EDISON, NJ–The fourth week of action took place at the second annual and 2007 TBSA Fall League on Sunday evening at The Basketball Shooting Academy facility on Carter Avenue in Edison. On this night, the top teams in the GMC came to play as St. Joseph’s battled undefeated Trenton at 7:00 PM while Colonia took on another unbeaten team in Bridgewater, and Piscataway faced off against Roselle Catholic. In the end, it turned out to be quite a night for those GMC teams as all three won. St. Joseph’s, which entered the game with its only loss on the fall coming at the hands of Elizabeth, played without the services of sophomore guard, Steve Rennard, who rolled his ankle at the Top 100 being played at FDU this weekend, and senior forward, Paul Konopacki.
Nevertheless, the Falcons used the talent of its deep bench including the likes of a number of other talented sophomores including Dhaliwal Gaganjot, and Mark Bauer along with the experience of Gerard Lewis, Nikko Vastola, and Steve Brandenberg to pull out a hard fought, 56-49 win over Trenton. Afterward, on the same court, Colonia, a team that played with just five players the entire game, scrapped with Bridgewater to a 19-19 tie at halftime, and then broke away with a 32-17 surge in the second half for the 51-36 win as Brandon Hall spearheaded the charge. Simultaneously on Court #3, Piscataway led 14-13 with less than four minutes to go in the first half, but closed the period with a 6-1 run for a 20-14 halftime lead, and then opened the second half with seven straight points for a 27-14 lead at the 18:06 mark, and never really looked back in a 50-32 victory over the Lions of Roselle Catholic.
Undermanned Falcons Jolt Trenton From Ranks Of Unbeaten, 52-49
So, much for predictions! Right before I took my drive over to TBSA, I had finished posting my early thoughts on what could happen in the 2007-08 season. Well, I had the Falcons pegged for not only fifth in the pre-season Top Ten, but also third in the GMC Red. Although that’s not bad considering St. Joseph’s lost Darrell Carroll, Lamar Fisher, and Kyan Hines to graduation, I still may have to go back, and do some editing in light of tonight’s results. The Falcons fought tooth and nail with the Tornadoes, and held a 52-49 lead when I arrived at the 0:49 second mark. With St. Joseph’s in control of the ball, the Falcons had a chance to either get a score to put the game away, or run out the clock. However, Trenton applied some pressure on Brandenberg along the right sideline, and he inadvertantly stepped on the sideline to give the Tornadoes the ball with 46 seconds to play.
However, on the very next Trenton offensive possession, Brandenberg redeemed himself by playing good defense, getting good position, setting his feet, and drawing a very hard offensive foul from a Tornado player, who put his head down, and drove into him for a layup attempt at the 37 second mark to maintain the tenuous lead. Getting the ball back, St. Joseph’s pulled out the ball to run out the clock, which forced Trenton to foul. Nikko Vastola drove down the left side of the floor, and along the baseline for a layup attempt amongst the trees underneath when he was fouled at the 26 second mark. Vastola then promptly sank both free throws to give the Falcons more breathing room at 54-49. Trenton tried to get a quick score, but the ball couldn’t go in for the Colonial Valley Conference and Group IV powerhouse, and St. Joe’s got the rebound. The Falcons once again spread the floor, and got the ball to Gerard Lewis, who was then promptly fouled, and sank a pair from the line with 17 seconds to play for the final 56-49 score.
With the victory, St. Joseph’s moves up to 3-1 on the fall, and tied for second place with Trenton and Bridgewater. The Falcons also hold a tiebreaker over the Tornadoes thanks to this head to head win. Next week, the Falcons will play another top non-conference team in Bridgewater at 5:00 PM while Trenton will face off against the only undefeated team in the league right now in Piscataway at 7:00 PM.
Hall Helps Shorthanded Patriots Pull Away From Panthers, 51-36
Like St. Joseph’s, the Colonia Patriots were facing an undefeated foe with a shorthanded squad. The Pats only had five players in the lineup, but four of them were returning varsity players including three starters: Brandon Hall, J.J. D’Amico, and Nnamdi Usuwa, and they along with talented JV starter, Xavier Coleman rose to the occasion for the win. Trailing by a score of 8-4 with 11:13 left in the first half, CHS rallied with a 15-11 showing the rest of the way including a 10-4 spurt over a span of 5:07 to take a 14-12 lead to end up tied at 19-19 going into the intermission. Hall led the charge midway through the first half with two assists, a steal, a field goal, and two free throws. Usuwa netted a pair of free throws to close the game to 8-6 while Mentzel took a Hall dish for a layup to tie it at 8-8 with 10:09 left in the half. Bridgewater would retake the lead with a layup at the 9:53 mark, but Hall netted two free throws after being fouled on a reverse layup attempt at the 8:11 mark to tie it again at 10-10.
Neither team scored for about 1:17 before Bridgewater-Raritan took the lead again on a bank shot from the right side to make the score, 12-10 with 6:54 remaining before the break. Colonia promptly responded though on the next possession as Coleman found Mentzel for a jumper from the right wing to knot things again at 12-12 with 6:20 to go before the half. Hall then swiped a steal off a Bridgewater player on the next Panther possession, and went in easily for an uncontested layup from the right side to give the Pats a 14-12 lead at the 6:04 mark. Over the next 5:20, Colonia actually increased its lead slightly with a 5-4 run to make the score, 19-16 with less then a minute left. However, Bridgewater-Raritan got the last say in the first half with a three pointer from just to the right of the top of the key to knot the game at 19-19 going into the brief intermission.
Going into the second half with just two timeouts left, and only five players, Colonia was going to have to dig down deep to come away with the win, and they did. The Patriots managed to actually pull away, and nearly double Bridgewater’s output, 32-17 to come up with a double-digit victory. Over the first eight minutes of the second half, CHS outscored BRHS to the tune of an 14-10 run for a 33-29 lead with about twelve minutes to play. D’Amico made it a six point advantage when he got the ball, faked, dribbled to his left for a foul line jumper that made the score, 35-29 with 11:43 left. The Panthers promptly responded with a three pointer on their next offensive possession to cut the lead in half at 35-32 at the 11:10 mark. However, Colonia pushed the lead back to six as Hall drove hard down the middle of the court, dished to Usuwa for a layup and a foul for a three point play that made it 38-32 at the 10:49 mark, and the Hall stole the inbounds for another layup that gave the Pats a 40-32 lead at the 10:39 mark.
Bridgewater would knock in a couple foul shots at the 10:04 mark to close the gap to six again at 40-34, but Hall would spark an 11-2 tear to close the game with a steal, drive, and dish to Usuwa on his right for a layup that made it 42-34 with 7:20 to play. Colonia called timeout to give its limited troops a much needed breather before scoring nine of the last eleven points for the 51-36 victory. With the win, Colonia evens its record again at 2-2, but considering the Pats have played Elizabeth, Trenton, and Bridgewater-Raritan during the first month of the season, a .500 record is not that bad. Meanwhile, the Panthers lose their first game of the fall, and are now at 3-1. Next Sunday, CHS will be back in action against Montgomery at 6:00 PM while Bridgewater will face off against St. Joseph’s at 5:00 PM.
Chiefs Come Up With Key Run To Roll Past Roselle Catholic, 50-32
The Chiefs, which were without the services of James White (football), J.D. Griggs (football), and Bryan Waluk, had some difficulty with Roselle Catholic for much of the first half, but scored six of the last seven points before the brief break, and then reeled of the first seven to take control with a 27-14 lead at the 18:06 mark, and were never really threatened after that. Junior forward, Tristian Benjamin led the charge at the end of the first half with aggressive play consisting of driving hard to the basket for layups, or dishes to Omar Smith layup attempts that led to free throw attempts. Leading 14-13 with a little less than four minutes to play in the half, the Chiefs got a score at the 3:41 mark to make it 16-13. Then, after Roselle Catholic pulled within two with one of two from the foul line at the three minute mark to make it 16-14, Benjamin grabbed a rebound, drove up court, and dished to Smith for a layup attempt that the senior forward was fouled on. Smith then made one of two at the charity stripe to make it 17-14 at the 2:45 mark.
Benjamin followed that up himself a little more than two minutes later when he took the inbounds pass from Ricky Regan at half court, drove hard through the middle of the floor for a shot, and foul for a three point play to make it 20-14. Meanwhile, on the defensive end, Benjamin came up with a huge blocked shot with just four seconds remaining before halftime. In the second half, Benjamin as well as sophomore teammate and fellow forward, Wayne Newsome, showed another dimension by taking the ball up the floor, and orchestrating the offense a bit while rarely played reserves got into the scoring column with a jumper at the 18:22 mark, and a three pointer at the 18:31 mark to make it a 11-1 tear for a 25-14 lead. Benjamin then capped the 13-1 attack with a steal at about halfcourt, drove up the left side of the court for a one handed thunderdunk that rocked the entire basketball net apparatus on Court #3 at TBSA for a 27-14 lead with 18:06 to play.
Roselle Catholic would end the schneid with its first field goal in the last 7:27 to make it a 27-16 P-Way lead, but Newsome would get into the act with a drive up the right side for a foul, and two free throws to make the score, 29-16 with 16:15 left. The Lions would bring the deficit back down to eleven again as a player took a shot from the outside that got a kind bounce to go in, and make the score, 29-18 with 13:16 to go. Then, Roselle Catholic got two more scores including a layup underneath on the right side for a 29-20 lead with 11:52 remaining, and a jumper from the right wing to make the score, 29-22 with 11:05 to play. The Chiefs then were forced to call timeout after turning the ball over on the next offensive series at the 10:46 mark, but after that, they were fine with a 7-2 run over the next 6:16 to take a double digit, 36-24 lead with 4:30 left. Piscataway then promptly made it a 9-2 run when Jeff Adkins passed to Smith, who drove let into the key for a bank shot that made the score, 38-24 with 4:18 to play.
