Long Branch’s Joey Jasio pinned Wall’s Tim McGenna at 3:01 in their 220 lbs bout. Long Branch vs Wall Wrestling on January 10, 2015. Peter Ackerman/Staff Photographer
WALL – Long Branch coach Dan George knows he and his team can never get the 2014 NJSIAA Central Group III championship match loss to Wall back.
However, Saturday morning, the Green Wave could take satisfaction that their come-from-behind 32-28 win over Wall was a major step toward winning the Shore Conference Class B North championship for the third consecutive season.
“Of course, we felt like we let one get away in the sectional last year (Wall won the match 33-26 with the aid of a Long Branch wrestler being disqualified for a slam at 145 in which he was on his way to a win by at least a major decision),” George said. “Our kids feel that way. It still resonates with our guys. It just does
If the two teams meet again in either the Shore Conference Tournament of the NJSIAA Group III semifinal or championship match, Wall will feel it has a chance to reverse Saturday’s result because it hopes standout junior 170-pounder Brett Donner is in the lineup.
Donner, the state third-place finisher at 160 last year, has not wrestled yet this season because of a high ankle sprain.
He weighed in and warmed up behind the Wall bench before the 170-pound and 182-pound bouts, Saturday morning, but Wall coach Brian Fischer said Donner knew before the match he was was not going to wrestle. Fishcer said Donner warmed up to make Long Branch wonder if he was going to wrestle or not.
“I just look at down road. If he’s not ready to go for right now and it (having him wrestle now) might hinder down the road. I’ve got to look at the bigger picture,” Fischer said. “If we happen not to win the division now, and we still have an opportunity to do something in the states as a team, I’d rather have that bullet in my holster.
Fishcer said Donner is about 70 percent and that there is no target date for his return. He said the doctors have to see how Donner feels every time he works hard during a practice session.
“We’ve got to figure it out. How does he feel immediately after practice? How does he feel an hour after practice? And how does he feel the next day. Then, we’re going to make decisions based on that,” Fischer said. He’s not ready yet, and that’s the bottom line.”
Long Branch took advantage of Donner’s absence by pinning at 170 and winning at 182. Those wins began an 18-4 run from 170-heavyweight that erased an 18-8 deficit after seven bouts.
George said he was confident junior 170-pounder Lamont Reid (13-3) would limit the damage if he wrestled Donner. And if Donner did not wrestle, he wanted to get Reid on senior Nick Iezzi (5-5).
Reid hit a five-point move in the first period and then reversed Iezzi and pinned him with 50 seconds left in the bout. The pin pulled Long Branch within 18-14 and helped eliminate the sting of getting pinned at 132 in a bout that was 2-2 in the third period and losing a double overtime bout at 138.
“Lamont is athletic. He spins and moves. He’s good,” George said.
Peter Wersinger (5-7) followed Reid by defeating Kyle Dallicardillo 9-3 at 182. Wersinger broke a 3-3 tie with a five-point move in the final seven seconds. A penalty point assessed against Dallicarillo accounted for the final score.
“I’m at peace with our guys,” George said. “We’re blue-collar. We fight and scramble.”
Joey Jasio, wrestling at 220 for the first time this season, put the Green Wave ahead for good at 23-22 with a pin with 59 seconds left in the second period.
“He’s been our unsung hero so far,” George said.
A 3-2 win by John Tomlinson (heavyweight) in his first bout of the season and a pin by Justin Sabo (106) clinched the match for Long Branch with a bout left. The Green Wave then forfeited at 113.
With Jasio at 220, Tomlinson in the lineup and Tommy Flannigan weighing in at 138 for the first time this season, Long Branch finally has its lineup settled.
George said sophomore Austin Cannon and senior Grant Brown, who were going to wrestle in the 145-152 area are both no longer on the team.
“I’ve got 50 kids in the room. Program has never been stronger,” George said.
Steven Falk: 732-643-4267; email@example.com