Holmdel, N.J. - There were contributions all around in its victory over Raritan on Tuesday night for the Holmdel High School boys basketball team. Holding its opponent to under 40 points for the second straight game, the Hornets picked up its fifth Shore Conference A-Central Division win of the season with a 56-38 victory in front of its hometown crowd.
“This was a big win for us,” said Holmdel boys basketball coach Sean Devaney. “Raritan is a good team. The score doesn’t show how tough of a game it was to win. Big division win for us.”
Three forced turnovers early in the first quarter helped get the Hornets rolling to begin the contest, earning an 11-2 edge with 3:12 left to play in the quarter after Aidan Flanagan banged in his first of three three-pointers of the night from the left wing.
Flanagan scored nine points in the first half for the Hornets.
Raritan got back on track after the timeout, finishing the quarter on an 8-2 run to cut the Holmdel lead to 13-10.
Holmdel was able to extend its lead in the second quarter with strong plays from Alex Baker and Jack Giamanco off the bench.
Both players knocked in two baskets in the quarter, which included Baker handing off the rock to Giamanco, who rolled to the basket for the nifty lay up to put Holmdel up 22-16 with under 1:50 to play till halftime.
“We love that dribble handoff,” Baker said. “We work on it a lot in practice. I trust anyone of my teammates who I pass it to or screen for that they’re going to make a successful play with the ball.”
Baker also assisted Giamanco’s first basket of the game in the quarter.
Flanagan’s second three-pointer of the half helped Holmdel take a 25-18 lead into halftime.
The three-point ball was a big part in Holmdel extending its lead in the third quarter, starting with Eric Hinds knocking down his first basket of the night from downtown to put Holmdel up 30-21 with just over two minutes into the second half.
Moments later, Flanagan extended the Holmdel lead into double-digits, receiving a pass from John Curreri from a couple feet behind the arch and splashing in his third three-pointer of the game to put the Hornets up 35-24.
Flanagan finished with a game-high 14 points in the win.
“My teammates helped me get some open looks and I was able to knock down some shots,” Flanagan said. “The ball went in for me tonight. It was a good all-around effort from our team to get the win.”
Hinds hit his second three-pointer of the night on the next possession to extend the Holmdel lead to 14 and then knocked in a layup shortly afterwards to gain eight points for the quarter and help give the Hornets a commanding 40-24 lead.
Holmdel led 40-26 going into the fourth quarter, where Baker again stepped up big for the Hornets to help them seal up the win.
Off a nice feed from teammate Cameron LaMountain, Baker knocked home his third basket of the night to extend the Holmdel lead to 42-28 with 6:10 left to play.
Baked knocked in another basket to help Holmdel gain a 50-32 lead with 3:24 left to play. The sophomore went on to go a perfect four-for-four at the free-throw line down the stretch to give him 8 points for the quarter and 12 points for the game to help the Hornets close out the win.
“It felt great to come in and make an impact,” Baker said. “I feel great. I’m happy to be able to help the team. Happy to get a couple lucky rolls on my free throws.”
Holmdel went 10-of-11 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to lock down its sixth win of the season.
Giamanco and Curreri each finished with six points in the win for Holmdel.
Tim Hayes and Tyrese Bryant each scored a team-high 11 points for Raritan in the loss.
Holmdel has held its opponents to 42 points or less in each of its six wins this season. In five of those wins, Holmdel held its opponents to under 40 points.
“We have to defend if we want to give ourselves a chance to win,” Devaney said. “We’re not a high scoring team. We put a lot of work into being a good defensive team. These wins show that the work our kids are putting in is paying off.”
Holmdel is now 6-7 on the season and are now on a two-game winning streak.
The Hornets will look to make it three wins in a row when they square off against Manasquan on Thursday.
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports