New Jersey’s scholastic boys’ basketball teams celebrated the holiday season with a full schedule of games.
Here is a look at this holiday week’s Central Jersey Top 10 rankings.
(Ranking. Team, Record)
1. Middletown South, 2-0: Middletown South stays as the lead dog in the rankings with a great start to the season. The Eagles started things off with a 70-51 season opening victory over Manalapan on Dec. 19. Senior sharp-shooter James Anderson scored a team-high 24 points in the victory for Middletown South. The senior scored a team-high 22 points in the team’s 71-44 victory over Lacey in the first round of the WOBM Holiday Tournament on Dec. 21. Senior forward Mike Dabas has scored in double figures in each of the Eagles’ first two victories of the season. Junior Luke Albrecht showed off his entire arsenal in the win over Lacey for Middletown South, knocking in 19 points with eight rebounds and five assists.
2. Saint Thomas Aquinas, 2-1: After posting a 21-7 mark last season, Saint Thomas Aquinas (formerly known as Bishop George Ahr) is built up again for a great season with Quadry Adams, Derrick Grant and Jalen Jones all returning to the starting lineup. Saint Thomas Aquinas put on a scoring clinic in its impressive season opening performance against South River on Dec. 19, picking up a 81-26 victory over the Rams. The Trojans defeated Mater Dei Prep, 98-65 before losing its first game of the season to the parochial powerhouse, Bergen Catholic.
3. Marlboro, 2-0: Marlboro has gotten off to a hot start to begin the 2019-2020 season and moved up to No. 3 in this week’s rankings. The Mustangs made a big statement in its season opener against CBA on Dec. 20, going on the road to defeat the Colts, 85-70. Sophomore Jack Seidler had a monster game in the victory for Marlboro, scoring a career-high 29 points. Senior Alex Ranter led the Mustangs to a 85-76 victory over Manchester Township in the first round of the WOBM Holiday tournament on Dec. 21 with a game-high 28 points.
4. Ranney, 0-1: There will be a lot of changes this year for Ranney after the school from Tinton Falls captured its first NJSIAA Tournament of Champions title last season. Scottie Lewis (Florida) and Bryan Antonie (Villanova) have both graduated and are playing NCAA Division 1 basketball. Phillip Lewis decided to not come back for his senior year and is playing professional basketball in Italy. Ranney had a tough matchup against Lawrence Woodmere Academy of New York to open up on the season on Dec. 21, suffering a 70-53 loss to start the season.
5. Red Bank Catholic, 2-0: The Caseys have been rolling to start the season, outscoring their opponents, 217-89, through the first two games of the season. Red Bank Catholic defeated Shore Regional, 75-48, in its season opener on Dec. 20. Senior Charlier Gordinier scored a game-high 15 points to lead the Caseys to a 67-41 victory over Jackson Memorial in the first round of the WOBM Holiday Tournament on Dec. 21.
6. Holmdel, 1-0: Defense was the key to Holmdel’s success last season, holding its opponents to 50 points or below in every one of the team’s 15 victories. That was the case in the team’s season opener this year against Saint Rose on Dec. 20, with the Hornets earning a 52-33 victory to begin the season. Senior Eric Hinds scored a team-high 12 points in the victory for the Hornets.
7. Allentown, 1-0: Seniors RJ Wise and Tim Mastromarino both had great games to lead the Redbirds to a season opening victory over Notre Dame on Dec. 20. Mastromarino scored a team-high 15 points, while Wise came up with 14 points to help Allentown earn a 60-59 victory to begin Colonial Valley Conference play.
8. Freehold Township, 2-1: The defending NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 champion and Group 4 state finalist got a nice 59-49 season opening victory over Howell on Dec. 20 to start the season. Junior Joe Lardaro scored a team-high 14 points in the Patriots’ victory. Lardaro helped Freehold Township get back on track in the consolation round of the WOBM Holiday Classic Tournament after the team came up up short in the first round against Donovan Catholic. The junior scored a team-high 22 points to lead Freehold Township to a 73-53 bounce back victory over Point Pleasant Borough on Dec. 26.
9. Hightstown, 2-0: The Rams crack the Top-10 this week after starting off the season with two straight impressive victories. Grabbing a 67-54 victory over Princeton to start the season on Dec. 20, Hightstown followed its season opening win by knocking off South Brunswick with a 67-50 victory on Dec. 23. Senior Ben Simon was a beast in Hightstown’s victory over the Vikings, scoring a game-high 29 points. Teammate Ryan Hogan dropped a team-high 16 points in the win over Princeton for the Rams.
10. Old Bridge, 0-1: The Knights were upset by South Brunswick in their season opener on Dec. 20, losing to the Vikings, 69-52. Senior Sean Williams lead all scorers with 25 points in the contest for Old Bridge.
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