Conference Teams Combine For Over .500 Record Entering Final Stage Of Season
EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ–On Monday, state tournament play began for 25 of the 31 teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference that qualified for the various tourneys categorized by school enrollment. As of the end of play, Wednesday night, the GMC has gone 9-9 against teams outside Middlesex County in state tourney play.
Entering the state tournament season, the 31 teams in the GMC had combined for an 82-76 record during the regular season against teams from other conferences. The conference is now 91-85, and has gone 22-16 since dropping to .500 in the middle of February. It has been an up and down, and streaky season for GMC schools against non-conference foes. The GMC began the year with 8 wins in its first 9 games, and then was clobbered over the holidays.
From that point on, the GMC schools have been on a roller coaster ride against teams outside of Middlesex County. For the most part though, the conference has held its own against many of the conferences in the Central Jersey area. Entering play on Thursday, the GMC is 4-3 against the Colonial Valley Conference, 23-22 versus the Skyland Conference, 10-10 against the Union County Conference, and 16-19 versus the Shore Conference. While the conference has not been dominant against schools from these other conferences, it has been able to hold its own.
A couple conferences that have done fairly well against the GMC this year have been the Burlington County Scholastic League, which has won 5 of 8 games against GMC schools, and the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic Association, which has won 6 of 9 against the GMC. Breaking down the 91-85 GMC non-conference record by division: The Gold is 32-19. The Red is 27-21. Blue Division is 20-17 while the White has struggled at 12-28. Teams that have done well against non-conference schools this season are: Perth Amboy Tech (8-1), St. Joseph’s (7-2), South River (7-3), East Brunswick Tech (6-2), Dunellen (4-0), Old Bridge (5-2), East Brunswick (5-2), Middlesex (3-0), Piscataway Tech (4-2), and Spotswood (3-1).
Here are video highlights from the 2013 GMCT Preliminary Round contest between 30th seeded Wardlaw, an upset winner over Timothy Christian in the play-in round, and 14th seeded Colonia. The Patriots trailed 9-6 in the first quarter before closing the opening half with a 17-6 tear for a 23-15 lead. Then, Colonia broke the game open in the third with a 24-4 showing to take a commanding 47-19 lead en route to a 56-32 win. Chase Barneys led the way with 14 points while Jodrell Thompson chipped in with 12, and Trent Barneys added 11. Justen Davis led Wardlaw in a losing cause with 14 points while Mike Newman chipped in with 8.
Here is a slideshow from some photos and video captures taken of the action in the 2013 GMCT Preliminary Round contest between 30th seeded Wardlaw, an upset winner over Timothy Christian in the play-in round, and 14th seeded Colonia. The Patriots trailed 9-6 in the first quarter before closing the opening half with a 17-6 tear for a 23-15 lead. Then, Colonia broke the game open in the third with a 24-4 showing to take a commanding 47-19 lead en route to a 56-32 win. Chase Barneys led the way with 14 points while Jodrell Thompson chipped in with 12, and Trent Barneys added 11. Justen Davis led Wardlaw in a losing cause with 14 points while Mike Newman chipped in with 8.
Third Quarter Spree Lifts Colonia Past Wardlaw, 56-32
COLONIA, NJ–After pulling off one of the big surprises in the early rounds of the 2013 GMCT, 30th seeded Wardlaw was looking to continue the magic against 14th seeded Colonia on Senior Night at CHS. For the Rams to do that, they would have to play 32 minutes of solid basketball.
In three of the four periods in this contest, Wardlaw played competitvely, only trailing by four points in those periods including a 13-9 showing in the final period. Unfortunately, by then, the game was already out of reach as Colonia blitzed the Rams with a 24-4 showing in the pivotal third frame that broke open a 23-15 game at half for a 47-19 lead en route to a 56-32 victory, and a date with third seeded North Brunswick at NBTHS on Friday afternoon at 4:00 PM.