Roselle Catholic got layups at the 4:08 and 3:39 marks to trim the deficit to ten at 38-28, but Smith pushed the Chief advantage back to a dozen with a drive down the right side for a layup to make it a 40-28 score at the 3:23 mark. Piscataway’s defense then came up with a steal that ended up being slammed home by Newsome at the 2:58 mark to go up by fourteen, 42-28. Newsome then sank a pair of free throws at the two minute mark for a 44-30 lead, and then after a Lion score, Newsome got a steal off Roselle Catholic’s Matt Henn, and converted it into a score with a one handed jam to make it 46-32 with 1:27 left. Benjamin and Newsome then closed out the game with steals and assists on layups at the 0:36 and 0:07 marks to close out the 50-32 lead. With the win, Piscataway remains undefeated on the fall at 4-0. The Chiefs have beaten North Hunterdon, Notre Dame, Elizabeth, and Roselle Catholic. Meanwhile, the Lions drop to at least 1-2. P-Way will face off against another strong Group IV team in Trenton at 7:00 PM next Sunday night while Roselle Catholic plays Cardinal McCarrick at 6:00 PM.
GMC Hoops will be back out at TBSA next Sunday night for some games from the sixth week of action in the 2007 TBSA Fall League.
|Roselle Catholic (1-3)||14||18||32|
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ–Within the past couple days, GMC Hoops has been doing some thinking about the upcoming 2007-08 GMC Boys Basketball Season. And, here’s what we’re thinking as of right now. We will break this off into several parts: 1.) Top Ten, 2.) GMC Red, 3.) GMC White, 4.) GMC Blue, and 5.) GMC Gold. First our initial look at a pre-season Top Ten.
2007-08 GMC Pre-Season Top Ten–Rough Draft
Alright everyone let’s not get too excited about this. I was doing some thinking the past couple days, and I decided to write about it. This is to just get me started thinking about it. However, I believe what I have is a good start for what will eventually come out before opening day in December. Last year’s record in parenthesis along with a brief synopsis about each team.
- Piscataway (16-9)–With the likes of James White, Omar Smith, J.D. Griggs, Tristian Benjamin and Brian Waluk all coming back along with others such as Thomas Bennett, Wayne Newsome, Malcolm Griggs, and Jeff Adkins coming up, the Chiefs are a good bet to repeat again in the GMC.
- Colonia (24-4)–With Brandon Hall, J.J. D’Amico, Nnamdi Usuwa, and Jeff Mentzel returning along with a talented junior class that consists of the likes of Mike Nweme, Mike Karabin, Jordan Edmonds, Xavier Coleman, Julian Smith, Brian Negrey, and Tyler Jackow, the Patriots will be right there again despite losing Kevin Edmonds and Joe LaSala to graduation.
- Cardinal McCarrick (19-7)–With the leading favorite for GMC Hoops Player of the Year in Mike Burwell as well as Julio Rosario and a talented junior class moving up, the Eagles will be right in the thick of things again in the GMC. Cardy Mac had a good summer playing at Linden as well as at Eastern and Rebounds Team Camps. As a matter of fact, the Eagles went undefeated, and won the team camp at Rebounds in August. McCarrick is also playing in the fall leagues at TBSA and Rebounds.
- South Brunswick (27-3)–What? Top Four ranking for the Vikings? How is that? They lost their entire starting five from last year as well as Brian Morgan, and head coach Chris Balent is at Elizabeth. Simple, they still have Arman Wilson and reserves from that team such as Mohammed Sanu, Jordan Tiecher, Sean Lease, and Chris Weir that were members of a JV squad that reached the Final Four of the East Brunswick JV Tournament the past two seasons. In addition, new coach Joe Hoehman has a pretty good track record as a coach at the Freshmen and JV levels with three final four appearances in the Perth Amboy/GMC Freshmen Tournament, and two final four appearances in the East Brunswick/GMC JV Tournament. They’ll be ok.
- St. Joseph’s (20-9)–True the Falcons lost Darrell Carroll and Lamar Fisher to graduation, but the Falcons have sophomore Steve Rennard back, and he continues to improve. In addition, they have the athletic Paul Konopacki returning to run the floor, and use his leaping ability to his best advantages against the likes of Piscataway’s front line. Gerard Lewis and Nikko Vastola will be coming up from the JV, and varsity reserve Steve Brandenberg will be back as well. In addition, St. Joe’s has a very talented sophomore class that includes the likes of Mike Simpson, Najhi Talley, and Mark Bauer as well as members of the St. Joseph’s-White team that won the 2007 Perth Amboy/GMC Freshmen Tournament.
- J.P. Stevens (9-16)–Despite the last place finish in the GMC Red in 2006-07, the Hawks began building the foundation for what could be a couple special seasons. With the likes of Alex Cacoilo, Patrick Lem, Teryl Dunlap, Matt Margon, and Conner Medler along with the talented crop of juniors consisting of Ken Bland, Myles Reuben, Nick Pol, and Tahir Swinton, J.P. Stevens will not be an easy win to say in the least. The Hawks played very well this summer at the Hoop Group HBC and the TBSA Summer League, and have competed quite well so far this fall at the TBSA Fall League.
- Carteret (11-14)–For the first time since Omar Alston, Andrew Hill, and Wilfredo Fuerte led the Ramblers to the GMCT Championship in 2002, the Ramblers qualified for the state tournament in 2006-07. Not only did they qualify, but the Ramblers also went on the road and defeated Raritan in the opening round. Returning a number of key players this year including Brian Williams, Robert Jackson, Al Tampa, Alvin Rodriguez, Manny Rivera, and Desean Lane, Carteret made big strides this past summer by reaching the semifinals of the TBSA Summer League playoffs as well as going 7-4 overall.
- Sayreville (10-14)–Don’t be fooled by the overall record from last year, and the fact that the Bombers lost Kofi Genfi to graduation. The Bombers, which lost a ton of close games in 2006-07, have plenty returning including solid guards in Ricky Harding, LaVone Graham, Paul De La Costa, and front line people in Chris Matagrano and James De Mild, and Ray Rodriguez. In addition, the Bombers JV was very successful last year with an Elite Eight appearance before losing to eventual finalist, Bishop Ahr. Over the summer, the Bombers competed at Middlesex County College, where they went 8-1 during the regular season, and avenged its only loss by defeating previously unbeaten Franklin in the semifinals before losing to Middlesex in the Championship Game without Matagrano in the lineup.
- Bishop Ahr (14-9)–True the Trojans lost Corey Francisco to graduation, but the BGA still has a fine group of seniors this season including Mike Williamson, Billy Rooney, Kevin Uszenski, Martese Street, Derek Figueredo, and Jordan Madsen. In addition, Ahr has a fine junior class including Matt Sheehy, Matt Fiorino, Tom Lancey, Matt Melnick, and Steven Grant. The sophomore class at Bishop Ahr is not too shabby either with a Final Four appearance in the Perth Amboy/GMC Freshmen Tournament.
- New Brunswick (8-12)–The Zebras are given the last spot, but there is a question about what will happen this season at NBHS. New Brunswick is going through another transition, and on top of that will Brandon Smith and Marquis Hamm play this year. If they do play, how will they come out after another tough football season. Remember how last year’s football season ended? Nevertheless, you have to give the Zebras the benefit of the doubt because of Smith and Hamm, the good finish they had last season including wins on the road over North Brunswick and Metuchen down the stretch, and the improvement of Juan James over the summer in the Bound Brook Summer League. Josh Ford is another player to look out for as well.
GMC Red Division Preview–Rough Draft
Our next part is the predicted finish of the teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division with last year’s record in parentheses. Below that are some notes concerning why we are thinking they way we’re thinking.
- Piscataway (16-9)
- South Brunswick (27-3)
- St. Joseph’s (20-9)
- J.P. Stevens (9-16)
- Edison (10-14)
- East Brunswick (15-11)
- Perth Amboy (5-17)
- Old Bridge (7-17)
Notes: Piscataway is the favorite to win the GMC, and thus the GMC Red as well. The Chiefs have their entire starting five returning, and a number of good reserves as well. They have plenty of size up front, and they’re a solid team defensively. For P-Way to be successful, it will need to continue to play the way it did during the 2007 GMCT. South Brunswick and St. Joseph’s will pose formidable obstacles to the Chiefs as well as an up and coming J.P. Stevens squad. Stevens will have to get off to a good start, and with games at home including St. Joseph’s on Dec. 20th, and the always rough holiday tournament schedule, they need to come out firing to not only make a statement, but build confidence.
South Brunswick will have to work hard in the fall league at Rebounds, and in the pre-season scrimmages to gel as a team after Wilson played mostly AAU in the summer, and Sanu and Confessore are playing fall sports. St. Joseph’s will have to find a way to replace the solid inside play of Carroll along with the athleticism of Fisher and Kyan Hines. Edison could sneak up on some people in the division this year with the likes of Holmes, Williams, Otokiti, and Lordi returning along with junior Erik Janz. While EB will have a tough road to hoe following two years of heavy losses to graduation, they still have Mike Mello and Scott Stolzenberg along with the likes of youngsters such as Mayo, and a great coach in Bo Henning.
GMC White Division Preview–Rough Draft
Our next part is the predicted finish of the teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference White Division with last year’s record in parentheses. Below that are some notes concerning why we are thinking they way we’re thinking.
- Colonia (24-4)
- Carteret (11-14)
- Sayreville (10-14)
- New Brunswick (8-12)
- North Brunswick (15-9)
- Monroe (13-14)
- Woodbridge (1-21)
- South Plainfield (18-8)
Notes: Before I get into explaining why I’m thinking the way I’m thinking in the GMC White, let me say this. The GMC White will be even tougher than it was last year. The reason is that teams such as North Brunswick and Monroe have good underclassmen talent moving up, and although South Plainfield appears at the outset to be down this year without the likes of Shamai Santiago and Opie Muse, the Tigers still have Mike Burton, Bennie Gibson, and Tremaine Miller back as well as solid JV talent led by Aaron Wright and a good junior class. The problem with SPHS this coming year is who is going to replace Dontae Johnson, who transferred to Pennington Prep. But, here is the real kicker, Woodbridge, yes 1-21 Woodbridge will be much better this year. The Barrons not only have good seniors coming back including Anthony Graham, Kirk Zambrana, Tim Weber, Rich Ng, and Edrise Pope-Wright, but also the JV squad was very good last year earning a nine seed in the East Brunswick/GMC JV Tournament thanks to the likes of juniors Gerard Bullock and Blair Dolphin.
Like last year though, Colonia will be head and shoulders above everyone else with Carteret, Sayreville, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Monroe, Woodbridge, and South Plainfield all fighting for leftovers. Although the Pats lost key starters in Kevin Edmonds and Joe LaSala, and reserves such as Mike Salvador, they still have a solid junior class led by the likes of J.J. D’Amico, Nnamdi Usuwa, Mike Nweme, and Mike Karabin along with returning players Jeff Mentzel, and top point guard, Brandon Hall. Carteret and Sayreville are returning many of their players from last year, and lost a lot of close games during 2006-07. New Brunswick and North Brunswick are question marks although there is enough there to make them a formidable challenge for the rest of the division. Brandon Smith and Marquis Hamm are talented enough to make the Zebras a state and county tournament contender. The question is will they play? In addition, North Brunswick did lose a lot to graduation in 2007, but still have Brathwaite, Ashamole and a talented junior class led by Mike Cole and Ricky Harris. However, the Raiders did not impress much at the Middlesex County College Summer League this past summer.
Could Monroe sneak up in there too? Bob Turco managed to get his team into the state tournament, and finish 13-14 despite losing perhaps his best player in Shamil Graham in the middle of the season, and having to go down into the freshmen and JV ranks. Every time I saw the Falcons play during the summer, they progressed and showed signs of improvement. In addition, Monroe has a lot of good youngsters coming up. Not only a talented sophomore class led by Tim Brix, Jr., Ken Pace Jr., and Blake Bascom, but also a freshmen class that consists of the likes of Kayshon Stroughn. If you’re in the GMC White this year, you better have your ducks in a row every night. And, just think, next year, it doesn’t get any easier with Cardinal McCarrick moving up from the GMC Blue.
GMC Blue Division Preview–Rough Draft
Our next part is the predicted finish of the teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference Blue Division with last year’s record in parentheses. Below that are some notes concerning why we are thinking they way we’re thinking.
- Cardinal McCarrick (19-7)
- Bishop Ahr (14-9)
- Metuchen (15-12)
- Middlesex (7-14)
- Spotswood (17-10)
- J.F. Kennedy (8-14)
- Highland Park (6-13)
- South River (3-20)
Notes: Again McCarrick and Bishop Ahr will more than likely be the class of the division in 2007-08. Although the Eagles lost Vince Rosario to graduation, they have the likes of Mike Burwell, Julio Rosario, and Branten Widgeon returning along with the likes of a junior class that head coach Joe Lewis is very high on. Cardy Mac’s JV and Freshmen made big strides at the respective Colonia Summer Leagues as well. True BGA lost Corey Francisco as well as the likes of interior players Zach Widdoss and Justin Dews leaving the Trojans with not a lot of size. However, the Trojans have a solid group of seniors including Mike Williamson, Billy Rooney, Kevin Uszenski, Derek Figueredo, and Martese Street. In addition, Ahr has solid juniors as well such as Matt Fiorino, Matt Sheehy, Steven Grant, Matt Melnick, Tom Lancey, and Jordan Smith. On top of that, the sophomore class isn’t too bad either. A team that reached the Final Four of the Perth Amboy/GMC JV Tournament in 2007, BGA has the likes of Justin Peoples, Brandon Vitabile, Immanuel Krogmann, and Darius Griffin coming up.
Going further down the GMC Blue it gets more interesting. Right now, my thinking is that Metuchen will be fighting for the third spot in the division, but the question with the Bulldogs is the status of forward Dejuan Miller. Miller plays football, and he has generated a lot of interest from top programs including Oklahoma, which is where he is originally from. Having Miller in the lineup will definitely give Metuchen an edge over teams such as Middlesex and Spotswood. Speaking of which, the Blue Jays finished the year on a tough note after coming close to making the state tournament for the first time since 2002. Middlesex competed over at the Middlesex County College Summer League this summer, and went 8-1 during the regular season, earned the second seed, and ended up winning the tournament championship over Sayreville, the team that handed them their only regular season loss, although the Bombers were without center, Chris Matagrano. Spotswood did lose a ton with the loss of John Berner, Bryan Osofsky, Justin Carlson, Mike Hohman, and Zack Becker. However, they have talent returning with the likes of Cody Pace, Pat Dwyer, Ross Gerhart, and Tyler Osofsky as well as reserves Nick Olesinski, Vinny Vizzi, and Joe Petosa. In addition, the Chargers have a good group of talented sophomores that finished third in the Perth Amboy/GMC JV Tournament, and defeated Bishop Ahr in the consolation to earn third place.
A wild card in this race could be JFK. During the off-season, Jamie Panko stepped down as head coach to pursue an administrative position in the Woodbridge district, and Chris Banos became the new coach. Banos has enjoyed some success at the Freshmen level, where he coached the current senior class to the Championship of the 2005 Perth Amboy/GMC Tournament, where the Colts defeated then twelfth seeded South Brunswick. The Mustangs have the likes of Jelani Davis and Joe Marciano returning from last year’s squad along with Jonathan Toczynski and Brian Reilly. The question is will other players such as Chris Galadyk, a member of that successful freshmen team Banos coached several years ago before joining his brother on the wrestling team the past couple of years, come out for the team as well. Highland Park, which lost everyone except Alfred Matias and James Boyd from a team that was just 6-13 last season, and South River, which has struggled the past several years, will have it tough competing in the GMC Blue again this year.
GMC Gold Division Preview–Rough Draft
Our next part is the predicted finish of the teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference Gold Division with last year’s record in parentheses. Below that are some notes concerning why we are thinking they way we’re thinking.
- South Amboy (13-12)
- Dunellen (16-8)
- Piscataway Vo-Tech (4-14)
- Perth Amboy Vo-Tech (14-10)
- East Brunswick Vo-Tech (4-20)
Notes: With St. Peter’s closing, this should be South Amboy’s division for the taking although Dunellen will have something to say about it especially if Tim Schleppenbach is healthy. The Cardinals probably would have been a solid favorite to win the division with everybody set to return including Travis Evans, Justin Morgan, and Dominic Appiah (now at McCarrick). However, politics from an unlikely source at the Diocese of Metuchen forced the long time school, and power in the GMC to shut its doors this past June. Meanwhile, the Guvs have put in a solid off-season that included participation in the Rebounds Spring League, Rebounds Summer League, and Rebounds Fall League. Mark Simko has is doing well, and continues to steadily improve. In addition, Larry Lenahan and Steve Poltrictzky are beginning to realize the potential they had as incoming freshmen in the Raritan Bay Summer League.
Lets not forget Colin Krzyzanowski can knock in a few from the perimeter too, and Joe Charmello and Matt Richmond are showing promise from the underclassmen levels too as well as Tommy Reilly. Dunellen should be in the thick of things this year with Schleppenbach returning as well as T.J. Wenzel and Brock Mundy. In addition, the two Francisco brothers, Luke and Nick Francisco as well as Matt and Eric Cianfrone should be expected to make contributions. Perth Amboy Vo-Tech and Piscataway Vo-Tech will battle for third with the Raiders getting the edge for now since they have the most returning from last year while the Patriots took a hit to graduation with the losses of Jose Tavares, Freddy Espinal, Wilson Diez, and David Laboriel. East Brunswick Vo-Tech will look to improve on last year’s 4-20 record, and should do that, but it will be tough to break through against opponents in this division.
Well, those are all my thoughts for now. Trust me, these are not set in stone, and even if most of them are, they are just that…thoughts. We still have to play the games, and that’s where the surprises will come. Please don’t take offense if I didn’t put your team where you think it should be. Keep in mind, I’m considering all the teams involved, not just your team. More importantly, just because I think that a team isn’t going to do well doesn’t by any means mean that I don’t like the players, school, or coach, or that the team is terrible.
PLAINFIELD, NJ–The third week of action at the 2007 HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic concluded on Wednesday night at Plainfield High School with five games including three covered by GMC Hoops. Originally, the web site scheduled to just watch the two games playing at 7:30 PM since they both involved GMC teams, but after learning that Plainfield was taking on undefeated Franklin, we decided to stay on watch that as well. The two games involving the GMC were between unbeaten Columbia and Metuchen on Court #1 while Woodbridge took on Spotswood at the same time over on Court #2. Also going on prior to the Columbia–Metuchen matchup was a game between Shabazz of Newark and the Watchung Conference, and Hunterdon Central of the Delaware West Division of the Skyland Conference.
