Young team may not make Shore Conf. tourney BY DOUG McKENZIE Correspondent With a young team that starts five underclassmen, Mater Dei boys basketball coach Bob Klatt expected his team to suffer from some growing pains this year. But the veteran coach (now in his 12th year) admits that even he is a bit surprised at just how frustrating this season has been to this point. “We lost seven games by a total of 20 points,” he said. “We’ve been right there in just about every game we’ve played, and have been leading in a lot of those games before finding ways to fall apart in the end.” The result is a 6-10 season that will leave the Seraphs on the outside looking in of the upcoming state tournament. “Our goal was to make the (postseason) tournaments, but we didn’t make the state tournament,” Klatt said. “We lost on Thursday at Keyport when their kid hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. “We still have an outside shot at making the Shore Conference Tournament, but there’s very little room for error.” The cutoff for the SCT is Feb. 10, which means the Seraphs will need to play nearperfect basketball over the next couple of weeks to get back to the .500 mark. And while Klatt knows his team is capable, he also realizes that his players need to develop that killer instinct needed to win the tight games. “I thought we’d have some growing pains this year, but not as many as we’ve had,” he said. “We’ve just been missing too many open shots down the stretch and not making our free throws when we need them. We had Rumson-Fair Haven beat but missed three front ends on one-andones in the final minutes.” The strength of the Mater Dei team has been its backcourt, where a pair of sophomores, Glenn Holik and Chris Jetter, has emerged as the team’s top offensive weapons. “Glenn is scoring about 15 points a game, and Chris is at about 14,” the coach said. “Those two have been carrying us all year.” The frontcourt is made up of three juniors – Dan Treubig, Nick Kelleher and Pat O’Boyle. O’Boyle is the tallest of the three at 6-foot-1. Sophomores Mike Gallo and Mike Glenn also see quite a bit of playing time, as do the team’s only seniors, Justin Vega and Jeremy Wedick. While the Seraphs’ record is a bit disappointing to Klatt, he is not at all disappointed with his team’s effort. “They come to play every day,” he said. “They definitely bring it everyday, andwe’ve been in every game but three this year.” And that paints a rosy picture for the future of this program. “We’ve got seven guys coming back next year, so we think next year’s going to be a big year for us,” Klatt said. “These kids are starting to realize how fast this game is and they’re getting better.” If the Seraphs are to qualify for the SCT, they’re certainly going to have to earn it. This week alone, they face the two top teams in the Shore’s Class B Central Division in Asbury Park (Monday) and St. Rose (Thursday). “It’s not going to get any easier for us, that’s for sure,” Klatt said. Then again, nothing’s come easy to this team all season. Notes… While the SCT cutoff is Feb. 10, the state tournament cutoff is this Saturday; meaning teams must have a .500 record by the end of the day to be eligible. The SCT is slated to begin on Feb. 13 at the home of the higher seeds, while the state tournament will start on Feb. 25. It’s beginning to look like a quiet postseason locally, at least for the boys. Entering the week’s action, only CBA (13-5), Middletown South (13-4) and Keyport appear to be locks for either postseason tournament, while Holmdel, at 6-9, still has an outside shot at qualifying for the SCT. In addition, both CBA and Middletown South are still in the hunt for the A North title, with the Colts trailing division-leader Freehold Township by one game, and theEagles down two in the loss column. On the girls side, local teams are having more success, starting with St. John Viannney, who at 14-3 looks like the frontrunner for the top seed in the SCT. The Lancers could run the table on the rest of their schedule, making them a solid pick as the team to beat in the Shore. Raritan and Middletown South are also enjoying strong seasons, with the Rockets entering the week at 10-4, and the Eagles playing to a 10-3 mark. Both teams will play in both the state and Shore Conference tournaments. Mater Dei’s girls are also looking like a postseason team at 8-5, as is Keyport (9- 6). Meanwhile, the Holmdel girls have some work to do if they hope to qualify for the postseason, entering the week at 6-9.