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Division winning streak reaches for 50 for Toms River North

The streak hit 50.

That run is 50 straight boys’ basketball games that Toms River High School North has won during the regular season in the Shore Conference Class A South Division.

The gymnasium at Toms River High School East was the setting when the visiting Mariners posted that 50th consecutive victory with a 55-43 triumph over the host Raiders on Jan. 5.

Toms River North coach Rory Caswell said his squad played hard in the rivalry matchup.

“We have some bigger stronger guys and we may not be able to go man to man as much as other teams. We use our zone defense it is an active zone so it messes people up a little bit. It worked enough today,” Caswell said.

He said that superior size was one of the decided factors for the Mariners.

“We preach to players if they just grind it out, our size will overcome. Junior Najea Hallenbeck made some big baskets, junior Jakari Spence made some big decisions, seniors Nick Dunzack and Ryan Schlosser made some big plays to give us a cushion at the end,” Caswell said.

Junior forward Najea Hallenbeck finished with 17 points and nine rebounds while Dunzack, a forward, ripped down 16 rebounds and scored six points to lead the Mariners.

“We were able to grab offensive rebounds, playing good defense, crash the boards and give help. It great for me to be able to help my teammates out. Jakari (Spence) was able to get me the ball down low for me to score,” Hallenbeck said.

Spence, a guard, contributed to the victory with 16 points.

Junior Mike Goodall and senior Josh Nicol each sank 10 points and sophomore Aidan Meola scored nine in the defeat for Toms River East.

Toms River East coach Jim Dempsey saw some bright moments for his Raiders in the loss.

“We played I’d say a good 28 minutes. We have never played a good 28 minutes in any previous game we played. I know the score board does not look good, but if we are going to play 28 minutes in every game like that, then we are going to be fine,” Dempsey said.

Goodall pointed out that the Raiders played hard and hustled.

“Personally, I thought I missed a couple shots. We all played hard and hustled. We just did not get it done today. I just want the guys to keep being confident and keep working. We just need to keep doing what we are doing,” Goodall said.

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