One of the big keys in the game was three point shooting. The Patriots shot a blistering 8 of 13 from beyond the arc for 62 percent, and outscored the Rams by a 24-0 margin. Overall, Colonia shot 18 of 38 for 47 percent while Wardlaw shot 12 of 28 for 43 percent. At the foul line, the Patriots went 12 of 17 for 71 percent while Wardlaw shot 8 of 14 for 57 percent. Leading the way in victory for Colonia was freshman guard, Chase Barneys, who scored 14 points including 3 of 5 from three point land, and 5 of 8 from the foul line. Jodrell Thompson was 4 of 5 from the floor including 2 of 3 from long distance for 12 points. Trent Barneys chipped in with 11 points on 5 of 12 shooting.
Justen Davis led Wardlaw in a losing cause with 14 points as he connected on 6 of 10 shots from the floor, and made 2 of 3 at the line. Sophomore Mike Newman chipped in with 8 points on 3 of 4 shooting from the floor, and 2 of 4 from the foul line. The Rams got off to a good start as they got the first points of the game on a bucket by Davis, and then went on a 5-0 run that turned a 6-4 deficit into a 9-6 lead. Davis, who scored 7 points in the period, sparked the burst with a three point play, and then Newman capped it with a steal for a layup that forced Colonia to call timeout, and the Wardlaw bench to let out some emotion.
Following the timeout, Colonia took control for good by scoring the next 12 points from the end of the first to the middle of the second. Trent Barneys and Bleriot Thompson each got scores to end the period for a 10-9 Patriots lead, and then the Pats opened the second with the first eight points including a basket by Trent Barneys, a score by Dan Zalink, two free throws by Bleriot Thompson, and then a bucket by Chris Siletti for a 18-9 lead. Wardlaw finished the quarter with a 6-5 edge to narrow the deficit to eight at 23-15 going into the intermission, but would never get closer after that. Colonia exploded with its 24-4 surge in the third as the Pats connected on five threes including two by Chase Barneys.
From there, Colonia coasted to the easy win. Wardlaw did show some fight, especially in the first half, but turnovers proved costly as well as a lack of production from beyond the arc. The Rams also limited Colonia big man, Bleriot Thompson to just 7 points. In the three other Colonia games covered by GMC Hoops, the senior Patriot forward, has been a solid contributor by putting up either 16 or 18 points. After starting the season at 1-9, Colonia has won 7 of its last 12. The Pats are now 8-14 on the season while Wardlaw fell to 5-16 on the season.
Six Players From The Conference Among Top 25 Rebounding Averages In NJ
NEWARK, NJ–On Wednesday, the statewide rebounding leaders were posted on nj.com and in the Newark Star-Ledger, and six players from the Greater Middlesex Conference were on the list of the Top 25. St. Joseph’s Karl Towns had the highest rebounding average, followed by Jordan Little of Perth Amboy Tech, Sultan Aminu of Old Bridge, Chris Bourne of South Brunswick, Tyler Harris of South River, and Justen Davis of Wardlaw. Below is where they ranked in the state as well as the number of games played, total rebounds, and averages.
|Karl Towns||St. Joseph’s|
|Jordan Little||Perth Amboy Tech|
|Sultan Aminu||Old Bridge|
|Chris Bourne||South Brunswick|
|Tyler Harris||South River|
Stats again are courtesy of nj.com. Players must have played a minimum 13 games so far this season.
Good morning everyone. Here is the latest schedule for the GMC-Skyland Challenge set for today. GMC Hoops plans to be at Immaculata for the two games there, and then go over to Bound Brook to see Cardinal McCarrick take on the home town Crusaders.
