McCoy, Revello Basketball Legacy: Best Ever at Barnegat High School

By DAVID BIGGY | Mar 14, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy

Growing up, Shannon McCoy consistently got teased by her older brother, Mark, that she wasn’t quite an athlete on his level. Everybody in Barnegat knew Mark. He was a three-sport athlete who excelled on the baseball field and eventually ended up among the pros.

“Mark’s always found a way to push my buttons and get under my skin,” Shannon said. “He even used to say things like ‘You can’t even make better mac and cheese than me.’ I probably can, but we’ve never had a contest to see if that was true.”

In another home not far from the McCoy’s residence, Mike Revello was the oldest brother ribbing the triplets a couple years his junior.

“In my house, it was the opposite,” Mike said with a laugh. “I was the one telling them they weren’t better than me. But hopefully, that will turn out to not be true and someday they will be.”

For now, though, Mike and Shannon are the sports stars in their families. Both will graduate from Barnegat High School in June as the school’s best basketball players in its relatively short history.

Since Barnegat opened its doors in 2004, only one hoops player had eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier for her career. That distinction had been held by 2010 graduate Catherine Keough – a standout athlete as well as an academic whiz – until this year, when Revello became the first guy to climb to the 1,000-point plateau.

“Coming into my freshman season, our program was in disarray,” he said. “The team only had three wins the year before. It was Coach (Mike) Puorro’s first season, so I didn’t know what to expect.

“I always thought I could be a good player and make my mark here – that’s the reason you play. But I had no expectation as to how good that would be. But I guess the stats prove I had a good career.”

Not long after Revello cemented his name into the record books, McCoy followed suit, not only reaching 1,000 points with a 42-point effort against Point Pleasant Borough but weeks later surpassing Keough as the girls program’s leading scorer.

“It’s crazy,” McCoy said. “I didn’t think I’d get to that point. It wasn’t ever a thought when I was a freshman. By the time my junior year came around, it looked like there was a chance for 1,000 points. But I wasn’t focused on any personal stats. It just all kind of happened. It’s special to be at the top of the list.”

While McCoy finished atop the points leaderboard with 1,401 – now the most in school history for a male or female hoops players – she also took the lead spot in career rebounds with 677. But McCoy was so much more than a scorer and glass-cleaner. She was a vocal leader who took on various roles throughout her career, including the point guard position this season.

“Shannon’s the best player I’ve ever coached,” head coach Tammy Nicolini said after her Bengals upset Cinnaminson for their first-ever state-tournament victory several weeks ago. “But it’s not just because she’s a great player who can do so many things on the court. It’s because she’s a great person. She’s always been about doing what’s best for the program.”

At the same time, Revello – a slash-and-dash type who had no trouble popping a pull-up jumper, taking the ball to the hole or dishing it off to a teammate with a better shot – capped his career by dominating the top positions with 1,331 points, 416 assists, 192 steals and 139 three-point field goals.

“To have a player such as Mike in our program for the last four years has been game-changing,” Puorro said. “Mike did so much more than fill stat sheets. He led by example and cared about the development of others. Simply put, he was willing to do whatever it took to make the guys around him better. He raised the bar for Barnegat basketball.”

And that’s the crux of what Revello and McCoy truly accomplished during their four years. They always did what was best for the team, whether it meant putting up dozens of points in a game, pushing their teammates to get better or patting one on the back when he or she needed a boost.

“I embraced that role,” Revello said. “And I enjoyed it. I knew I was there to help elevate everybody around me. But I knew I wasn’t LeBron James, the guy who took over games and carried the team every time we went out on the court. Everybody on the floor was as important as I was, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

McCoy said that while she personally worked really hard to improve herself as a player, all that effort was done to help Barnegat’s program.

“Everything was 100 percent for my team,” she said. “When I started playing as a freshman, we were losing 18 games per season. Now, we’re winning that many games per season, and that’s a far better accomplishment to me than anything I’ve done individually. Everything I’ve ever done to make myself better was for the program.”

As graduation looms, McCoy and Revello get to look toward their futures knowing they provided everything they could at Barnegat while helping to reshape the dynamics of each program. In the fall, McCoy will head to Kean University to study interior design and, yes, play basketball.

“I’m ready to move on and I’m excited about it,” McCoy said. “I’m going to miss high school basketball, but everything has to come to end. For me, one chapter is ending and another one is about to begin. It’s going to be fun.”

Revello hasn’t decided on his next school just yet, but he’s planning on giving up hoops to focus on academics and building toward a career in law.

“I love basketball, but I’m looking at schools where basketball’s at a whole other level, both in terms of the game and the commitment to play it really well,” he said. “I’m going to major in political science and maybe look to go to law school, so that’s a big commitment and I want to put 150 percent into it.”

Of course, as both Bengals look ahead, each looked back at the influence their coaches had on their development – but not just as players.

“Coach Puorro and I have a special relationship,” Revello said. “He was super tough on me when I first got into the program, and I wasn’t really sure I liked him much. But since then, he’s helped mold me in a lot ways, and I can take a lot of the lessons he taught me into the future. And our relationship ... that’s not something that will end with high school. I’m hoping to be in touch with him for the rest of my life.”

McCoy said that without Nicolini, she wouldn’t be the player and person she is today.

“Absolutely. If it wasn’t for Coach Nic, I wouldn’t be where I ended up or who I am,” she said. “She’s taught me so many things. She forced me to get out of my comfort zone as a player, and it helped me more than I realized at the time. But beyond that, she’s one of the most influential people in my life. She saw potential in what I could become and encouraged me to become it.”

(Photo by: David Biggy)
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