The Red Devils, which won their first game of the fall on Monday night by virtue of a last second pair of free throws against long time rival from Somerset County, Hillsborough, fought hard, and made things interesting, but in the end, the Bulldogs were too much. With 1:34 remaining, Shabazz was leading by a score of 45-38, but Hunterdon Central made one of two free throws at the 1:30 mark and then got a layup with 1:09 to play for a 45-41 Bulldog lead. However, that would be a close as the Red Devils would get because Shabazz would get another three points for a seven point lead, and despite a layup at the 33.3 second mark that made it 48-43, and one of two free throws at the 6.5 second mark, it was too little, too late for HCHS in a 48-44 defeat. With the victory, Shabazz improved to 2-1 on the fall while Hunterdon Central dropped to 1-2. However, after Franklin dropped out of the Fall-Ball Classic, Hunterdon Central was awarded a win since the Red Devils had played the Warriors earlier this fall. So, now, HCHS is 2-1 as well. Next Monday night, both of these teams will be in action as Shabazz will face off against Spotswood at 6:30 PM while Hunterdon Central will take on Plainfield at 7:30 PM.
Columbia Pulls Away From Pesky Metuchen In Second Half, 58-41
In the beginning, it seemed like it was going to be another long night at the office for the Metuchen Bulldogs. Sparked by the shooting of 6′1″ senior guard, Kenny Rubenstein, who had 8 points on three field goals and 2 of 2 free throws in the first 8:27 of the contest, the Cougars went up 14-1. Senior forward, Yvon Raymond, who drew the eye of former Plainfield High School head coach, and current Felician coach, Del Harrison, chipped in with two field goals including an offensive rebound and putback at the 18:17 mark, and a steal for a one handed slam at the 14:20 mark. Jameel Grace orchestrated the early offensive blitz with four assists and at least two steals for Columbia, which entered the game as one of three undefeated teams in the league. Rubenstein knocked in a jumper from the right wing at the 15:56 mark, and again at the 13:22 mark. Then, after making a pair of free throws at the 12:50 mark, Rubenstein got his hands on the ball again thanks to a fine save by Grace that the shooting guard then promptly netted a jumper from the right wing with eleven and a half minutes left in the first half. Meanwhile, Metuchen turned the ball over three times within the first 1:43 of the game, and didn’t get its first field goal until the 10:43 mark when Codey Preston kicked out to Evan Carberry for a jumper to make it 14-3.
Carberry’s field goal sparked the Bulldogs to make a nice run the rest of the half as the Bulldogs ended up outscoring Columbia by a 19-11 margin to close the gap to five at 25-20 at the half. Highlighting the run, Mark Switzer helped MHS pull closer by dribbling to his left for a jumper from the right wing that made it a 16-7 second at the 8:11 mark. Preston then followed that a little more than a minute later with a dribble to the left, fake pass to Carberry, and a jumper for a 16-9 Columbia lead. The Bulldogs actually got as close as 23-19 with 1:46 in the first half, but the Cougars scored two of the last three points to lead by only five at the brief break. However, in the second half, after Metuchen climbed to within three with a score at the 19:33 mark, Columbia replied with a 17-7 tear over the next 8:03 to take a 42-29 lead, and were never really threatened after that. Raymond then capped the win with a crowd pleasing dunk at the 7:56 mark that made the score, 51-36, and then the Cougars pushed their lead up to nearly twenty with two more baskets for a 55-36 lead at the 6:37 mark as Metuchen called for time.
Following the timeout, the Bulldogs outscored the Cougars, 5-3 down the stretch as Elijah Sellers came up with an offensive rebound and followed with a jumper to open the late game run to make it 55-38 at the 6:07 mark. Metuchen then got another score to pull within fifteen at 55-40 before Akheem Greene fouled out at the 3:33 mark. Columbia then scored three of the last four points to round out the final, 58-41 score. Mike Crusco got into the scoring column late for the Bulldogs with one of two from the foul line with 15 seconds remaining. With the victory, the Cougars improve to 4-0, and remain tied with Watchung Hills for the lead in the 2007 Fall-Ball Classic. Meanwhile, Metuchen drops to 1-3. Next Monday night, Columbia will have the night off although the Cougars were originally scheduled to compete. When the schedules came out earlier this month, Columbia was slated to play Franklin on October 1st at 8:30 PM. However, Franklin is no longer in the league so, Columbia gets a bye. On the other hand, Metuchen will face off against Hillsborough at 6:30 PM.
Woodbridge Overcomes Early Deficit To Defeat Spotswood, 42-32
In a battle between the only two other teams competing at Hawks from the GMC, Spotswood jumped out to an early 12-9 lead midway through the first half, but Woodbridge rallied with a 17-10 showing the rest of the way to take a four point, 26-22 lead at the break. Rich Ng led the charge for Woodbridge with 9 points on four field goals, and 1 of 2 free throws while Kirk Zambrana chipped in for the Barrons with 7 points on two field goals and 3 of 4 free throws, and diminutive point guard, Tim Weber added 6 points on three field goals. On the other side of the ledger for Spotswood, sophomore Tyler Osofsky led the way with four field goals for eight points while juniors Ross Gerhart (2 FGs) and Pat Dwyer (FG adn 2-2 FTs), and fellow soph Cody Pace (2 FGs) each chipped in with four points each. Sophomore Tom Pareti rounded out the Charger first half scoring with a field goal for two points. The second half saw scoring being held to a minimum as both teams combined to score as many points as the Barrons did in the first half alone. Woodbridge managed to pull away with a 16-12 showing for a ten point, 42-32 win.
In the second half, Ng again led the charge for the Barrons with two field goals and 2 of 2 at the line for six points, and a total for the game of 15 points that led all scorers. Helping out were Blair Dolphin, Dave Silvasadder, Kirk Zambrana, Edrise Pope-Wright, and Tim Weber with a field goal apiece for the remaining second half points for Woodbridge. Meanwhile, for the Chargers, Ross Gerhart added another four points with a 4 of 6 showing at the charity stripe while Dwyer chipped in with four of his own on one of two from the foul line and a three pointer at the 4:30 mark, and Osofsky added a field goal for a team high 10 points on the game. Gerhart and Dwyer both ended up with eight points on the night in the losing effort for Spotswood. For the game, Woodbridge made 18 field goals and 6 of 10 free throws for its 42 points while Spotswood connected on a three pointer, eleven field goals, and 7 of 10 shooting from the foul line for its 32 points. Spotswood opened the scoring in the second half with one of two from the charity stripe by Dwyer for a 26-23 Woodbridge lead with approximately nineteen minutes to play.
The Chargers had a chance to get closer when Gerhart grabbed the offensive rebound off the missed second foul shot by Dwyer, but couldn’t put it back in. The Barrons then got the ball, and put it in the hands of Ng, who drove to the basket for a teardrop shot that fell in for a 28-23 lead with 18:30 remaining. Osofsky got his final points of the game with a score at about the 18:00 mark to pull his team to within three again at 28-25. However, Woodbridge began to pull away with six of the next seven points in the subsequent five minutes as Weber fed Silvasadder with a skip pass along the baseline for a layup to make it 30-25 at the 17:30 mark, Dolphin, the younger brother of Jayson Dolphin, who played at St. Joseph’s several years ago, then fed Weber for a jumper that made it 32-26 at the 14:00 mark, and then Ng rounded out the run with a drive to the basket for a layup attempt and foul that resulted in a pair of free throws to make the score, 34-26 with thirteen minutes left. Although Gerhart made a pair at the foul line to trim the deficit to six again at the eleven minute mark, Woodbridge eventually went up by double digits thanks to a jumper by Dolphin off an assist by Mike Castillo with about 8:00 left, and then another score nearly a minute later to lead 38-28 with approximately 7:00 to go in the game.
Trailing by ten, and only manufacturing two field goals in the entire second half, Spotswood was unable to overcome the deficit, and Woodbridge closed out the game with the double digit win. With the victory, the Barrons improved to .500 again at 2-2 after the loss to Plainfield on Monday. Woodbridge’s two wins have both come at the expense of the two other GMC teams: Metuchen (44-24) and Spotswood (42-32). The two losses have come to Union County teams: Roselle (43-41) and Plainfield. On the other hand, Spotswood dropped originally to 1-4 on the fall, but due to the fact that Franklin dropped out of the league, the Chargers got a win added, and are now 2-3 on the fall. Next Monday, Woodbridge is off while Spotswood will have their hands full with Shabazz of Newark at 6:30 PM.
Cardinals Knock Franklin From Ranks Of Unbeaten To Out Of League
Originally, GMC Hoops didn’t plan on watching the final game of the night, but when it was learned that the nightcap featured Plainfield against undefeated Franklin, well, minds were changed. In the end though, it probably would have been better to have gone home as scheduled since the game was really no contest as Plainfield played much better than it did against Columbia last week while Franklin disintegrated so badly under the Cardinal pressure that the Warriors became unglued to the point where not only they ended up losing the game, but also dropped out of the league. Over the first 7:18 of the contest, Franklin, a member of the tough and competitive Delaware East Division of the Skyland Conference, and a team that went undefeated during the regular season and reached the semifinals of the playoffs in the 2007 Middlesex County College Summer League, was able to match Plainfield score for score as the two teams fought to a 10-10 standoff with 12:42 left in the first half.
