Seager leads Spartans over Devils

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

Saturday night the Spartans of Ocean Township hosted their neighbors from Shore Regional in a nondivisional Shore Conference basketball game. Ocean dominated the second half and took a 62-30 win.

The first half was very competitive with Ocean taking a 13-7 first-quarter lead on Shore. Jack Miller hit a 3-point shot for Ocean to start the game. Andrew Seager, the big man for the Spartans, scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in that first quarter. He also ended up with eight rebounds.

Shore’s Chris Panduri had four of his game-high nine points in the first quarter. In the second quarter the Blue Devils played their best basketball outscoring Ocean 7-6. Panduri scored five of those points while teammate Ryan Flanagan had the other basket.

However, the second half was all Ocean. They nearly shutout the Devils in the third quarter outscoring them 21-2. Shore did a little better in the final quarter, but Ocean still had them 22-13 taking the 62-30 victory.

Seager was high scorer for the game with his 23 points. Miller finished with 14, and Luke Yates had nine for the Spartans. With the victory Ocean improves to 8-6 overall. They play in the B North division and are currently 4-3 in fourth place out of eight teams.

Shore Regional falls to 5-8 overall with the loss. They compete in the A Central division and are currently sitting in sixth place out of the seven teams.

Panduri was high man for the Devils with nine points. Flanagan finished with five and Kyle Koob scored four.

Kyle Koob (10) of Shore Regional attempts to go around Brian Laustsen (25) of Ocean Township.

Leading all Blue Devils in scoring during the 62-30 loss to Ocean Township was Chris Panduri (20) of Shore Regional who had nine points.

Cutting to the hoop for Ocean Township is David Yatcilla (3) while Ryan Paglia (15) of Shore Regional attempts to stop him.

Going up for a basket is Spartan Bobby Reisler (23) while Chris Panduri (20) of Shore Regional goes for the block.

Panduri and Koob lead Devils over Bucs

By Walter J. O’Neill, JR.

Last week the Bucs of Red Bank Regional were in West Long Branch to play the Blue Devils of Shore Regional in a Class A Central basketball game. Shore took the 52-46 victory and improved to 3-3 in the division and 5-5 overall.

Shore looked like a well-oiled machine as they ran the floor with speed and accuracy in passing, hitting the boards and playing aggressive defense. Shore opened the game taking a 12-9 first-quarter advantage over Red Bank Regional. Only three Devils scored in that opening quarter; Chris Panduri scored seven of his game-high 23, Kyle Koob had three and Ryan Paglia had two.

In the second quarter both teams were dead even with 10 points each. Koob had five, Panduri scored three and Ryan Flanagan put in two points for the Devils, who took a 22-19 lead into the halftime break.

Red Bank Regional had five players scoring in the first quarter. Brian Forsman, Jack Niesz, Dean Hoffman and Matt Weidman each had two points, and Gavin Mahoney made one of two foul shots. In the second quarter, Forsman had five, Jasir Thomas scored three and Weidman made two foul shots.

n the third quarter the Blue Devils added 14 points to their total which solidified their victory. Panduri had six points, Paglia and DuBois each hit three-point baskets and Devin Chartier had two points.

Panduri, who was high man for the Devils with those 23 points, finished the game as he started with seven fourth-quarter points. Koob had six of his-game high 17 in the fourth.

Matt Weidman led the Bus with 14 points while his teammate Forsman scored 13.

Current standings in the A Central division has Rumson-Fair Haven at 4-0 and 8-1 overall followed by Matawan 5-1, Shore 3-3, Raritan 2-3, St. John Vianney 2-3, Holmdel 1-4 and Red Bank Regional is 1-4 and 1-9 overall.

Going up for a Shore Regional jumper is Kyle Koob (10) of Shore Regional, who scored 17 points in the win over RBR.

Chris Panduri (20) of Shore Regional goes up for two of his game-high 23 points in the win over Red Bank Regional.


Shore wrestlers Maida and Klemser claim titles at Buc Classic

By Skip Pierc

Last week the Bucs of Red Bank Regional were in West Long Branch to play the Blue Devils of Shore Regional in a Class A Central basketball game. Shore took the 52-46 victory and improved to 3-3 in the division and 5-5 overall.

Maida is a freshman and as such was an unknown quantity at the start of the 2017-2018 campaign. However, he promptly lost his novice status with championships at two major competitions earlier in the season, the Pine Barrens Tournament on December 16 and the Holmdel Holiday Tournament on December 27.

Those credentials along with a 15-1 record earned him the top seed of the 106 pound weight class. Maida justified the seeding with two shortened matches in his trek to the winner’s podium. He recorded the quickest pin of the tournament in the semifinal round, dispatching South Brunswick’s Matt Klimkiewicz in just 19 seconds. In the final he shutout Peter Berlin of Manasquan to a 17-0 tally, leading to the match being halted at 3:58, on a technical fall.