At Bound Brook
Colonia vs. Warren Hills, 5:00 PM
Cardinal McCarrick vs. Bound Brook, 7:00 PM
At East Brunswick
Timothy Christian vs. Voorhees, 2:00 PM
Piscataway vs. Montgomery, 4:00 PM
Bridgewater vs. East Brunswick, 6:00 PM
South Brunswick vs. Hillsborough, 12:45 PM
North Brunswick vs. Franklin, 2:30 PM
Bishop Ahr vs. Pingry, 3:00 PM
Woodbridge vs. Immaculata, 5:00 PM
At North Plainfield
J.F. Kennedy vs. North Plainfield, 1:00 PM
South Hunterdon vs. Middlesex, 12:00 PM
Hunterdon Central vs. Monroe, 7:00 PM
At North Hunterdon
Edison vs. North Hunterdon, 1:30 PM
At Perth Amboy
Delaware Valley vs. Perth Amboy, 1:00 PM
Old Bridge vs. Phillipsburg, 2:30 PM
Carteret vs. Somerville, 2:00 PM
At South Amboy
Manville vs. South Amboy, 11:30 AM
Bernards vs. Spotswood, 1:30 PM
New Brunswick vs. Ridge, 2:30 PM
Sayreville vs. Watchung Hills, 7:00 PM
Carteret’s Win Over Spotswood Makes It A Three Team Scramble In Blue While Four Teams Separated By One Game In Gold
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ–Prior to the season, I had indicated that the Blue and Gold Divisions were going to be tough. With the additions of Piscataway Tech and South Plainfield in the Blue, and the exit of P-Way Tech from the Gold, competitive races were expected this year in these two divisions. So far the season hasn’t disappointed. At the midway point we have a three way tie in the GMC Blue, there are three teams separated by one game.
If there is any parity in the GMC, it lies in these two divisions mostly. For instance, of the seven games that were played on Wednesday, five of them were decided by single digits, and six were determined by 10 points or less. Oh, by the way, the sixth game, the one that was decided by ten points, went to overtime. South River needed an extra session to defeat Timothy Christian, 72-62.
Gold Division Free For All
Speaking of the Rams, they have come back from the dead in divisional play. After losing its first three league games, South River has battled back with victories over Wardlaw (57-36), East Brunswick Tech (78-44), Amboy Tech, and TCS. A big part of that was the play of Tyler Harris, who had a monster week in week four with 89 points in three games.
Besides the rally in the GMC Gold, the Rams also have beaten a very good Group I school from the Shore in Keansburg twice. First time was a come from behind overtime victory in the Genevieve Hawley Tournament Championship (73-71) at Henry Hudson Regional HS over the holidays, and the second time was last Saturday at home (79-77). Matt Martinez has also played very well for the Rams. He pumped in 27 points in the win over Timothy Christian, and had a double-double in the first win over Keansburg with 16 points and 10 assists. Martinez has a great handle, shoots the ball well, and plays with great confidence. He is probably the best point guard at South River since this site was launched in 2000.
Let’s not forget Sean Darrar, who was the hero in the first win over Keansburg. The younger Darrar scored all 11 of his points in the final 5:35 of the contest including three treys. One of the threes tied the game at the buzzer to force overtime, and then another was the game winning with 18.7 seconds remaining. Against East Brunswick Tech, South River opened the game with a 28-6 first quarter rampage that included five threes. Two of those treys were by Harris, who scored the first 9 points of the game for the Rams, and had 14 of the points in the period. He ended up with 22 in the first half, and 30 for the game. Another of the two treys came from Bobby Applegate, who can provide scoring from the perimeter as well as length on defense, and rebounding.
Back to the rest of the Gold Division, there is a lot more competitive balance this year with the departure of Piscataway Tech. For instance, even though Amboy Tech is 2-5 in the league, they have lost a number of close games including a one point loss at home to Dunellen, and overtime losses to Timothy Christian and East Brunswick Tech. They also suffered a loss to South Amboy without two top players in Agnel Etienne and Jonathan Sosa. Jordan Little is a solid player in the middle for the Pats while Kelvin Perez has been the most consistent. Wardlaw is also 2-5, but they have been a strange team.
The Rams have lost twice to Amboy Tech by four and defeated Dunellen. Wardlaw also lost by one in non-conference play to North 13th Street Tech of Newark in the Joe Silver Holiday Tournament. Justen Davis is a solid rebounding and scoring combination, who is closing in on 1,000 points. Noah Ganz gives the Rams some perimeter punch while Ish Menns and John Newman provide athleticism. Matt Rosado gives much needed experience at the point while John Pohopin gives additional scoring from the outside. East Brunswick Tech has struggled since a 2-0 start with six losses in its last 10 games. Mark Alston and Brett Carmen have been solid for the Tigers.
