Point Beach boys earn return trip to Shore Conference Tournament final

Point Beach boys earn return trip to Shore Conference Tournament final


Point Beach boys earn return trip to Shore Conference Tournament final



Top-seeded Point Beach earned its second consecutive trip to the Shore Conference Tournament final on Wednesday night, defeating fourth-seeded Matawan 53-39 in a SCT semifinal at Brick Memorial High School.

After a slow offensive start from both teams, it was the Garnet Gulls (23-1) who pulled away in the second half. With high-caliber players like Matt Farrell, Noah Yates and Dom Uhl, so much of the time the story is the explosive offense of the Garnets Gulls, however it was the defense that would ultimately send them back to Monmouth University on Saturday for the SCT final.

Point Beach head coach Nick Catania watched as his team struggled against the 3-2 zone early in the game, falling behind the Huskies (19-4) 11-5 at the end of the first quarter. It seemed it was only a matter a time before shots were going to fall for Beach, but Catania knew his team would have to make up for their poor shooting start on the defensive end of the court.

“That’s the first thing on our board on our keys to the game all year,” Catania said.

“We want to defend and rebound and we did that tonight, that’s something that is going to help you win in these types of environments.”

After falling behind 11-5 after one, the Garnet Gulls came out with the defensive intensity that Catania was looking for. They held the Huskies to just two points in the second quarter and took a 15-13 lead into the half. Jason Dunne got off to a hot start for the Huskies in the first quarter with 8 points, but was limited to just 7 more points in the second half. Along with contesting shots from Joe Piscopo, Beach also wanted to key in on Matawan’s Chris Tawiah.

“I know he is their leading scorer, but he is more of their X-factor,” Catania said.

“We knew we had to limit him, but all those kids can hit shots and they did in the first.”

The Garnet Gulls were able to limit Tawiah to just six total points, all coming in the second half. Along with their tough defense, Beach went an impressive 16-for-17 from the foul line as a team in the fourth quarter.

“We are pretty good from the line, but I don’t think we have ever shot like that in the fourth,” Catania said.

“We made up for our bad perimeter shooting, with what we were able to do from the line.”

Farrell finished with 11 points and went 8 of 8 from the line, and Uhl was able to get going in the second half where he scored all of his team-high 14 points. Yates also finished with 11 points for Garnet Gulls.

“I thought he (Uhl) came out a little flat again today, and I took him out and talked to him,” Catania said.

“To his credit he responded and was huge on the glass, and really helped us win this game.”

After falling to Lakewood in last year’s SCT final, Point Beach will have another shot at the title. They will meet CBA, which defeated Lakewood 57-47, in the other SCT semifinal game.

Farrell and company hope to come out with a better start on Saturday, focusing more on sharing the basketball.

“We were forcing a lot of one-on-one stuff in the first half,” Farrell said.

“Once everybody starts getting involved, we really get rolling as a team.”

Point Beach has never won a Shore Conference Tournament, but this year they are expected to win as the top seed. Something that Farrell and his teammates aren’t focused on heading into Saturday, with last year still fresh on the mind.

“Last year still hurts,” Farrell said.

“We are going to go out there and just play our game, we will be ready to go come Saturday.


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