However, the Cardinals, which are the defending two time Fall-Ball Classic Champions, closed the half with a 27-14 surge to take a 37-24 lead, and never looked back as they won easily, 61-46. Anthony Baskerville, Isiah Epps, and Shaun Blackmon played key roles in the win while Blackmon’s brother Dominique got the crowd rolling and going home happy with a couple scores in the second half to put an exclamation point on the victory. While Franklin was undefeated going into action on Wednesday, the Warriors had played Hillsborough, and narrowly defeated the Raiders on opening night. Then, FHS defeated Spotswood in week two, and defeated Hunterdon Central by five, 35-30 on September 17th. Meanwhile, Plainfield had dominated an improved Roselle team in their first game, lost by one to another undefeated team at Hawks in Columbia, and then defeated Woodbridge earlier in the week. In this game though, you could see the Cards played with a purpose, and with something to prove. The game began with both teams scoring once within the first thirty seconds for a 2-2 tie at the 19:34 mark.
After Plainfield took the lead with one of two from the line at the 19:15 mark, the Cardinals pushed their advantage up to three with a layup at the 18:23 mark to make it 5-2. Forty seconds later, Isiah Epps did a penetration and kick out to Anthony Baskerville for a jumper from the right wing that was good for a 7-2 lead at the 17:43 mark. Following a smart timeout by Franklin coach, Ian Turnbull at the 17:40 mark, the Warriors got themselves going with a left baseline drive for a layup that made the score, 7-4. Franklin then got another score less than a half minute later, and suddenly it was a 7-6 game at the 17:06 mark. But, the Warriors couldn’t take the lead as Epps came up with a steal and assist on a layup that made the score, 9-6 with 16:11 to go in the first half. The Warriors retaliated with an offensive rebound and putback for the basket and the foul, but missed the bonus free throw for a 9-8 Plainfield lead. FHS then took its first and only lead of the game on a baseline jumper from the right side for a 10-9 lead at the 13:17 mark. From that point until the end of the first half, Plainfield dominated with a 28-14 surge including a Baskerville jumper at the 12:08 mark, and after the Warriors tied it at 12-12, a 7-2 spurt to take a 19-14 lead at the 8:05 mark when Franklin called for time.
The timeout didn’t seem to be the tonic as the Cards went up by seven nearly a minute later with a layup for a 21-14 lead, and after a couple Franklin scores, another basket for a 23-18 lead. Baskerville then went to the line at the 5:15 mark, and netted a pair for a 25-18 advantage. Franklin scored on an offensive rebound and jumper to make it 25-20, but the Cards got another layup for a seven point gap, and then Shaun Blackmon got fouled on an offensive rebound and putback attempt for two free throws that made the score, 27-20 with 2:58 to go in the half. Epps then got a score for himself on a layup that made the score, 31-20 with 1:51 left, and again at the 13 second mark, and Blackmon added another layup at the 1:23 mark to highlight a 12-4 tear to close the half for the thirteen point lead at the intermission. The second half saw Plainfield run off another four points to start out with a 41-24 lead before the Warriors showed some fight with six unanswered points to trim the deficit to 41-30 with 15:30 left. However, that would be as close as the Warriors would get as Plainfield went on a 20-10 surge over a span of 12:35 to take a 61-40 lead. Dominique Blackmon highlighted the run with a jumper at the 5:30 mark, and then a reverse layup off a turnover that got quite a reaction from the crowd including Watchung Conference web site runner, Terrence “T-Ball” Johnson, who fell to the ground in hysterics. Epps closed out the Cardinal scoring with a layup at the 2:55 mark.
During the course of the game, particularly toward the end, the Franklin players became obviously frustrated, and that frustration continued over after the game as well. Later on Monday night, GMC Hoops would learn from Ian Turnbull that Franklin was no longer in the league, and that was confirmed by league director Bob Gaydos the following day. As a result, Hillsborough, Spotswood, and Hunterdon Central were all awarded victories while Columbia got a day off on Monday night. As far as Plainfield goes, there season will continue with the Cardinals going up against Hunterdon Central on Monday night and arch rival, Shabazz on Wednesday night. Both games are scheduled for 7:30 PM. In another note: GMC Hoops will be traveling over to the 2007 Rebounds Fall League on Monday night, but will be back at PHS on Wednesday night.
PLAINFIELD, NJ–The third week of action kicked off on Monday night in the 2007 HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic at Plainfield High School with four games that were played on the main court. Games started at 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM, 8:00 PM, and 9:00 PM. Due to some catch-up that I had to do on the games from last week, I wasn’t able to stop down at PHS until a little before the scheduled 9:00 PM matchup between Metuchen and Watchung Hills. However, I did managed to catch the very end of the game being played at 8:00 PM between Hunterdon Central of Flemington and Hillsborough. Both of these schools are long time rivals from Hunterdon and Somerset counties respectively, and their rivalry goes back to the days of the old Mid-State Conference, which was the predecessor to the now present Skyland Conference. The Red Devils from Hunterdon Central, compete in the Delaware West Division of the Skyland with the likes of fellow Hunterdon County schools, Voorhees and North Hunterdon as well as Warren Hills, which competed on September 23rd against J.P. Stevens at the 2007 TBSA Fall League. Meanwhile, Hillsborough competes in the Delaware East Division of the Skyland, which features teams from Somerset County such as Bridgewater, Franklin, Immaculata, and another Fall-Ball Classic participant, Watchung Hills.
The game was a nip and tuck affair that went down to the wire. Hillsborough had the lead late by a score of 45-44 when Hunterdon Central was fouled, and went to the line with 30 seconds left. The Red Devils missed the front end of the one and one, but managed to outhustle the Raiders for the offensive rebound, and was fouled again with 22.66 seconds to play. This time, Hunterdon Central was true on both foul shots, and took a one point, 46-45 lead. Hillsborough attempted to come back down and tie the game on the very next possession, but turned the ball over underneath the Hunterdon Central basket with about ten seconds left, and the Red Devils wound up edging the Raiders by one, 46-45. With the win, Hunterdon Central, which lost to Metuchen last Wednesday, evened its record at 1-1 while Hillsborough, which has already lost a couple of tough games including to rivals Franklin and Watchung Hills, is still winless on the fall at 0-4.
Watchung Hills Breezes Past Metuchen Behind Strong First Half, 38-22
The Metuchen Bulldogs began their season with a tough loss to fellow GMC member, Woodbridge thanks to a superb effort from junior Gerard Bullock in week one of the 2007 Fall-Ball Classic season. However, the Bulldogs did rebound to defeat another Group IV school in Hunterdon Central last Wednesday night, and as you saw above, the Red Devils knocked off Hillsborough, so perhaps Metuchen could score another surprise against another solid team from the very competitive Delaware East Division of the Skyland Conference. Unfortunately, MHS got too far behind in the first half, and couldn’t turn it around against a very fundamentally sound team in the Warriors. GMC Hoops had a chance to watch WHHS in action the previous Wednesday against another GMC Blue team in Spotswood, and was quite impressed with the way the team passed the ball, ran the break, and shot from the perimeter. It shouldn’t be that surprising though since the Warriors play in a division of the Skyland that has the likes of Bridgewater, Immaculata, Montgomery, and Hillsborough, where that type of play is typical. The only team in that particular division that may play a different style is Franklin, which has plenty of athletic and talented players.
Metuchen had started off on the right foot with the first bucket of the game that came at the 18:36 mark. After junior Codey Preston had drawn a charge on Watchung Hills forward Justin Matisak at the 19:18 mark, the tall and lanky forward, who has a good eye for his teammates, found Elijah Sellers for a jumper from the left wing that was true to make it 2-0 with just one minute and twenty-four seconds gone by in the first half. However, the Bulldogs wouldn’t have much success after that as the Warriors held the Middlesex County school scoreless for 12:54, and without a field goal for 15:56 while embarking on a 19-0 rampage that put them in front to stay at 19-2 with 7:01 remaining in the first half. Leading the way for Watchung Hills was forward Brandon Ward, who ended up with eight points on the night off of three field goals and 2 of 4 shooting from the foul line. Meanwhile, teammate Kyle Rawson chipped in with a three pointer, two field goal, and one of two at the foul line for eight points as well. Sellers ended up being a bright spot for MHS with 6 points on three field goals including two down the stretch in the second half while Nick Collas chipped in with 5 points on a field goal and 3 of 6 at the line.
Despite the fact that there were a few occasions, particularly early on in the first half where Metuchen was able to get back on defense, and disrupt Watchung Hills fast break, the Warriors eventually wore down the Bulldogs, and it resulted in easy transition baskets. In addition, Watchung Hills, which didn’t exactly have one of its better shooting nights, outhustled Metuchen for loose balls, and pounded the offensive glass for numerous second chance opportunities, which often resulted in second chance points. After being scoreless for nearly three minutes, Watchung Hills finally got on the scoreboard at the 17:09 mark when Jesse Ross penetrated and dished to Ward for a layup from the left side to knot the game at 2-2. Neither team would score for a little over a minute and fifteen seconds before the Bulldogs called for time at the 15:52 mark. Ten seconds after the stoppage, Watchung Hills took the lead for good as Matisak picked up a steal, and went in for a layup attempt, which was missed, but Ward grabbed the offensive rebound, and put it back in to make the score, 4-2 at the 15:42 mark. Nearly a minute later, Matisak returned the favor to Ward, when the junior forward managed to grab an offensive rebound, and put it back in after Ward had stepped to the line, and came up empty on his two charity shot attempts to make it 6-2 at the 14:50 mark.
