By Jim Hintelmann
MIDDLETOWN – With his team in a bit of a rebuilding year following a 10-11 season, Mater Dei Prep boys basketball coach Bob Klatt believes he is seeing some progress after the Seraphs’ impressive 60-37 B-Division Central romp over shorthanded Asbury Park.
“We have a mixed team with three senior starters in Sam Miles, Jordan Owens and Matt Eckert,” said Klatt, whose team came back from a tough 50-49 loss to Keyport the previous game.
“We also have a freshman starter in Eddie Lewis and think that we will keep getting better,” he said. “We missed a lot of free throws in the Keyport game, but played excellent defense tonight.”
Winless Asbury Park (0-5), which is traditionally strong in basketball, has been having a rough season and suited up only seven players for the Friday, Jan. 10 game. There also were only seven on the junior varsity team.
Mater Dei started slowly and led only 12-9 after the first quarter. The Asbury Blue Bishops managed to go in front, 13-12, on two foul shots by Makal Fearon early in the second period.
“We were a little flat,” Klatt said. “We missed our first five layups in the first quarter, but played better after that. We wanted to pressure them a lot and play good man-to-man defense.”
Mater Dei (3-2), led by Miles and Lewis, began to pull away in the second period by scoring nine straight points to go up 21-13, and followed with a 10-3 run to extend its lead to 31-16 at the half.
The Seraphs kept the pressure on in the second half and built up its biggest lead of the game, 49-20, before reserves finished up.
Miles, who scored a game high 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out six assists, is a three-sport standout. Playing fullback and linebacker, he helped Mater Dei in its best football season (6-5) in years. Miles, who hasn’t picked a college yet, also plays baseball. He is averaging close to 14 points per game.
“Miles has great athletic ability and wants to compete no matter what the situation,” Klatt said. “Lewis also is very athletic, but still has a lot to learn since he is only a freshman.”
Klatt is also looking forward to the return of senior C.J. Williams soon.
“He tore his ACL during the summer,” the coach said. “He should help us when he gets back.”