He was mostly responsible for the greatest upset in the history of the Shore Conference Tournament Final.
That person was Rumson-Fair Haven junior guard Brendan Barry. The accomplishment was scoring 25 of his game-high 27 points in the second half. The result was No. 11 seed Rumson-Fair Haven, which was only playing in its second overall SCT Final, shocking No. 1 seed CBA, 50-24, to win the first SCT title in school history.
In that game, Barry shot 8-for-13 from the field, 3-for-5 from three-point range and 8-for-11 from the foul line. He also had six rebounds, two assists, one block, one steal and played all 32 minutes and only picked up one foul.
“It was just my teammates helping me and my coaches drawing up good plays,” Barry said. “It is really about my teammates setting some good screens and getting me the ball in the right spots.”
And it wasn’t just in the SCT Final. At multiple times this season, Barry simply took over a game and led the Bulldogs to victory.
There was that 19-point effort in a 54-43 victory over No. 3 seed Freehold Township in the SCT quarterfinals. And there was that record-setting day at the Boardwalk Hoop Group Showcase when Barry scored a Boardwalk Hoop Group Showcase-record 34 points as the Bulldogs defeated Point Beach, 57-42.
“Brendan Barry was a warrior and without him Rumson-Fair Haven does not win (any) titles this season. Every game we played, the opponent’s defense focused on him and that enabled us to win as a unit, five guys as one,” Rumson-Fair Haven coach Chris Champeau said. “And that’s what all these guys cared about and that was winning for each other. Brendan’s selfless attitude was the key to our success.”
That and Barry’s ability to average 22.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 4.3 steals per game. He also made a remarkable 103 three-pointers this season and shot 83 percent from the foul line. Barry was unique in that there were very few guards like him that filled up the statistics sheet while playing against tough competition this season.
“We have a saying at Rumson-Fair Haven and it is ‘humble and hungry’ and Brendan Barry epitomizes that mantra. He cares only about winning with his teammates but his work ethic and determination have put him in position to win the Asbury Park Press boys basketball player of the year award,” Champeau said. “He is the best player in the Shore Conference and we’re truly proud of him.”
And Barry still has one more year left of high school basketball. So there is still some time to add more banners to the gymnasium wall and more plaques to the school’s athletics trophy case.
“We’re going to come into next season with the same goals as we had this year,” Barry said. “We want to win the Class A Central division, we want to win the Shore Conference Tournament Final and we want to win an NJSIAA Central Group II title.”
The Bulldogs (24-5) went two-for-three on those goals in the 2014-2015 season with Barry fueling one of the best seasons in school history. It started with the Bulldogs winning a share (part of a three-way tie with Manasquan and Shore Regional) of the Class A Central division and then the Bulldogs followed Brendan Barry’s lead to the first boys basketball SCT title in school history.
Staff writer Sherlon Christie: email@example.com