Barnegat Boys Hoops Squad Shocks Top Seed in South Group II Tourney

Mar 07, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Barnegat’s Mike Revello goes up for a running jump shot during the first half of the Bengals’ 51-47 victory over top-seeded Cinnaminson in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II quarterfinals on March 1.

All season long, the seniors have led the way for the Barnegat boys basketball team. On March 1, facing an uphill climb against the top-seeded team in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II tournament, they blazed the path to victory yet again.

“We were down by eight points against Middle Township in the first round, so we just had to stay composed,” said senior Mike Revello after draining two foul shots with 30.9 seconds left to push the ninth-seeded Bengals ahead for good in a dramatic, 51-47 win over Cinnaminson. “We have four seniors on the team and we’ve been through a lot, so we’ve been in tough situations before. I knew we’d get it done.”

After leading by six, 29-23, going into the half, the Bengals (22-7) eventually found themselves facing a dire situation once the No. 1 Pirates woke up from an apparent offensive slumber and went on an 18-5 run in the third quarter to take a seven-point lead heading into the final eight minutes.

“It wasn’t that big of a deal to us,” said Revello, who ended up with 18 points. “If we didn’t have such a good first half and build the lead we had, that could have been a 10-point deficit going into the fourth. But basketball’s a game of runs. We just couldn’t get overwhelmed.”

So, with their season and careers on the line, the seniors led the way back to play another day.

It started with Alex Grogan, who during the first minute of the fourth completed a three-point play and buried one of his two three-point field goals to immediately cut the deficit to just a point, 41-40. Carson Francisco dropped in one of his six foul shots with 6:40 to go to tie the contest.

During the next four minutes, neither team scored much – Cinnaminson managed a bucket along the way to grab a two-point lead – before Thomas Krey ignited the Barnegat fans with his only points of the contest, a three-pointer from the left corner to give the Bengals a 44-43 lead with 2:41 remaining. Junior Sean Morris scored along the baseline and added a foul shot to make it 47-43 with 1:11 left before the Pirates bounced back to tie the game at 47-47 with 45.6 seconds to go.

On the Bengals’ next possession, Revello was fouled, and the double-bonus put him at the foul line for two shots. He drained both to make it 49-47, and Francisco added two more during the last 11.8 seconds to seal the victory and send Barnegat ahead to the semifinals.

“Our coach (Mike Puorro) always says to keep fighting until the end,” said Francisco, who tallied eight points and gave out six assists. “We played really good defense tonight, and that was very important in helping us keep the game close so we could win it at the end.

“We have a really (good) chemistry on this team, and that’s big. It helps in games like these. We’ve been friends for many years, and when games are tight, we stay together and keep fighting for each other.”

Unfortunately, the fight ended in the section semifinals, as Barnegat fell short against fifth-seeded Lower Cape May, which came back from a five-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter, then scored 15 unanswered points in overtime to win, 59-44. Francisco led the Bengals with 14 points, while Grogan and Krey each tallied nine points. Revello, Barnegat’s all-time leading scorer, was held to four points.

Pinelands’ Fantastic Season
Comes to End

After scoring its first-ever state-tournament win two days earlier, the Pinelands boys basketball team’s season was ended in the South Jersey Group III quarterfinals, as fourth-seeded Delsea cruised past the Wildcats, 64-36.

The Crusaders jumped out to a 16-6, first-quarter lead and never looked back, going on a 23-7 outburst in the second quarter to take a commanding halftime lead, then added a 24-11 onslaught to seal the victory. Juniors Anthony Diaz and Kieran Sundermann led the Wildcats (14-11) with seven points apiece, while sophomore Ryan Skeie added six points. Four Crusaders scored in double digits during the lopsided contest.

Southern Boys Go Out
In the First Round

While Barnegat and Pinelands both managed to get past the first round in their respective sectional tourneys, the Southern Regional boys were not as fortunate, falling to top-seeded Shawnee, 68-38, in the South Jersey Group IV first round.

The Renegades used a 24-2 outburst in the first quarter and barely slowed down from there, using a 17-10 run in the third quarter to secure the victory. In the final game of their careers, seniors Thomas Foster and Jake DuBois led the Rams (14-13) with 18 points and seven rebounds and 10 points and five boards, respectively.

— David Biggy

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