Basketball Roundup

Barnegat Boys Hoops Squad Learning Through Struggle

By DAVID BIGGY | Jan 09, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

It seems there’s a clear dividing line for the Barnegat boys basketball team when it comes to scoring and giving up points. If coach Mike Puorro’s crew puts up 45 or more points in a game, the odds are more in its favor to win the game.

On Jan. 7, the Bengals scored 34. That simply won’t be enough to win at the high school varsity level on most nights.

“We only gave up 46 points,” Puorro said after his team’s 46-34 defeat against Jackson Memorial. “So, defensively, we played well. But it doesn’t matter how hard you play on defense. You’re not going to win games scoring less than 40-45 per game.”

Barnegat (2-5) was very much in the game through the first half, taking a 19-18 lead into the locker room at the intermission. The teams were tied, 20-20, nearly three minutes into the third quarter. But the Jaguars eventually found their stroke from behind the three-point arc and the Bengals’ offense couldn’t keep pace.

During the last 5:07 of the third quarter, Jackson buried a trio of three-pointers on the way to a 13-6 run which put it ahead, 33-26, going into the final eight minutes. The Jaguars next three field goals during the first four minutes of the fourth were also treys, while Barnegat managed a short jumper by Nick Revello and a foul shot from Sean Morris. That scoring drought allowed Jackson to take a 15-point lead into the final 3:27.

Revello finished with 12 points, while Morris ended with nine. Brendan Revello scored five points, and Brian Finucan and Jared Krey each contributed four.

“Ultimately, you have to continue to fight, grind and play hard,” Puorro said. “You have to keep plugging along. A lot of times, it’s about confidence. They were getting the same looks we were, but they were knocking them down and we weren’t. We have to keep working in practice and eventually the results will take care of themselves, but it’s not going to happen overnight with such a young team.”

After two excellent seasons, Puorro’s squad last June graduated players with a ton of offensive clout who had played together for years. He believes this current group of Bengals eventually will arrive at the same height as the previous group.

“We graduated 99.9% of everything, statistically,” he said. “When you lose that much, the reality is you’re going to take a step backward. There are times when we need that leader on the floor, and we don’t have it right now. Or we need that go-to player and we don’t quite have it yet. It’s going to take some time to develop. These guys are learning a lot on the fly. The game at this level is fast, physical and up-tempo, and a lot of these guys haven’t experienced that until now.”

Barnegat started 2019 with a 53-39 loss to Shore Conference Class B South rival Lacey on Jan. 3. Nick Revello led the way with 15 points, while Brendan Revello added 10.

Win Streak Snapped for Pinelands Boys

After starting the season 5-0, the Pinelands Regional boys started the new year on the wrong foot, suffering its first loss of the season, 56-51, to Shore Conference Class B South foe Jackson Liberty on Jan. 3.

Andrew Schulz led the Wildcats with 22 points, including a trio of three-pointers, and grabbed four rebounds. Anthony Diaz added 12 points, which also included three treys, and six boards. But the offensive production was limited throughout the rest of the squad, as Luke Wiatrowski and Garrett Brown each scored six points.

Southern Boys Team Continues Struggle

The new year hasn’t been kind to the Southern Regional boys basketball team, either. The Rams fell short in both of their contests to start 2019 – a 52-33 loss to Elizabeth on Jan. 4, preceded by a 56-43 defeat against Shore Conference Class A South rival Central on Jan. 3.

Against Elizabeth in the Seagull Classic, a 16-3 first-quarter margin ultimately made most of the difference. Cole Markley led the Rams with 10 points and six rebounds, while Ben Ridgway added eight points and Jay Silva hit for seven points and snagged five boards.

Up 40-39 heading into the fourth quarter against Central, the Golden Eagles pulled away with a 17-3 outburst. Joe Infurna was the highest-scoring Ram of the night with 21 points, which included five three-pointers. Luke Infurna added nine points and Will Devane contributed seven points.

Barnegat Girls Start New Year Slowly

The Barnegat girls team took a hit during the first two games of 2019, but got back on a winning track Jan. 7 with a 55-42 victory over Keyport. The Bengals took a 26-12 lead into the half and coasted from there. Sydney Boyer led the charge with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Kya Joseph contributed 11 points and nine boards, and Ashley Pringle added 11 points with four steals. Jada Baker grabbed 10 boards and gave out six assists.

Against B South rival Lacey on Jan. 4, Joseph poured in 25 points and snatched 15 rebounds while Boyer contributed 13 points and eight boards, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Lions in a 67-60 loss. Lacey led by a point heading into the fourth quarter, then outscored the Bengals (5-5), 23-17 to close out the victory. Barnegat started the new year with a 50-41 loss to Point Pleasant Beach on Jan. 3, during which Baker led the way with 11 points and 19 rebounds.

Southern Girls Split Pair Last Week

The Southern girls basketball team started with a split for its first two games of 2019 – dropping a 32-28 contest to Freehold Township on Jan. 5, after scoring a 52-46 victory over Class A South rival Central on Jan. 3.

In the win over the Golden Eagles, the Rams (4-4) jumped out to a 16-8, first-quarter lead before taking a halftime lead of 31-17. Kaela Curtin led the Rams with 12 points and five assists, while Sam Del Rio and Jacqueline Ward, who gave out six assists, each scored 11 points. Two days later against the Colonials, their 14-8 spurt in the first quarter ultimately was the difference, as Del Rio led Southern with 16 points and six rebounds.

Pinelands Girls Drop Two to Start Year

While the Pinelands girls basketball team is scoring more compared to its first two games of the season back in mid-December, doing so wasn’t enough to prevent the Wildcats from dropping their first two contests of 2019.

During a 49-40 loss to B South rival Jackson Liberty on Jan. 3, the Wildcats went down by 14 points at halftime and couldn’t recover. Sunni DiElmo and Bridget Dudas led the way with eight points each, while D’Anna Capriotti managed seven points and Alyssa Vitiello added six. The day before, in a 46-29 loss to Shore Regional, Dudas and Vitiello led the Wildcats (1-6) with nine and seven points, respectively.

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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