Moving up to the top half of the Gold, Dunellen, South Amboy, and Timothy Christian are all locked in a three way battle for first place at 5-2. The Guvs appeared to have control of the division late last week, but three straight single digit losses including one at the buzzer to Highland Park, have brought them back down to .500. Thankfully, South Amboy only has won loss in the division during this recent tough stretch, a 50-42 defeat at the hands of Dunellen on Wednesday. The Governors are led by a group of juniors that includes Steve Herdman, Joe Fruncillo, Nick Kales, and Dan Murphy. They also have sophomore Tim Kales and senior Matt Lavan in the rotation.
The Guvs could easily be 9-3 at least if it weren’t for tough crossover losses to Cardinal McCarrick (54-51 in OT on December 15th), Sayreville (54-46 on January 12th), and the buzzer beater to Highland Park. In all three games, South Amboy had the held including an 11 point advantage on McCarrick. If this group begins to figure out how to close out close games against these bigger schools from the upper divisions of the GMC, they could make a bit of a rumble in the county tournament. Herdman, who recently had his 37 consecutive game streak with at least one three pointer broken, came back the next game with four in the first period as the Guvs defeated Wardlaw, 60-38. Fruncillo has had game high in each of the last three games.
Despite losing two 1,000 point scorers in Dan “Triple” Decker and Kristian Svendsen to graduation, and another key player from last year’s team in Devon Johnson, who transferred to Edison this year, the Tigers of Timothy Christian are still a factor in the GMC Gold. Led by senior Jeff Parker and junior Brandon Summers, this edition of the Tigers are a solid shooting bunch that still play solid defense and great team ball. Trailing by four near the end of regulaton and in overtme at Amboy Tech last week, TCS found a way to win (54-51) as Summers came up with two scores to tie the game with a minute to go in overtime and Parker won it with a three from the left wing with 31.8 seconds to go.
Jarret Locke is a nice little playmaker, who was just a split second shy from winning the contest in regulation with a heave just inside halfcourt. He also had a runner that tied the contest. Mike DiLeo provides some additional scoring punch while reserve Zach Coyle helped the Tigers stay in front for a while in the third against the Patriots with a trey from the left wing. Evan Waldron clogs up the middle, and gives TCS some much needed size down low. Head coach Chris Hobbs has some help on the bench this year with an assistant, and that has helped him find ways to keep the Tigers in the hunt despite the turnover from last year.
Finally, we get to Dunellen, which could be the most intriguing team of all in this division. The Destroyers did take some hits to graduation by losing the likes of Sean Gibney and Jeff Puckett, but they still had a lot back this year with Deon Brown, Dylan Hoski, Matt Heidinger, Tony McGuane, and Orville Thompson. However, DHS has had some struggles that included losses to Wardlaw, Middlesex, and more recently, Timothy Christian. Keep in mind though that Dunellen has always gotten off to tough starts under head coach Bernie Buniak only to come on strong and either win or challenge for the division crown in late January and February.
Three Way Horse Race In GMC Blue
While four teams are in the hun in the Gold Division of the Greater Middlesex Conference, three teams are battling for first place in the Blue. Carteret moved into sole possession of first at 8-1 with a come from behind, 75-72 win over Spotswood on the road on Wednesday night. The Chargers, which came into the week undefeated in both division and conference play suffered two straight conference losses including a 74-59 defeat to North Brunswick at home on Monday night.
Tied with Spotswood, and only a half game back of Carteret in the standings is Piscataway Tech at 7-1. The Raiders rolled over Bishop Ahr, and have a tie breaker over Carteret thanks to a thrilling, 54-52 win on the road at CHS on January 4th. Spotswood defeated the Raiders at P-Way Tech to start the new year. Despite moving up a division, and losing the likes of Galen Smith, Khairi Mosely, and Mo Pierre to graduation and the likes of Will Joyce and Jalen Jackson to transfer, Piscataway Tech has managed to not only stay in contention, but get some early season quality wins on the road at Carteret and over Group IV schools, Passaic and Paterson Kennedy in the Jingle Bells Jubilee over the holidays.