A little more than a minute after that, Preston had a chance to get Metuchen back on the board, and in the game when he drove through the middle for a layup attempt, and was fouled, but he misfired on his two foul shot attempts at the 13:39 mark. Speaking of foul shots, it wasn’t a good night for free throws as the Bulldogs shot 4 of 11 at the free throw line for 36.4 percent while the Warriors were actually worse by going only 3 of 10 for 30 percent. Looking at other shooting statistics, Metuchen’s 22 points on the game came as a result of nine field goals, and the four made foul shots while Watchung Hills accumulated its 38 points by virtue of its 13 field goals, 3 treys, and three made free throws. In the first half, Metuchen only managed to register seven points on three field goals, and 1 of 6 free throws while WHHS got its 21 on a three pointer and nine field goals while missing both of its free throw attempts. Returning to the game, Watchung Hills resumed its first half onslaught following the two missed free throws by Preston when Matisak found Rawson for a jumper from the left wing that made it 8-2 at the 12:19 mark.
Not stopping there, the Warriors got into double digits when Ward got another offensive rebound off a missed jumper by Matisak and followed it in for a 10-2 advantage at the 11:50 mark. Watchung Hills then made its only trey in the first half nearly midway through the period as Metuchen’s coach and recent graduate, Corey Preston, was compelled to call for time at the 10:07 mark with the score reading 13-2 in favor of WHHS. Shortly after the timeout, Watchung Hills picked up right where it left off as Matisak scored an easy layup thanks to a Metuchen defense that had no player willing to step in a take a charge on the play as the deficit grew to thirteen at 15-2. Almost a minute and a half later, the Warriors scored again as senior forward, Eric Kane swiped a steal, and later handed out an assist on a layup by Jim Chmielewski to make it 17-2 with 8:25 remaining before the intermission. Finally, Watchung Hills put a cap on the run with a well executed break finished off with an assist by Kean on a layup by Rawson for a 19-2 lead at the 7:01 mark.
After falling behind 19-2, Metuchen finally was able to put a halt to the juggernaut that was the Watchung Hills offense. Over the final 7:01, the Warriors were held scoreless for approximately 5:47 of that time frame with their only field goal coming at the 1:14 mark when Ross knocked down a short baseline jumper from the left side for a 21-5 lead. Meanwhile, Nick Collas finally put an end to the Bulldog scoring drought at the 5:42 mark as he drove in from the left wing and was fouled, which resulted in a one of two showing at the free throw line to make it 19-3 at the 5:42 mark. Neither team would score for a little over three minutes before Codey Preston took a drive from the left wing through drive for a finger roll layup for his only field goal of the first half, and some of his limited points of the matchup to make it 19-5 with 2:41 to go before the brief break. The Bulldogs then answered Watchung Hills late score with one of their own down the stretch to make it 21-7 at the half. Things didn’t improve much for MHS at the start of the second half as WHHS seemed to pick up right where it left off.
Over the first 51 seconds of the second half, the Warriors gave their perimeter game a jump start with a three pointer at the 19:38 mark, and then after a Bulldog score at the 19:21 mark, Rawson knocked in a trey from the top of the arc to make it 27-9 with 19:09 remaining in the contest. Metuchen did its best to try and climb back into it with four of the next five points over the subsequent 6:12 to nearly cut the deficit in half to 28-13 at the 12:57 mark, but its defense would fail itself again as the Warriors got another uncontested layup to make it 30-13. Vinny Sardone had an opportunity to close the gap to fifteen at the 12:15 mark, but misfired on two foul shots, and the deficit remained at 17 points. Forty-three seconds after that, Ward got his hands on another offensive rebound, and tried to put it back in when he was fouled. Unfortunately, Ward came up empty at the line, but in a sequence that was emblematic of Metuchen’s woes, Kane grabbed the offensive rebound, and that eventually led to a layup by Rawson for a 32-13 lead. Over two minutes would go by before another score would occur, and that came at the hands of Sellers, who connected on a jumper from the foul line extended on the left side for the first Bulldog points in the last six minutes to make it a 32-15 game with 9:20 left.
Over two and half minutes later, Evan Carberry drained a jumper from straight on for a 32-17 Watchung Hills lead, and after Matisak failed to convert on a pair of free throws at the 6:10 mark, Sellers got his hands on the rock, dribbld to his left, and knocked in another jumper for a 32-19 score in favor of the Warriors with 4:41 to play. Jim Chmielewski put an end to the minor uprising by the Bulldogs with a jumper from the left wing to make the score, 34-19 with 4:11 left, and then a Warrior rebound and outlet pass downcourt led to a fast break opportunity, and an eventual layup by Ross that made the score, 36-19 with 3:30 left. Metuchen wouldn’t score again until the 1:07 mark when Sardone came up with a three point play to round out the final 38-22 margin. With the victory, Watchung Hills remained undefeated on the fall at 3-0, and kept pace with Columbia, which was idle after defeating Plainfield in a key early season matchup last Wednesday night. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs slipped to 1-2 on the fall. On Wednesday night, Metuchen will have its work cut out for them when they take on Columbia while Watchung Hills faces off against Hillsborough.
|Watchung Hills (3-0)||21||17||38|
EDISON, NJ–The third week of the second annual TBSA Fall League took place on Sunday night at The Basketball Shooting Academy on Carter Drive in Edison with a couple of very entertaining games involving teams from the GMC. GMC Hoops happened to catch the final two sets of games at 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM including Bridgewater vs. Timothy Christian over on Court #2, Colonia versus Trenton over on Court #3, J.P. Stevens taking on Warren Hills on Court #2, and Bishop Ahr battling Montgomery on Court #3. The first of the four games involved two non-conference teams as Bridgewater defeated Timothy Christian of Piscataway to remain undefeated at 3-0. The Panthers led 51-40 with 5:33 left, and never looked back with the victory. TCS has started the season with games against Trenton and Bridgewater, and has shown signs of being quite competitive despite being 0-3 to start the fall. Meanwhile, at the same time, Colonia was battling Trenton over on Court #3. The Patriots actually had a slim 23-19 lead at the half, but the Tornadoes outscored CHS by a 22-11 margin over the first 14:51 of the second half to take a 41-34 lead with 5:09 remaining. However, Colonia rallied with a 12-5 run to close the game including a three pointer with six seconds left to tie things up at 46-46, and force overtime.
Then, in the extra session, Trenton outscored the Pats by a 4-2 margin including a layup on the right side of the paint off an inbounds play underneath to take a 50-48 lead with twenty seconds left. Colonia had a chance to tie, or even win the game, but J.J. D’Amico was unable to make a three point shot from the left wing as the Tornadoes won a thriller, 50-48. Then, at 8:00 PM, J.P. Stevens came out roaring to the tune of an 11-0 tear in the first 5:06 of the game on Court #2, and eventually led 19-3 with a little more than eleven minutes remaining in the half, and then after leading 26-8 at the 7:34 mark, the Hawks closed the first half with a 15-6 tear including a shot by Nick Pol as time expired for a 41-14 lead at halftime. From there, J.P. Stevens cruised to an easy, 62-38 victory over Warren Hills of Washington Township in Warren County. Meanwhile, on Court #3, Bishop Ahr and Montgomery went toe to toe in what was pretty much a seesaw battle until the final ten minutes of the game. The Cougars, which lost to J.P. Stevens last week, finished the game with a 19-9 spurt for a 50-41 victory.
Trenton Survives Colonia In Overtime, 50-48
For the second time in the first three weeks of the 2007 TBSA Fall League, the Patriots of Colonia faced off against a perennial state powerhouse in boys basketball. On opening night, the Pats faced-off against Union County, Watchung Conference, and Group IV power, Elizabeth, and after trailing by ten in the second half, rallied to only lose by two, 37-35. On this Sunday night, CHS battled against Mercer County, Colonial Valley Conference, and another Group IV power in Trenton Central. In the first half, the Patriots jumped out to a 23-19 lead, but after the intermission, Trenton rallied to the tune of a 22-11 surge that included a 6-0 burst over a span of 1:31 to take a 41-34 lead with 5:09 remaining. With 6:40 to play, Trenton scored a bucket to take a 37-34 advantage. A minute later, the Tornadoes got a layin for a five point, 39-34 lead with 5:30 left. Trenton Central then got a turnover moments later, and turned it into a face break opportunity, which ended up with a layup set up by a nice over the head pass to a trailer to make it 41-34.
However, like it did in its loss to Elizabeth, Colonia rallied. The difference this time was that the rally was able to get a tie, and force overtime. Over the final 5:09, the Patriots outscored Trenton by a 12-5 margin to knot the game at 46-46, and push the game into an extra session. Junior forward, Nnamdi Usuwa started the rally with one of two at the foul line with 4:30 to play. CHS had another opportunity to make it closer, but Brandon Hall’s pass went off the hands of J.J. D’Amico in Colonia’s offensive end of the floor at the 3:31 mark. Taking advantage, the Tornadoes scored shortly afterward as they were able to get a steal off a Xavier Coleman pass in the Colonia backcourt after applying a ton of pressure on Usuwa following a rebound by the junior, and the score now read, 43-35 with 3:09 to play. Undaunted, Colonia kept at it by chipping away at the lead. Hall restarted the rally with a pair of free throws to make it 43-37 at the 2:16 mark. The Patriots then followed that up with another two foul shots for a 43-39 Trenton lead with 1:48 to play.
