Neptune wins round one with impressive win at CBA Colts lose to conference foe for first time since 1999

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first_img By doug mckenzie Staff Writer Neptune wins round one with impressive win at CBA Colts lose to conference foe for first time since 1999 VERONICA YANKOWSKI CBA senior Pat Discipola goes up for a shot over Neptune’s Robert Layton during the Colts’ loss to the top-ranked Scarlet Fliers in Middletown on Jan. 22. It had been almost two years since anyone from the Shore Conference had beaten the Christian Brothers Academy basketball team. The Colts’ domination of the Shore is well documented, and despite preseason prognostication that said otherwise, they were still considered by many to be the team to beat this year. After beating a talented Neptune High School team led by the dynamic Louisville-bound Tyquan Dean three times last year, the Middletown school’s team had to know that the Scarlet Fliers would be looking for revenge when they came to CBA’s gym Jan. 15. What they didn’t know was that this Neptune team had been anticipating this victory since the end of last year’s Shore Conference Tournament. “They beat us three times last year, and none of us forgot that when we came here,” Dean said after his team thoroughly dismantled CBA 48-28, by far the Colts’ worst loss in years. “I guess we got the monkey off our backs. But we’ll see them again, and we know they’ll be better next time.” As the top-ranked Fliers took the floor, the Colts’ student section welcomed them with their familiar chant of “overrated.” But it didn’t take long for the Shore’s top team to quiet the home crowd. Neptune struck first when junior guard Eugene Harris sank a basket to quiet the raucous CBA crowd. But Chris Kenny, who is headed for Monmouth University, West Long Branch, in the fall, got all the members of the standing-room-only crowd on their feet when he answered with a basket of his own. With both teams playing tenacious defense, the first quarter went quickly as both teams struggled to find good looks at the basket. Neptune, featuring a frenzied match-up zone, displayed the type of patience on defense needed to overcome CBA’s precise, backdoor-oriented offense. The Colts got few shots inside the paint, and when their outside shots missed, Neptune’s forwards were there to gather the defensive rebounds. CBA was not getting any second shots, which was troublesome given the poor quality of looks they were getting. On the other end, Neptune was struggling as well, as Kenny held Dean scoreless in the first quarter and the CBA guards did a nice job of containing the Scarlet Fliers’ quick point guard, Terrance Todd. At the end of the first quarter, Neptune held a 9-5 edge but walked off the court with the same swagger they brought into the building. Dean finally got on the board from the foul line at the 5:15 mark of the second quarter to give his team a 14-5 edge. CBA responded with their first basket of the second quarter at the 4:21 mark, and when Dean went to the bench for a breather, the Colts built a 6-0 run, bringing the score to 14-11 with 3:30 left in the half. After a timeout, the Colts came out in a zone of their own, which seemed to give the Fliers trouble. However, CBA’s inability to gather defensive rebounds began to hurt them, and Neptune went on a run to end the half at 22-11. The second half was more of the same, as Neptune continued to control the tempo of the game and dominated the boards at both ends of the floor. Marques Alston was particularly effective on the boards for Neptune, grabbing 12 rebounds, and scoring on several put-back chances. At the end of the third quarter, Neptune held a 33-20 lead, and with the way CBA was shooting the ball (to the tune of 22 percent), appeared poised to cruise to the win. In the fourth, Todd’s outstanding ball handling and game-high 11 points allowed Neptune to control the tempo once again, while CBA continued to struggle offensively. Neptune made nine of 10 free throws down the stretch to ice the win, as the CBA faithful looked at each other, not sure how to react. It had been a long time since a Shore Conference foe came into their building and dominated the Colts the way Neptune did. When it was over, Neptune celebrated their achievement, although to a player, the Scarlet Fliers insisted that they expected this result all along. “We know this is our year,” said Dean, who was held to 10 points, all from the foul line. “We came in here, played aggressive and got the win. We earned this.” And the win apparently did wonders for Neptune’s confidence, as evidenced by Saturday’s shocking upset of St. Anthony’s of Jersey City, the No. 2 team in the nation according to USA Today. The Colts will meet the Fliers again on Feb. 7 and potentially in the Shore Conference Tournament. Nobody would be surprised to see these two teams in the final of that tournament. For now, the Colts will concentrate on their next game but will likely keep last week’s Neptune game in the back of their minds. CBA is not used to losing like they did to Neptune, especially not in their own building. Next time around, it will be the Colts seeking redemption, and the Fliers will have to defend their deserved title as the team to beat.last_img

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