Turell McClendon, Jordan Lackey, and Aziz Austin carry much of the load for PVT, but role players Robby Pierre, Inderpaul Pingahila, and Willie Patterson have contributed nicely as well. Head coach Karl Towns has also made some defensive adjustments, and now he is looking like a strong GMC Hoops Coach of the Year candidate. He may have mellowed a bit on the sideline as well, but he was very close to top form in the win over Carteret two weeks ago. Carteret also took some heavy losses to graduation by losing the likes of Avery Carter, Tanveer Dosanjh, Joe Nigro, and Kevin Van Dyke among others, but still had the likes of sophomores Jaquan Robertson and Brandon Gilder back along with senior Elijah Torres.
Younger brother Zach Torres has also contribued off the bench while newcomers Tyrell Lockley and Joe McRae provide athleticism and versatility. Forward Andrew Stam gives CHS some length and scoring ability from the perimeter. The team in the Blue with the most experience back is Spotswood. Even though the Chargers lost 1,000 point scorer, Tommy Soulias, who is now playing well at Kean, they had the likes of Jake Dadika, Dalonte Grant, Jamal Lewis, Corey Brown and Kevin Fox all back this year. In addition they have some solid newcomers such as freshmen Marlon Hart and Eric Dadika coming off the bench. Jake Dadika is one of the top scorers in the GMC this year whle Grant provides additional scoring punch to make this one of the best backcourts in the conference.
Lewis may be undersized, but his athletic ability and tenacity help him compensate for that as he has put up a number of double-digit scoring games recently including 18 in a victory over Bishop Ahr. Corey Brown brings his football toughness on the boards while scoring from either the perimeter or by going to the basket. Kevin Fox demonstrated a nice knack of perimeter shooting to help the Chargers put the game out of reach against BGA. Hart and the younger Dadika also find ways to contribute any way they can.
For a while, Bishop Ahr appeared to be a contender with five wins in six games after an opening night loss to Carteret, but since then, the Trojans have come back down to earth with three straight losses including an overtime defeat at Metuchen, and double digit setbacks to division frontrunners Spotswood and Piscataway Tech. The BGA was hit hard by graduation with all but two players graduating last June. However, head coach Dennis O’Keefe has a solid sophomore class headed by Tom Weiler, and a couple transfers from St. Joseph’s including Owen McLeod. Mike Jensen, one of the two holdovers from last year, has a knack for getting to the basket while Greg Patuto provides some scoring from the perimeter. Senior guard, Tom Duffy has the ability to make plays and score.
Like Ahr, Middlesex had also been playing well for a stretch before suffering several setbacks. Although the Blue Jays are presently hovering around the .500 mark, they look to be more improved this year, especially with Rutgers Prep transfer, Austin Bardaji in the lineup. Prior to Bardaji getting into the rotation, the Jays had won 5 of its first seven games with the only two losses to division contenders Bishop Ahr and Piscataway Tech. Middlesex also defeated Dunellen in a crossover for the 2012 Shello/Santy Christmas Tournament Championship. However, the Jays have stumbled as of late with losses to divsion heavyweights Spotswood and P-Way Tech before falling at home to JFK.
Speaking of the Mustangs, Kennedy is starting to play better. After a 1-4 start the Stangs have split their last six with wins over Metuchen, South Plainfield, and Middlesex while losing to Spotswood, Piscataway Tech, and Point Pleasant Boro. JFK suffered close defeats to Warren Hills (54-47) and Mater Dei (51-47) over the holidays at the Gene Haley Tournament in Edison. Head coach, Chris Banos was hit hard by graduation as he lost his entire starting lineup from last year, but he is not making excuses and hopes his young bunch that includes Kyle Alvarez, Darrin Perez, Mike Weinstein, and Joe Duffy will continue to grow.