Trenton pushed its lead back to five with one of two of its own from the charity stripe for a 44-39 score with 1:24 remaining in regulation. Colonia replied right away thanks to Usuwa, who got a score in the paint to close the gap to three points at 44-41 with 1:17 left. Nearly forty seconds after that, Hall stepped to the line, and made two free throws once more to make it a one point game at 44-43 with 38 seconds remaining. Now with the ball, Trenton tried to run the clock out, but D’Amico fouled a Tornado player, and that resulted in two free throws with 19 seconds left for a 46-43 Trenton lead. With a chance to tie, Colonia got the ball into its offensive end, and got off a three pointer that was true to square the game at 46-46 with six seconds left in regulation. Trenton was unable to get a score as time expired so both teams went to overtime. In the extra session, neither team scored in the first minute before Trenton Central got on the board for the lead with an offensive rebound and putback to make it 48-46 with 0:59 left. Brandon Hall then brought the ball right back down the floor on the left side, and blew past his defender for a layup to tie the game again at 48-48 with 39 seconds remaining in overtime.
After two timeouts were called at the 25 second mark including one by Trenton to avoid a five second violation, the Tornadoes got a layup on the right side off the inbounds for a 50-48 lead. Colonia took the ensuing inbounds, got the ball to Hall, who brought the ball up the floor on the left side, eyed the clock, and passed back to D’Amico for a three pointer that hit iron as time expired. With the 50-48 victory, Trenton managed to remain undefeated at 3-0, and keep pace with Bridgewater, which also won its game against Timothy Christian. Meanwhile, Colonia fell to 1-2 on the fall. Both teams will be back at it again next week when the Tornadoes will face off against St. Joseph’s at 7:00 PM on Court #2 while Colonia battles Bridgewater on the same court one hour later at 8:00 PM.
J.P. Stevens Cruises Past Warren Hills, 62-38
While it was the third time that GMC Hoops was seeing the Hawks of J.P. Stevens in action this fall, it happened to be the first time that the web site took a look at Warren Hills. The Warren County school based in Washington Township was 12-14 last year including a six point, 45-39 loss to Newark Westside late in the season. In the season prior to that, the Blue Streaks from the Delaware West Division of the Skyland Conference, which defeated Ridge twice and Franklin during the 2006-07 season, went 12-9 in 2005-06, and qualified for the North Jersey Section 2 Group III state tournament, where it lost to Scotch Plains, 51-32 in the first round. The Raiders of SPFHS went on to lose to top seeded Colonia in the Quarterfinals, 52-43.
The Blue Streaks are coached by former South Plainfield football and basketball standout, Chris Walker, who went on to be an assistant coach to Wayne Fiorino at St. Peter’s when the Cardinals won the GMC Blue, and reached the GMCT Championship in 1988. That same season, the Cards reached the Non-Public B South Final, where it lost to Bishop Eustace of South Jersey in the Championship. Walker and Fiorino would team up later lead St. Peter’s to a sectional championship in 1990. After that, Walker moved on to his alma mater, South Plainfield, where he served as assistant to Jeff Lubreski during the 1992-93 campaign. That season, the Tigers finished 13-12, earned the 16th and final seed in the last ever GMCT before the concept of an open tournament was introduced in the 1993-94 season, and reached the semifinals of Central Jersey Group II, where it lost to eventual champion, Princeton. In recent years, Walker was head coach over at Hackettstown before coming over to Warren Hills.
Moving on to the game, J.P. Stevens, back on track following its 56-46 victory over Montgomery in week two, jumped out on top early, and never looked back as its talented junior class including the likes of Kenny Bland, Myles Reuben, Nick Pol, and Tahir Swinton was simply too much for the Blue Streaks. Over the first 5:06 of the game, the Hawks reeled off the first eleven points. Warren Hills didn’t score until the 14:35 mark when it got a three pointer from the left wing to make it 11-3. JPS quickly replied with a score to make it 13-3, and that sparked an 8-0 run that included a drive for a running one hander from the right side by Nick Pol at the 13:42 mark, a pair of free throws by Reuben at the 12:33 mark, and capped by a turnaround jumper by Bland off a lob pass by Reuben with 11:11 left in the first half. The Blue Streaks tried desperately to climb back into the affair with five of the next seven points including two free throws at the 10:17 mark, and a three pointer at the 8:20 mark to make it 21-8. Sandwiched in between those scores by Warren Hills was a well executed play by Teryl Dunlap, Myles Reuben, and Tahir Swinton as Dunlap passed off to Reuben, who penetrated along the left side, and dished to Swinton for a layup to make it 21-5.
J.P. Stevens made a three pointer in response at the 8:05 mark to make the score, 24-8, and then added another score to make it 26-8 with 7:34 remaining in the first half. Leaving to watch the game between Montgomery and Bishop Ahr, we could still observe what was going on in the game until the end of the first half. Over the final seven and a half minutes or so of the first half, Stevens continued to dominate with 15 of the last 21 points before the intermission including a hard drive down the floor for a last second scoop shot by Pol to take a commanding 41-14 lead at the break. In the second half, Warren Hills tried to make things respectable with nine of the first fourteen points of the second half despite a highlight reel block by Bland at the 15:56 mark to make the score, 46-23 in favor of JPS. Highlighting the run over the first 5:19 was a three point play at the 15:30 mark to make the score, 46-19, an offensive rebound and follow at the 15:02 mark to make the score, 46-21, and a tap in at the 14:41 mark to cut the deficit in half. The Blue Streaks continued to try and chip away with a pair of free throws at the 12:23 mark that followed an earlier score by the Hawks to make it 48-25, and then a bank shot in the paint from the left side at the 10:16 mark to make it 48-27.
However, the Washington Township based school couldn’t get any closer as Stevens got a three pointer at the 9:56 mark to make it 51-27, and then stayed even with the Blue Streaks the rest of the way with an 11-11 showing to round out the final, 62-38 score. With the victory, J.P. Stevens raised its record to 2-1 on the fall while Warren Hills dropped to 0-2 (not counting the result from 9/16/07). Next Sunday night, JPS will take on North Hunterdon, a team that it plays regularly during the regular season over the past few years, over on Court #3 at 6:00 PM. Meanwhile, the Blue Streaks will face off against Bishop Ahr an hour earlier on Court #3 at 5:00 PM.
|J.P. Stevens (2-1)||41||21||62|
|Warren Hills (0-2)||14||24||38|
Montgomery Breaks Away From Ahr For 50-41 Victory
After watching much of the first half between J.P. Stevens and Warren Hills over on Court #2, GMC Hoops scooted over to Court #3 to watch the balance of the first half between the Trojans of Bishop Ahr and the Cougars of Montgomery. Both teams were coming off losses in week two as BGA lost to Bridgewater, 57-37 while Montgomery lost to Stevens by a 56-46 margin. Sitting down at the 12:05 mark, Bishop Ahr was leading 10-6. Montgomery then got a foul line jumper that got a kind bounce for a 10-8 score at the 11:59 mark. The Cougars crept closer by getting fouled on a reverse layup attempt at the 10:59 mark that resulted in a 1 of 2 trip at the foul line to make the score, 10-9. BGA tried to increase the lead, but Jordan Madsen had his jump shot attempt from the left corner blocked, but Montgomery was unable to pick up the loose ball as it went out of bounds to Ahr at the 9:53 mark. Montgomery was unable to eventually stop the Trojans, and get the ball back though as Kevin Tarca picked up a steal and converted it into a layup for a 5-0 run for a 11-10 lead.
Bishop Ahr still managed to tie things up with one of two free throws by Steven Grant at the 8:35 mark to make the score, 11-11. A little more than a minute later, Ahr took the lead as Mike Williamson drove down the right side of the key, was fouled, and made one of two free throws for a 12-11 lead with 7:25 left before intermission. The Trojans increased their lead to three as Madsen grabbed an offensive rebound off the missed second free throw, and followed it back in for a 14-11 advantage at the 7:08 mark. Montgomery fought back though with a 5-0 run including two free throws at the 6:20 mark to make it 14-13 BGA, a steal and a layup at the 6:02 mark to take a 15-14 lead, and then one of two free throws at the 4:15 mark to go up by two at 16-14. In a half that saw six lead changes and one tie over the final 12:05, Bishop Ahr fought back to retake the lead with five of the next seven points over a 2:07 span including a pair of free throws by Derek Figueredo for a 19-18 advantage with 2:08 to go in the half. However, Montgomery would strike the final blow going into halftime with a three pointer from deep on the right wing by Tarca to make it 21-19 at the break.
In the second half, GMC Hoops returned to the game with 12:12 remaining after watching some more of the J.P. Stevens–Warren Hills matchup, and the game continued to be close with the score tied at 29-29. Tarca then drove up court, knifed into the paint, and dished to the left baseline for a layup that gave the Cougars a two point, 31-29 lead with 11:22 remaining. The Trojans came right back down the floor for a three pointer at the 11:05 mark to retake the lead at 32-31. However, that would be the last time BGA would hold the edge in this game as Montgomery closed out the game with a 19-9 surge to pull ahead, and then away from Ahr for the win. The Cougars started the game deciding run with a score at the 10:39 mark to make it 33-32. Then, on the next BGA possession, the Trojans would miss, and Montgomery rebounded, threw an outlet pass to Tarca, who drove up court again to dish for another layup that made it 35-32 with 10:18 left. Neither team would score for exactly 3:30 until the Cougars got a pair of free throws at the 6:48 mark to take a 37-32 advantage. Matt Fiorino ended the Cougar 6-0 run with a pair of foul shots himself to make the score, 37-34 with six minutes remaining. Unfortunately for Ahr, that would be as close as they would get the rest of the way.