Wrestling at 113 Matt Klemser also came in as the number one seed. The junior posted a pair of pins to claim the title starting with a stoppage of Keansburg’s Gavyn Read at 4:42 in the semifinal. In the final he pinned Tucker Cochrane of Red Bank Regional at 1:53. The win over Cochrane was career victory number 69 for Klemser, keeping him on pace to ultimately reach the 100 win milestone. Earlier this season he captured the 113-pound championship at the Pine Barrens Tournament.

Brad Smuro (120) and Jarrett Weir (145) took home silver medals. Bronze medals went to Al DeSantis (126) and Michael McGhee (138). Shore finished second in team scoring with 139.5 points to South Brunswick (163.5).

Jack Maida scores back points on Peter Berlin of Manasquan in the 106 final.

Matt Klemser controls Keansburg’s Gavyn Read in the 113 semifinal.


Precious win for MR over OT

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

The Falcons of Monmouth Regional have a new coach for the girls basketball team for this season. Laura Forbes starts her first season in the position, but she is no stranger to the school. Forbes is an alumnus who was a star player during her career. She was also a member of the Monmouth University Hawks basketball team.

After her career as a player, the Hawks hired Forbes as the Director of Basketball Operations at Monmouth University. Her knowledge of the game and her youth has been a huge positive as she attempts to turn around a program that finished 10-14 last year.

Michael Lazur is in his fourth season as the Spartans head coach. He is also dealing with some issues as the Spartans have only one senior on its roster. His team finished 5-20 last year, and he is without three key players this season. Two chose not to play hoops and one was sick and unable to play. So it’s fair to say that both teams are in transition. On January 12, when the two teams meet at Ocean, the Spartans had a great first quarter start taking a 16-10 lead. Morgan Bartlett scored six of her game-high 10 for the Spartans in that opening quarter.

It was in the second and third quarters where the Falcons took control of the game and secured their victory. Precious Allah, senior guard at Monmouth Regional scored eight of her game-high 15 in the second quarter, as her team outscored Ocean 15-8. Going into the halftime break Monmouth had a slight 25-24 lead. In the second half the Falcons outscored the Spartans 6-3 in the third and 7-6 in the fourth quarter. Allah not only had 15 points, she also pulled down seven rebounds, had three steals and two assists. Senior Marisa Santoro finished with nine points and junior Charlotte Gage had six.

Leading the Spartans in scoring was Bartlett with her 10 points. She also had eight rebounds, three steals and two assists. Sarah Dente scored nine points and three rebounds, while Bette Bradley finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.

The B North division of the Shore Conference has Manasquan on top with a 5-0 divisional record followed by Red Bank Catholic at 5-1, Middletown North 3-2, Monmouth Regional 3-3, Wall 3-3, Middletown South 2-3, Long Branch 2-4 and Ocean at 0-7.

Bette Bradley (22) of Ocean Township scored eight points and pulled down 10 rebounds during the 38-33 loss to Monmouth Regional.

Leading the Spartans of Ocean in scoring was Morgan Bartlett (23) who had 10 points and eight rebounds during game against Monmouth Regional.

Sophia Penn (33) a junior at Monmouth Regional pulls down an offensive rebound and then goes back up for two.


Ocean dominates Wall and Shore By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

On January 10, the Spartans of Ocean Township hosted the Crimson Knights of Wall Township in a Shore Conference B North divisional wrestling match. It wasn’t much of a contest as the Spartans beat Wall 57-14.

Wall, which once had a program that was highly competitive with tough wrestlers, started off the night forfeiting the 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285 pound bouts to the Spartans. Before the first wrestler broke a sweat Ocean was up 30-0.

The first contested weight was 106-pounds and Ocean increased their lead as Demetri Poniros beat his opponent 7-1.

Wall Township had only three wins all night and their first occurred at 113 with Blake Tarnowski of Ocean losing 6-2. T

he first pin of the night occurred at 120 pounds. Williams Tisony of Ocean put his Wall challenger on his back at 2:18 of their match. Wall then forfeited the 126- and 132-pound matches to the Spartans. With an impressive 51-3 lead, Ocean had only four more matches to wrestle.

At 138 pounds Saif Ali of Ocean was down 5-0 after the first period of his match. However, the second and third periods were all Ali as he won 10-5.

The best match of the evening occurred at 145 pounds. Wall had Jake Kelly, who entered at 17-0 and ranked number eight in the state at that weight. Ocean had defending 138-pound NJSIAA state champion Jake Benner taking the mat. This season Benner is 12-1, wrestling at 145 and 152 pounds.

It was an exciting match as both wrestlers knew each other’s strengths and wrestled with caution. In the end, Benner handed Kelly his first loss of the season as the defending champion won 4-2.

