The Marlboro High School boys’ basketball team has turned some heads with statement victories to launch the 2019-2020 season.
Starting on Dec. 20 in its season opener against Christian Brothers Academy, Marlboro picked up a thunderous 85-70 victory in the historic halls of CBA in Lincroft to start Shore Conference A-North Division play with a bang.
“Anytime you beat CBA it’s a big win for the program,” said Marlboro coach Mike Nausedes. “It’s really special to come here on opening night to get a win. The guys fought hard. I’m very proud of their performance.”
The Mustangs saw its young sophomore forward Jack Seidler make a huge impact. He scored a career-high 29 points in the victory, 17 of which coming in the first half.
“It was a great performance, but I can’t stay complacent,” Seidler said. “I have to build off it. It was a great team win.”
The turning point of the game came with 5:04 to play in the third quarter after CBA went on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 47-47.
Marlboro responded with a 17-8 burst to finish out the quarter and take a 64-55 lead into the fourth period.
Another sophomore, Jonathan Spatola, fueled the surge for the Mustangs, scoring nine points in the final five minutes that included two three-pointers.
Spatola swished in his third three-pointer of the night in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to extend the Marlboro lead to 70-55. The sophomore scored all 14 of his points from the five minute mark of the third quarter on.
“We’re a pretty deep team,” Nausedes said. “Anybody on our team can score and take the ball to the hoop. We’re a small team, but that doesn’t hurt us. It makes it a challenge for other teams to come up with ways to defend us.”
Senior Alex Ratner cracked the 25-point mark in the season opening victory for the Mustangs.
Ratner came into this season as Marlboro’s go-to scorer. The senior star propelled the Mustangs to a 85-76 victory over Manchester Township High School in the first round of the WOBM Holiday Classic Tournament on Dec. 21 at RWJ Barnabas Health Arena in Toms River with a game-high 28-point performance.
Seidler again scored over 20 points for the Mustangs, scoring 26 points to give him 55 points through the first two games of the season.
Junior Alexsy Friedman knocked home 14 points to help Marlboro improve to 2-0 to start the season.
Marlboro’s performance against Manchester was crucial in the eyes of Nausedes after getting the big season opening triumph over CBA.
Nausedes said after the CBA game that the way his team responds against Manchester would determine how important their victory against CBA really was going into the rest of the season.
The Mustangs showed their seventh-year coach with another great second-half performance that they are focused on being one of the best teams in the A-North Division and in the Shore Conference.
“I have total faith in our guys,’ Ratner said. “We know how good of a team we can be this season. If we just keep playing hard together and keep motivating each other, I think we can make a big run this year.”
Marlboro had another great test to start the season when they faced off against Wall Township in the quarterfinals of the WOBM Holiday Classic Tournament on Dec. 27.
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports