Bauman leads Red Bank Catholic to Founders Cup victory over CBA

The Red Bank Catholic boys' basketball team celebrates defeating Christian Brothers Academy, 67-54, to win its first Founders Cup on Feb. 15 at Red Bank Catholic High School.

The fourth time was the charm for the Red Bank Catholic High School boys’ basketball team in the Founders Cup series

Searching for a victory to stop its three-game losing streak and end the regular season with some momentum going into the Shore Conference Tournament, Red Bank Catholic knocked off Christian Brothers Academy for a 67-54 victory on Feb. 15 in Red Bank.

That victory enabled RBC to hoist the trophy for the first time.

“I hope this game helps us going into the Shore Conference Tournament,” said Red Bank Catholic coach Tyler Schmelz. “This game is separate from everything else. It’s a standalone moment for the kids. (CBA) beat us three-years in a row. It was really big for my seniors to win this game at least one time in their careers.”

Red Bank Catholic finished the regular season with a mark of 14-8.

The end of CBA’s three-year run on th3 ocal rivalry series, left the Colts with a 13-10 record to end the regular season going into the conference tournament.

Winner of nine of its last 11 games, CBA coach Geoff Billet feels good about where his team is at going into postseason play.

“We’re playing pretty much as well as anyone going into the tournament,” Billet said. “The last month has been tremendous. The kids play hard and they play together. They share the basketball. We just have to make open shots.”

It was a career day for senior Kevin Bauman, who was a monster around the basket for RBC in the second half.

The Caseys, who were trailing CBA, 26-25, going into halftime, came out ready to roll in the third quarter, starting the second half on a 14-3 surge to get out to a 39-29 lead.

Red Bank Catholic erupted for 20 points in the third period, with Bauman scoring 11 of them to help put the Caseys up, 45-33, going into the fourth quarter.

Bauman brought home the victory with a stellar fourth quarter.

Off a nice dish from teammate Max Croke, Bauman rose up to the rim for the layup and the foul, completing the three-point play to give Red Bank Catholic a 54-44 lead with 3:25 left to play.

In total, Bauman connected for 14 points in the fourth quarter and finished with a career-high 31 points in the victory.

“It was the momentum we needed going into the Shore Conference Tournament and the state tournament,” Bauman said. “To score 31 points is a blessing and I couldn’t have done without my teammates.”

CBA rallied to make it a five-point game with just under two minutes to play as Colin Farrell drilled home his second three-pointer of the contest to cut the Red Bank Catholic lead to 56-51.

Farrell scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter for CBA.

Just a two possession game now, Red Bank Catholic needed to find a way to hold off the Colts and the guy who stepped up to make that happen for the Caseys was Bauman.

Playing his best in the biggest moments as Schmelz said, Bauman showed great effort to get the offensive rebound and bang home the layup to extend the RBC lead to 60-51 with 1:28 to play.

Bauman put a stamp on Red Bank Catholic’s first Founders Cup victory moments later with a thunderous two-handed slam dunk to put the Caseys up 62-51.

“Getting to play in an environment like this is what you live for as an athlete,” Bauman said. “We were able to take advantage of that and have fun.”

Sophomore C.J. Ruoff scored 20 points in the victory for Red Bank Catholic.

Ryan Mabrey finished with 12 points for CBA, while teammate Ryan Cremen recorded 11 points in the contest.

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports