In an afternoon battle between two schools that carry the name “Point Pleasant”, Point Beach took advantage of Point Boro turnovers to defend their home court with a win. The Gulls beat the Panthers by a score of 59-52 on their home court.
Point Boro took the lead early in the game only to find themselves trailing 10-7 halfway throughout the first quarter. Jimmy Panzini and Alex Mrusak were productive for the Gulls in this game. In the first quarter alone, both Mrusak and Panzini contributed with huge baskets to set the tone in this game. Mrusak would convert on a layup in the first quarter staking the Gulls to the 12-7 lead as Point Boro called timeout. Point Beach would eventually take a 10 point lead to end the 1st quarter as Jimmy Panzini connected on a three-pointer to make the score 17-7.
Point Beach would also get a big game from Mike Rice. Rice and Panzini exchanged three-pointers in the second quarter. This allowed Point Beach to take a 23-11 lead midway through the second. The Gulls knew that Point Boro would be looking to take the inside game away from the Gulls with Mrusak being so pivotal through this point. However, this opened the Gulls outside shooting.
Thus, both Panzini and Mike Rice were able to launch uncontested three-pointers. John Duda was a presence for the Panthers throughout the entire game and began to show his importance to this Panther team. However, Point Boro would turn the ball over multiple times before halftime and Point Beach took advantage for what was a 32-17 halftime lead for the Point Beach Garnet Gulls.
Jimmy Panzini would finish the half with 12 points. Nearly half of his points came in the 1st half of the game as he would finish with 21 overall. Mike Rice would score all of his first half points in the second quarter; scoring 9 points in the 1st half altogether.
The one thing about this rivalry which is certain is that both teams will never quit. This is exactly what happened in the second half as Point Boro was able to trim the deficit to 44-38 in the third quarter. The rally was capped by a Pat Feehan three-pointer. Point Boro would never give up especially as it got later into the game. Mike Licchio and Devon Dragon would also begin to become factors in the game as Licchio became the post presence the Panthers needed.
Dragon was big for the Panthers, contributing with a huge jumper as Point Boro attempted to get even. However, the theme to this game continued to be turnovers. Point Beach was able to capitalize on another Mike Rice three-pointer to keep the lead at 7. Point Beach would take a 47-40 lead into the 4th quarter. Point Boro was gaining momentum as they were able to get the score down to 4 points in the quarter.
Jeff Maves would eventually get the score back down to 48-43. With only a few minutes taken off the clock in the 4th, Point Boro was still in favorable position to tie or take the lead. In fact Matt VanNostrand would go to the line to get the game down to three points. However, the game would shortly switch completely in favor of the Garnet Gulls. Point Beach would go on a 7-3 run to end the game.
Panzini was the leading scorer for the Gulls with 6 points in the quarter. Danny Frauenheim was also a key factor for the Gulls in the 4th quarter. He was able to hit two huge free-throws as Point Boro was looking to get the ball back with under a minute to go in the game. Even through the Gulls only scored 12 Points in the final quarter of the game, it was enough for them to come away with the close 59-52 victory over the Panthers of Point Boro.
I was able to catch up with Jimmy Panzini, Coach Catania, and Mike Rice after the game.
On the victory coach Catania said ” It was a good game, our athletic directors wanted to bring the game back and it was great for our community”. He also talked about Jimmy Panzini’s leadership saying “He wants to go out a winner and today he showed it”.
Mike Rice addressed his teams win saying “It felt good, it was a great win. Everyone was talking about it because it was Boro-Beach and although we slipped up a bit we kept our composure”. Panzini talked about this teams evolution throughout the season. “We are a young team coming up and I think we did a great job stepping up. Me and Mike had to step up today and I think we did a good job”.
The Gulls will try to keep the momentum going as they will finish up the season over the next couple of weeks. In addition, they look to use the confidence that derived from todays win as the Gulls enter the Shore Conference Tournament.