” Dempsey said.

Junior forward Matt Santos is another player who Dempsey will count on this season.

“He is also a really big guy. He is about 6-2 or 6-3 and 200 pounds. For us at Toms River East, that is a big guy. He has had a great recovery from an injury in football and we did not think we would have him at all. Now he might be able to play in our first game,” Dempsey said.

He said both Engelhard and Santos are very agile and will be able to run with the team.

“Our key to a successful season will be this team’s chemistry. This team will have to buy in. We have a lot of youth on this team. Some of these guys will need time and help. As, we go on in the season each week this team will get better and better. This team has a very good ceiling,” Dempsey said.

He said this is the best time of year.

“We have had some bad days. This is a group with a tremendous amount of potential,” Dempsey said.

Toms River East will start the season at home with in-town conference matchup against Toms River High School North on Dec. 14. The game is slated to start at 6:30 p.m.

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