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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / May 28.
  • St. Anthony’s Extends Winning Streak to 41, Beats Ranney School’s Duo

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    By DENNIS CHAMBERS

    MIDDLETOWN, N.J. — In a game where the hype was all about the superstar sophomore duo for the Ranney School, it was a sophomore from St. Anthony who made the biggest play of the night.

    Sophomore guard Alexander Rice – the son of Monmouth head coach King Rice – hit the game-winning three point basket with four seconds left on the clock to propel Bob Hurley and St. Anthony’s to a 51-48 victory Tuesday night in the Hoop Group Showcase at Brookdale Community College.

    Ranney couldn’t get a shot off in the final seconds, so Rice’s shot brought the Friars’ consecutive win streak to 41 games, with the last loss taking place on March 14, 2015 to an Isaiah Briscoe-led Roselle Catholic squad.

    Howard-bound guard R.J. Cole added 18 points for St. Anthony’s (9-0), which will look to extend their winning streak to 42 games when they match up with arch-rival The Patrick School on Saturday at 5:45 p.m. as part of the Dan Finn Classic in Jersey City.

    The opposing elite talent this time – Ranney’s Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis – certainly received more buzz entering the contest, but Rice wanted to remind his classmates that he can play, too.

    “They get a lot of hype,” Rice said about the Ranney duo after the game. “But I think I’m just as good of a player, so I just want to show that I’m just as good as them and can play with anybody.”

    Playing with anybody would be putting it lightly when describing Rice’s performance Tuesday night. He led all scorers with 24 points, making five three-pointers, including the game-winner, en route to MVP of the game honors.

    Since Rice is from West Long Branch, he was able to have a little homecourt advantage of his own. King Rice waited outside the St. Anthony’s locker room to congratulate his son.

    “It was really cool because I had a lot of family and friends here, all here to support me,” Rice said. “They finally got to see me play, a lot of people were excited to see me play and stuff. It was good to play close to home.”

    While Alexander hit the game’s biggest shot, Antoine and Lewis were as good as advertised. Antoine registered 19 points and four steals to capture MVP honors himself, while Lewis nearly recorded a triple-double to the tune of 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks.

    Hurley was impressed with what he saw from the young guards.

    “The young talent is extraordinary,” Hurley said. “I told Tahj (Holden) after the game, if they could just manage the daily process of getting better, and setting goals that are goals they have to attain, and not fall victim to the talent they’re showing right now, boy they could be good, both of them.”

    Even without coming away victorious against a team like St. Anthony’s, Lewis was able to take a moral victory from Ranney’s showing.

    “We can compete,” Lewis said about matching up with the Friars. “We can play with anyone … We all wanted the same goal and I think that’s why we stayed in the game with them. That’s why we took some leads and they took some leads.”

    Losses and rankings in Tuesday’s matchup had very little impact on Antoine’s feeling about his team.

    “We’re a very good team,” Antoine said. “We’re ranked eleventh in the state but that doesn’t mean anything to me. We just went out there and played our hardest.”

     

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