2011 Hoop Group Headquarters Spring League–Notebook

Asbury Park Recreation Finishes Undefeated While South River Goes Winless

NEPTUNE, NJ–On Monday, May 16th, the 2011 Hoop Group Headquarters Spring League ending with the traditional showcase round of games. There were 12 teams that competed in this league with most of them coming from the Shore Conference. Of those dozen teams, there were only four that sported a winning record including: Asbury Park Recreation, Neptune, Ocean Township, and Mansquan.

The lone GMC team that competed in the league, South River, finished up the spring without a victory, but made an important first step in getting ready for the 2011-12 season, which will be a challenge for them without the likes of Xavier Foster, Gavin Campbell, Tim Huff, Craig Huff, Nick Boyler, and Kyle Majewski, who are all graduating this June. The Rams have a few good pieces in place with the likes of Tyler Harris, Tim Dararr, and Erick Gomez returning next year, but they need to instill more of the little things in their game such as boxing out, drawing charges, getting back on defense, and just playing solid, smart basketball at both ends of the floor.

Another local team that drew some interest from the web site was the G-Force Stallions, led by former Bishop Ahr graduate, Rob Gomulka, who is now attending Monmouth Academy. Gomulka had some standout games for G-Force, but the Stallions were only able to get to .500 at 4-4. The Union County AAU team was one of four squads to finish at .500 in the league this spring. G-Force defeated the Tropics, Point Pleasant Boro (53-39), Marlboro (73-59), and Manasquan (54-50). In the victory over Manasquan, Gomulka pumped in 37 points while he scored 22 points against Marlboro. The Stallions lost tough ones to Neptune (48-38), St. Rose (31-30), and Middletown South (52-51) in addition to a showcase loss to Ocean Township.

Moving on to the rest of the competition, Asbury Park Recreation got off to a slow start as it didn’t compete in the very first week of play after taking a brief break from hoops following its appearance in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, but the Bishops made up for that by going through the competition at the Hoop Group Headquarters this spring en route to an 8-0 record. Among those wins was a Showcase Games round victory over Neptune, which had a 6-1 record entering the contest. Other victims this spring were: St. Rose, Middletown South (55-45), Ocean Township (54-51), Wall Township (57-51), South River (67-52), Manasquan (43-35), and the Tropics (60-53).

Two teams in this league finished at 6-2 including Ocean Township and Neptune, two squads from the Class B North Division of the Shore. Those two teams played head to head on April 25th with Neptune winning the contest by a slim two point margin (44-42). The Scarlet Fliers only lost to St. Rose (40-37) and Asbury Park Recreation. Besides defeating the Spartans, the home town team defeated Marlboro, G-Force, Middletown South (65-23), Wall Township (49-42), and South River (73-44). Meanwhile, the Spartans of Ocean Township, which finished 5-19 overall including a 1-10 mark in divisional play this past season, made some positive steps toward improving this spring.

The Group III school lost its only two games to perhaps the best two teams in the league in Asbury Park Recreation (54-51) and Neptune. Having six or seven more points this spring could have gotten the Spartans an undefeated record like Asbury Park Rec. The Spartans defeated Wall Township, South River (46-36), Tropics (49-44), Point Boro (52-32), Marlboro (48-38), and G-Force. The last team to have a winning season this spring was Manasquan with a 5-3 mark overall. The Warriors only lost to Asbury Park, G-Force, and Point Boro while defeating Wall Township (44-38), Marlboro (47-45), South River (42-27), St. Rose (52-35), and Middletown South. Rebuilding after having a fine campaign in 2009-10 that saw the school reach the semifinals of CJ Group II state tourney after winning it all in 2009, Manasquan had a tough go with the likes of Lakewood, Monsignor Donovan, and Point Boro in Class C Central. A solid spring is a positive step toward getting back to the elite in the Shore and Group II.

Besides G-Force, Middletown South, St. Rose, and the Tropics were all 4-4 this spring. The Eagles of Middletown South took a back seat to its crosstown rival, Middletown North, which earned the top seed in the Central Jersey Group IV tournament this past season, and reached the championship game despite some team turmoil towards the end. Returning to Class A North after spending some time in Class B North, the Eagles struggled against the likes of Middletown North, CBA, Howell, Manalapan, and Freehold Township. This spring though, the Eagles had some good moments, and some bad moments. The loss to Neptune on April 18th was the darkest hour of the season. However, Middletown South did battle back with victories in three of their last four games over Point Boro (61-57), Marlboro (54-53), and G-Force (52-51).

St. Rose was also .500 as they look to retool after another successful season in Class B Central with a 21-7 record including an 11-1 mark in divisional play against the likes of Asbury Park and Point Pleasant Beach. The Roses, which earned the top seed and reached the semifinals of the Non-Public B South State Tournament this past season, defeated Neptune, Tropics (74-71), G-Force, and the Tropics again in the showcase round.