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Toms River North grabs early bragging rights with boys’ basketball victory

The William F. Dougherty gymnasium at Toms River High School South was the setting where the crowd was excited for a cross-town rivalry game in boys’ basketball.

The attraction was Toms River High School North and Toms River High School South facing off against each other in a Shore Conference Class A South matchup on Dec. 20.

Toms River North gained early bragging rights when it knocked off Toms River South, 71-44.

Toms River North coach Rory Caswell was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We played very good and solid defense. For the most part we controlled the boards, we controlled tempo and we knocked down shots when we were suppose to,” Caswell said.

He said the game between the schools is always a rivalry.

“No matter the records going in or out it is always a tough game. The first quarter is always competitive. We were able to make plays in the second quarter and push this game open,” Caswell said.

Toms River North junior guard Jakari Spence led all scorers with 26 points. Junior forward Najea Hallenbeck contributed to the victory when he recorded 14 points and 15 rebounds in the victory. Senior forward Nick Dunzack also delivered ro the triumph when he collected 14 points and seven rebounds.

“Jakari Spence did a great job. We are starting to get some younger guards off the bench to really contribute and my bigs such as Najea Hallenbeck showed up tonight,” Caswell said.

Jakari Spence said his teammates put him in great position during the game.

“The rim was just really big, it felt like an ocean tonight. We played as a team,” Spence said.

He said for the team to continue winning they will have to be more consistent and keep playing hard.

Toms River South junior guard Nick Luongo led the Indians with 15 points. Junior point guard Jalen Folsom and junior guard/forward Rob Marro contributed 10 points apiece in the defeat.

Luongo said the game was a tough loss.

“We just have to come back stronger. This team just has to keep working. We will have to improve on rebounding. We just need to keep boxing out and working on the boards,” Luongo said.

Toms River South coach Curt DeFillipo said the game was learning experience.

“It is ups and downs. We got off to a good start tonight. The guys still played like a team and we are looking to learn from our mistakes tonight,” DeFillipo said.

He said Toms River South has to play its game.

“It is early in the season. We are really excited. The guys work hard. We have a long way to go. This team has four juniors starting. The guys have great chemistry and we are a family,” DeFillipo said.

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