If Benner stays at 138 pounds for the NJSIAA championships he could face the number one ranked wrestler in the country, Quinn Kinner of Kingsway. According to wrestling gurus, Kinner is considering dropping down to 132-pounds. The New Jersey Star Ledger has Benner ranked at number four in the state at 145 pounds. Wall Township scored the second pin of the night at 152 pounds.

Emerson Derose lost for Ocean at 5:55 of his match. The last bout was 160 pounds and Wall Township scored a 21-6 technical fall victory over Anthony Esposito.

In the B North division Ocean is 4-2 and sitting in third place. Long Branch is on top at 4-0 and in second is Middletown North at 3-1. Following the Spartans is Middletown South in fourth at 3-2, Manasquan in fifth at 0-2, Red Bank Catholic in sixth at 0-4 and in last place is Wall at 0-3.

Following that victory, the Spartans hosted the Blue Devils of Shore Regional on January 11, in a nondivisional match. The score was nearly identical as the Wall match, as the Spartans beat the Blue Devils 51-12. Following are the results of that match.

126 pounds, Jack Nies (OT) beat Al DeSantis (SR) 3-2

132,pounds, Alex Poniros (OT) won by forfeit

138,pounds, Michael McGhee (SR) beat Saif Ali (OT) 5-1 145,pounds, Jake Benner (OT) pinned Gabe Pesh at 1:01 152,pounds, Emerson Derose (OT) beat Jarret Weir (SR) 7-5

160,pounds, Anthony Esposito (OT) beat Ian Smith 6-0 170,pounds, Ryan Moran (OT) pinned Cade Torres (SR) 3:38

182 pounds, Brandon Tracey (OT) pinned Antonis Krousos (SR) 5:32

195 pounds, Tylor Sousa (SR) beat Dan Poniros (OT) 3-0

220 pounds, Mike Rosati (SR) beat Christian Wilson 11-6 285 pounds, Joseph Teresi (OT) pinned Balint Bogner (SR) 1:33

106 pounds, Jack Maida (SR) beat Demetri Poniros (OT) 8-4 113 pounds, William Tisony (OT) win by forfeit

120 pounds, Adam Manzo (OT) pinned Brad Smuro (SR) 0:59 Overall the Spartans are now 9-4, while Shore Regional is 2-0 in the Shore Conference B Central division and 9-3 overall.


During his 138-pound match Saif Ali of Ocean was down 5-0 after the first period and ended up beating Shane Golomb of Wall 10-5.

Only two pins were scored in the 57-14 win for Ocean Township over Wall. The first occurred at 120-pounds with William Tisony putting Mike Bruno of Wall on his back at 2:18 of their match.

Two of the best 145-pound wrestlers went head to head with Jake Benner of Ocean Township getting the 4-2 win over Jake Kelly of Wall Township


RBC co captain Josephine Larkins (5) makes a three pointer.

Sterns Trailer has chosen Red Bank Catholic’s Kathryn Rice as their Athlete of the Week.

Rice was high scorer with 18 points and seven rebounds in the 55-41 win over Immaculate Heart Academyto earn the NJSIAA Non-Public A championship.


Caseys trim IHA to win eighth NJSIAA title

By Jim Hintelmann

Jack Flaherty photos

With a veteran team returning, Red Bank Catholic girls basketball coach Joe Montano expected a successful season, and he wasn’t disappointed.


RBC (27-3), with one of its best teams ever, achieved a major goal Saturday when it won its 8th NJSIAA Non-Public A championship with a solid 55-41 win over Immaculate Heart Academy. It’s last championship was in 2013.

My three senior starters, (Josie Larkins, Maureen Coakley and Tia Montagne) fought back from injuries and it hasn’t been easy, but they persevered,”said Montano.


I don’t think it was our best game today,” he said. “It was a grind and a tough game, but IHA played very well. It’s the mark of a good team when you don’t play your best game and you still do what we did today. I thought that our kids a did a great job, especially in the second half.”


The win gives RBC the third seed in the Tournament of Champions, where it is scheduled to play Group I champion and sixth-seeded Bound Brook. The game was to have been played Tuesday but was postponed because of the blizzard.


Rutgers Prep, winners of 29 in a row, was top seed with Manasquan second. The Warriors earned the second seed because it beat RBC twice in the regular season, although only by a combined six points.


RBC trailed just twice at 2-0 and 4-2, and it was tied at 9-9 before RBC made its move, scoring 10 straight points to go in front to stay.


Larkins began it with a three-pointer and jumper, Hayley Moore dropped in a three-pointer and Amanda Hart closed it with a layup.


We we were eliminated by St. John Vianney in the quarter finals the past three years,” said Larkins, who will be playing at the University of Vermont next season.


We saw other teams win titles and we wanted to do it ourselves,” she said. “We’ve been at the other end the last three years and this was our last chance.