Metuchen has struggled in the early going this season, but second year head coach, Jon Korellis pretty much had figured that. He felt his team would start playing better come January. The Bulldogs have only won three games this season, but two of them included the overtime win over Bishop Ahr and a solid win over Group IV Howell of the Shore Conference. Metuchen also gave Piscataway Tech some trouble before falling in overtime (57-51) in the first full week of the season. Artie Flaherty Jr. is playing much like his dad did when he scored over 2,000 points to become the all time leading scorer at the school in the early to mid-1980s. Tom Chalker continues to grow at the point while Brian Eustace, Hunter Clarke, Frank McGuire, and Evan Collier have contributed well.
South Plainfield, which looked to be one of the favorite’s in the division entering the season, conntinues to go through some growing pains under second year head coach, Justin Chiera. The Tigers have lost a ton of close games including to Perth Amboy (48-39 OT), Middlesex (60-53), J.F. Kennedy (57-52), Bishop Ahr (64-57), and Carteret (55-50). Claude Payne has been the bright spot for the Tigers with a solid consistent effort in the paint this season. Justin Glover has also had some solid games while youngsters Jordan Hankerson and Jason Lee have come up from the JV to make key contributions. SPHS has come up with some wins over Metuchen and Highland Park over the last week. Hopefully, they can use the recent successes to turn things around.
Finally, we have Highland Park, which has talent with the likes of football standouts, Nadre Hepburn, Jordan Long, and David Webb, but the Owls have not been able to get it to translate into more victories. HPHS does have a couple recent wins over neighborhood rival Metuchen and South Amboy to hang its hat on.
Here is a slideshow from photos and video captures from South Amboy’s 60-38 victory over Wardlaw in Gold Division action from early January 2013. The Guvs jumped out to a 21-9 lead over the first 10:37 of the contest as Steve Herdman fired in four first quarter threes. Justen Davis scored 8 of his 10 points in the second quarter including two three point plays to narrow the deficit to 26-19 at the half. However, the Guvs would not be denied as they opened the third with a 9-2 run including a hook shot by Tim Kales, and a layup and a three point play by Nick Kales for a 35-21 lead. The Guvs then opened the fourth with a 6-2 run including two free throws by Joe Fruncillo, baskets by Dan Murphy and Matt Lavan for a 48-28 lead en route to the 22 point victory. Herdman ended up with a game high 22 points while Nick Kales chipped in with 13 and brother Timmy added 9. Fruncillo also contributed with 8. Noah Ganz had 7 points including a four point play in the fourth for Wardlaw.
Here is a slideshow from photos and video captures from South Amboy’s 60-38 victory over Wardlaw in Gold Division action from early January 2013. The Guvs jumped out to a 21-9 lead over the first 10:37 of the contest as Steve Herdman fired in four first quarter threes. Justen Davis scored 8 of his 10 points in the second quarter including two three point plays to narrow the deficit to 26-19 at the half. However, the Guvs would not be denied as they opened the third with a 9-2 run including a basket by Joe Fruncillo, a score by Nick Kales, and a three by Herdman for a 35-21 lead, and then opened the fourth with a 6-2 run including baskets by Dan Murphy and Matt Lavan for a 48-28 lead en route to the 22 point victory. Herdman ended up with a game high 22 points while Nick Kales chipped in with 13 and brother Timmy added 9. Fruncillo also contributed with 8. Noah Ganz had 7 points including a four point play in the fourth for Wardlaw.
Now Have Rosters For All 31 GMC Teams
I’m still behind the eight ball on the rosters, but have made significant progress in the past couple days. Over the past two days, I’ve posted rosters from all the 31 schools in the Greater Middlesex Conference that play basketball. Below are the teams that we have rosters for.
2012-13 GMC Boys Basketball Rosters
- Bishop Ahr
- Cardinal McCarrick
- East Brunswick
- East Brunswick Tech
- Highland Park
- J.F. Kennedy
- J.P. Stevens
- New Brunswick
- North Brunswick
- Old Bridge
- Perth Amboy
- Perth Amboy Tech
- Piscataway Tech
- South Amboy
- South Brunswick
- South Plainfield
- South River
- St. Joseph’s
- Timothy Christian
If you have a roster for your team that is not posted on the site, please e-mail me at email@example.com.