The Toms River South boys basketball team is on a roll.
The Indians opened their regular season with a 53-51 Shore Conference Class A South win over Lacey, prevailing on a buzzer-beating layup by junior Tymere Berry in regulation last Friday night. The winners wiped out a 12-point deficit in the final four minutes of the game.
On Thursday, the Indians took their high-wire act to the Pine Belt Arena, home of the 30th annual WOBM Christmas Classic quarterfinals. The third-seeded Indians rallied for a 64-61 victory over No. 11 Monsignor Donovan for their third win of the season.
South trailed by as many as 10 second-half points. The Indians swung in front to stay 56-53 with 5:57 to play in the fourth quarter on a trey from the top of the circle by senior Marquis Davis, who scored 14 points.
Donovan shaved its deficit to 62-61 with on a driving jumper in the lane by senior guard Kyle Carrington with 22.7 seconds to go. South junior Francis Hearn bucketed a layup in transition for a 64-61 lead with 17.2 seconds to play.
Carrington was fouled on a 3-pointer from the right wing with 6.7 seconds remaining. Carrington missed each free throw and the Indians held on for the win.
Winning coach John MacIntosh said experience and team unity help the Indians close out games.
“We return four starters from last year’s team in (junior) Kahleel Green, Berry, (senior Darius) Hart and Davis,” MacIntosh said. “They are close friends. They have a good work ethic. They don’t quit. They have a lot of heart.”
Donovan’s lead mushroomed to 51-41 with 2:06 left in the third quarter on a free throw by senior guard Eamonn Kearney. The Indians answered with a 12-0 avalanche.
Green, who scored a game-high 19, ignited the explosion with a three-point play, trimming the deficit to 51-44 with 1:33 remaining. Green hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with one minute left to pull the Indians to within 51-47.
Green canned a 3-pointer from the left wing with 38.4 left to slice the lead to 51-50. Berry capped the spree with a 3 from the right wing, putting South in front 53-51 with 10 seconds remaining.
“We can handle pressure,” Davis said. “It’s a matter of catch and shoot, catch and shoot. This game was a gut check. Catch and attack. Catch and attack. I definitely feel pretty good about us. Our town has not seen a team like us. We’ve got to keep coming on.”
Carrington and Sean Suskevich paced the Griffins (2-1) with 12 points each.
Toms River South will go against Manchester in the semifinals 6:15 p.m. Saturday.
FREEHOLD TWP. 75, RB CATHOLIC 65: Junior guard-forward Tyree Wilson’s 16 points, senior forward-guard Chris Talbott’s 12 and senior forward Mike Alexander’s 11 propelled the No. 5 Patriots (3-0) past the No. 4 Caseys (1-2).
The Patriots opened a 38-31 halftime lead as Wilson and Talbott scored nine points each. Talbott scored seven in the first quarter. The winners took a 53-46 lead into the final quarter. Wilson and senior guard Jordan McGill scored four each in the third quarter.
The Patriots fended off the Caseys in the fourth quarter behind four each from junior guard Jason Czajkowski, junior forward Dan Saunders, Talbott and Alexander.
Senior center Quenton Nelson paced the Caseys with 14 points, including eight in the first half. Sophomore guard Ed Hahn added 13, including nine in the fourth quarter.
Freehold Township will play Jackson Memorial in the semifinals 8 p.m. Saturday.
JACKSON MEMORIAL 53, POINT BORO 42: Junior forward Jesse Hill scored 18 and senior forward-center Eric Carter added 16 for the No. 1 Jaguars (3-0) in their win over the No. 9 Panthers (1-2).
Jackson Memorial, paced by Hill’s nine points, took a 14-9 first-quarter lead. Carter scored five in the second quarter as the Jaguars went ahead 21-20. The Jaguars pushed their lead to 36-27 in the third quarter as Carter netted six points.
Sophomore forward Peyton Wejnert led the Panthers with 23 points, including 14 in the second half, nine in the fourth quarter.
MANCHESTER 74, EAST 56: Placing five scorers in double figures, the seventh-seeded Hawks (2-1) beat the No. 15 Raiders (2-1).
Senior guard KaShaun Barnes netted 22. Sophomore forward Israel Almestica scored 15. Senior guard Darius Barlow bucketed 13. Sophomore guards Shavar Reynolds and Jordan Torney scored 12 points each.
The Hawks sped to a 9-0 first-quarter lead. Reynolds scored the first five, netting a 3-pointrer, a free throw and a jumper for a 6-0 lead with 6:31 to go. Barlow capped the run with a 3-pointer with 5:03 to go.
Manchester sped to a 32-16 first-half lead as Barnes hit for 10 points while Reynolds scored nine. The Hawks led 68-41 with 2:10 left in the game on a Torney layup.
Senior guard C.J. Hirschy led East with 22 points.