We trust each other and our coach believed in us,” Larkins said. “This was the first time that we believed it as much as he did.”


We wanted to get to the TOC this year and go all the way,” said junior Katie Rice, who was high scorer with 18 points and seven rebounds. “Our juniors and seniors are all a year older and it needed to be done this year.”


RBC had a 31-23 halftime lead and extended it to 13 points on a trey by Rice and a basket by Larkin. IHA never got closer than nine points thereafter.


RBC reached the finals with a 64-48 win over Paul VI (Haddonfield) in the semifinals as Larkins set the pace with 22 points.

RBC led from the start and moved out to a 38-23 advantage in the third quarter before PVI made a run and closed the gap to 41-34 early in the final quarter, but RBC converted 20 of 24 free throws thereafter to preserve the victory.


The only other loss for RBC this season was a 54-48 setback to SJV in the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament, but RBC avenged that setback with a 47-39 win over the Lancers in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. RBC also defeated SJV in a regular season game.

Fairytale run over for lady Devils

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

Photos by SportshotsWLB.Com

Last week the unbelievable run of the Shore Regional girls basketball team came to an end in the finals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 tournament with a 73-33 loss to top seed Bound Brook.

Shore entered the 16-team tournament as the 14 seed and started off facing the third seed squad from Middlesex. That was an exciting game as the Blue Devils had to battle back from a weak first quarter where they only scored two points. In the end they beat Middlesex 38-35 with Allie Reiser leading the way with 12 points and Emily Guo getting 10.

In the quarterfinals Shore then faced sixth seed Dunellen. This time they had an easier time and won 49-24. All eleven players that made it into the game for the Devils scored, and it was spread out as not a single player scored 10 or more points. Breanna Jackson was top scorer with nine points while Jaclyn Shapiro had seven and four players; Caitlin Donegan, Erin Rogers, Guo and Reiser each ahd six points.

In the semifinals the Devils faced the number two seed Metuchen and continued their storybook ride through the playoffs with a 50-35 victory. Jackson had a strong game netting 17 points while Guo, Reiser and Shaprio each scored eight.

Bound Brook had a rather easy trip to the finals. They beat sixteen seed Manville 70-26 to open the tournament. In the quarterfinals they crushed ninth seed Point Beach 72-19, and then faced fifth seed Riverside in the semifinals beating them 69-23.

Shore entered the tournament with less than 10 wins on the season, while Bound Brook was 10-0 in their Skyland-Mountain division and in 28 games only had three losses.

Bround Brook was very impressive with tremendous shooting and an aggressive full court pressure. During the win over the Blue Devils they had two 18-0 runs. They outscored Shore 25-8 in the first quarter, 20-7 in the second, 15-10 in the third and the final quarter 13-8. It was the second consecutive NJSIAA sectional title

Resier led all Blue Devils with 11 points in the loss. Shapiro finished with six and Brittany Sawyer scored five. Shore ends the season with a 2-10 record in the Shore Conference A Central division and 10-20 overall


Athlete of the Week

Sterns Trailer proudly pays tribute to Ocean Township High School wrestler Jake Benner as The Link News Athlete of the Week.

At the Region VI Championships this past weekend Benner not only won the 138-pound title with a pin, he also won his 100th career match.


He will be one of the favorites at the NJSIAA State Championships in Atlantic City


Jackson Memorial 50-33 over Ocean

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

Last week the Ocean boys basketball team hosted Jackson Memorial as their second to last regular season game. The game started off very competitive and the first quarter ended with Jackson Memorial holding a slight 18-12 lead over the Spartans.


The second quarter was much tighter on defense for both schools and Ocean had outscored their opponents 8-5. However, going into the halftime break Jackson Memorial was leading Ocean 23-20.

Ocean’s downfall occurred during the first eight minutes of the second half. Jackson Memorial outscored the Spartans 17-3 in the third quarter. Jack Miller was the only Ocean player to score and that was a three-point hoop.


In the fourth quarter both teams added 10 points to their totals. Jackson Memorial had enough in the tank to capture the 50-33 victory.


The Spartans didn’t have a single player score in double digits. Darius Brown and Andrew Seager both had nine points, Miller finished with eight and the only other Ocean player with points was Chris Vivian with seven.

Following the loss to Jackson Memorial the Spartans traveled to Donovan Catholic to close out their season. They put forward a better effort and beat Donovan Catholic 63-50. Seager was high man with 26 points, Miller scored 12, Vivian had 10, Brown 5, Tim McMahon and David Yatcilla each scored four and Luke Yates had two points.

Ocean plays in the Shore Conference B North division and finished 7-7 in the division and 16-9 overall. They also qualified for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 tournament. The Spartans were given the seven seed and will host the tenth seed Matawan in the opening round.