Tarca gave Montgomery its five point lead again with an off-balanced layup at the 5:46 mark to make it 39-34. Tarca then struck again by getting a steal off the Trojans on their next possession, and converted it into a layup to make the score, 41-34 with 5:34 left. Grant kept BGA within striking distance with one of two free throws at the 5:03 mark, but the Cougars pushed its advantage to eight with an offensive rebound and putback off a missed jumper from the left corner to make the score, 43-35 with 4:04 to play. Following a Bishop Ahr timeout at the 3:40 mark, the Trojans had an opportunity to pull within six again, but Figueredo misfired on a front end of a one and one with 3:15 left, and then Montgomery later scored with 2:22 remaining as the Cougars broke Ahr’s pressure with ease for layup and a ten point, 45-35 lead. Martese Street brought the deficit back down below single digits with one of two from the foul line at the 1:51 mark. However, Montgomery would take its biggest lead of the game with a layin at the 1:40 mark at 47-36, and the Trojans were never able to recover as the Cougars went on to win by nine, 50-41. With the victory, Montgomery, which won its opener over Monroe, improved to 2-1 on the fall while BGA dropped to 0-3. Next Sunday, Montgomery will take on Timothy Christian at 7:00 PM on Court #3 while Bishop Ahr will face off against Warren Hills on the same court two hours earlier at 5:00 PM.
|Bishop Ahr (0-3)||19||22||41|
PLAINFIELD, NJ–The second week of action ended at the 2007 HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic with a couple of barnburner games in the 7:30 PM and 8:30 PM hours. GMC Hoops got to see two of the three Greater Middlesex Conference teams in action on this Wednesday night as Spotswood faced-off against Watchung Hills of the Delaware East Division of the Skyland Conference while Woodbridge battled Roselle of the Mountain Valley Conference in the nightcap. The Warriors from Warren took a 37-24 lead at the half, and withstood an early second half charge by Spotswood for a 59-45 victory. Later on the same court, Woodbridge and Roselle fought tooth and nail despite the fact that the Barrons were without three of its best players. The Runnin’ Rams outscored Woodbridge by a 5-2 margin over the final 2:30 for a 43-41 victory that avenged a heartbreaking loss to the Barrons in the opening round of last year’s playoffs. Meanwhile, host team Plainfield duked it out with Columbia in a game that pitted two undefeated teams, and ended up with the Cougars avenging its only two losses last fall with a close 45-44 win over the Cards.
Watchung Hills Downs Spotswood Despite Efforts Of Pace, 59-45
The Chargers got 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals from sophomore Cody Pace, but it wasn’t enough as Watchung Hills scored 37 points in the first half for a fourteen point lead, and didn’t let Spotswood cut into the lead in the second half despite a quick start by the GMC Blue squad in a 59-45 win. Ross Gerhart chipped in with 8 points and 2 blocks while sophomore guard, James Pareti contributed with eight points as well along with three rebounds, and an assist. Tyler Osofsky and Alex Dwani chipped in with four points each while Osofsky added two rebounds and an assist, and Dwani collected a rebound and an assist. Tim Pareti chipped in with a point while Pat Dwyer (4 rebounds and 2 assists) also played, but didn’t score. Pace had six points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block in the second half while Gerhart added four points, a rebound, and an assist.
In the first half, both teams exchanged some scores early on, but then Watchung Hills took over with a fine display of passing on the break for back to back layups. Then, the Chargers did themselves in with bad passes as they tried to break the Warrior defensive pressure. Watchung Hills then got a bucket off a nice move in the key for a shot that got the benefit of a kind bounce, and then made two easy layups off steals for a 29-14 lead close to halfway through the first half. The Warriors didn’t stop there as they got another steal again that was converted into a finger roll layup for an 31-14 advantage with nine minutes left before intermission. A minute later, Dwyer grabbed a rebound, and passed upcourt to Gerhart for a layup attempt that he was fouled on, and that resulted into one of two at the line for an 31-15 WH lead at about the eight minute mark. Gerhart followed that up with a jumper about a minute or so later to cut the deficit in half at 31-17 with around seven minutes to go before halftime. Watchung Hills then made a pair of foul shots at the six minute mark for a 33-17 lead before Pareti battled amongst the trees for an offensive rebound and putback off a Warrior block on an Osofsky shot set up by nice passing from Dwyer and Pace to make it 33-19 with 5:30 left in the half.
About a minute and a half went by without either team scoring before Watchung Hills scored on a foul line jumper at the 4:00 mark to make the score, 35-19. Forty-five seconds later, Gerhart picked the pocket of a Warrior player for a steal, and passed upcourt to Pace, who passed back to Gerhart for a layup, and a foul for a three point play to make the score, 35-22. Pace then cut the deficit to eleven with a pair of foul shots with approximately 1:30 to play before the intermission, but Watchung Hills closed out the first half scoring with a nice back door cut for a left handed layup for the 37-24 halftime lead. Over seven and a half of the last nine minutes of the first half, Spotswood outscored the Warriors by a 10-4 margin, but the Somerset County squad still managed to stay ahead by thirteen at the break. The Chargers will make a run to start the second half that would not only enhance their first half finish, but also make the game interesting for a little while.
After trailing at the half 37-23, the Spotswood Chargers began the second half with a 12-5 spurt to close the gap to seven at 43-36 with 12:30 to go in the game. Watchung Hills actually began the new half with a running one handed shot in the key for a 39-24 lead with 19:45 before Spotswood scored six straight points including a field goal, two free throws by Pareti, and a layup by Pace that made it 39-30 with 18:30 left. Watchung Hills missed two free throws at the 18:00 mark, and the Chargers pulled within seven as Pace passed off to Gerhart for a jumper from the left wing to make it 39-32 with 14:45 left. Pace, the nephew of former Colonia head coach Ken Pace, and cousin to Monroe’s Ken Pace, Jr., then got a steal that he converted into a layup that made it a five point game at 39-34 with 13:00 left, and then a half minute later, Pace did it again with a layup that made it 43-36.
However, the Warriors from Warren in Somerset County regained their composure, and control over the game with a 16-9 run over the final dozen or so minutes of the game for the 59-45 win. Watchung scored six straight points over a span of about two minutes before Gerhart made a pair of free throws to make the score, 49-38 with nine minutes remaining. The Warriors then made a pair of free throws at the 7:48 mark for a 51-38 lead, and then got another score a little while after that for a 53-38 lead at the five minute mark. Dwani and Osofsky scored the next six points as Dwani netted two earlier jumpers, and Osofsky converted a driving layup to make the score, 57-44 late, but it wasn’t enough as Watchung Hills won by fourteen, 59-45. With the win, the Warriors raised their record to 2-0 on the fall at HBA while Spotswood, which is the only team in the league to play every night so far this season, dropped to 1-3. Next game for Spotswood will be on Wednesday, September 26th against Woodbridge at 7:30 while Watchung Hills will be playing against another GMC Blue team in Metuchen on Monday night, September 24th.
|Watchung Hills (2-0)||37||22||59|
Columbia Outlasts Plainfield To Stay Undefeated, 45-44
Last fall, these two teams played each other twice. Once early on in the regular season, and then in the Championship Game of the post-season tournament. Both games were won by Plainfield, which ended up claiming its second straight Fall-Ball Classic Championship. However, the Cardinals are a much different team after losing the likes of Anthony Nelson, Raphiq Carnegie, Jerrell Thompson, and Rodney Tucker to graduation in June 2007. Only Anthony Baskerville and Isiah Epps are familar names returning from last season. However, with the likes of newcomers such as Daryll Gordon, the younger brother of 2004 graduate Mike Gordon, there is always plenty of talent to work with and develop at PHS. Meanwhile, Columbia has several players returning from last year including: Jameel Grace and Yvon Raymond.
The entire game was a back and forth affair with at least eleven lead changes and ten ties as neither team took a lead bigger than four. Columbia, which competes against the likes of Seton Hall Prep and Morristown in the Iron Hills Conference that spans over Morris, Essex, and Union Counties, took an early 6-4 lead with 16:30 remaining in the first half, but the Cardinals tied things up at 6-6 at the 16:07 mark. A little less than forty seconds after that, the Cougars retook the lead at 8-6, and then took the largest lead of the contest at 10-6 with 15:12 to go before halftime. However, Plainfield fought back with eight of the next twelve points over a span of 4:47 to make it a 14-14 tie with 10:25 to go before intermission. The game continued to be nip and tuck for the balance of the first half with a 12-11 edge for Columbia to hold a 26-25 advantage at the break. It would be more of the same in the second half as the two teams couldn’t shake each other. Columbia began the new half with four of the first six points to widen the gap to three at 30-27 with 18:27 to play in the contest, but Plainfield rallied back again with a three point play for a 30-30 tie at the 18:10 mark.
Columbia went back up by two with a basket at the 18:04 mark for a 32-30 lead, but the Cards tied things back up again before the Cougars got a three point play of their own at the 15:20 mark for a 35-32 lead. Plainfield got a score to pull within one at 35-34 with 11:40 to play before Columbia got another 3-2 run for a 38-36 lead with 10:53 remaining. Less than a half minute later, Plainfield tied the game up at 38-38. Over the next 5:15, Columbia scored three points in what was a tightly played defensive war to take a 41-38 lead before the Cards got a score at the 5:12 mark to pull within one again at 41-40. The Cougars made it a three point game again with a layup that not only made it 43-40, but also compelled Plainfield to call for time at the 4:24 mark. Following the timeout, the Cardinals drove in for a layin that got a kind bounce to make the score, 43-42 at the 3:50 mark as another raucous hometown crowd tried stirring things up.
But, Plainfield couldn’t get any closer, and overcome the slim deficit thanks to numerous missed opportunities down the stretch. Columbia gave them plenty of chances to take the lead, and the game late, but the more inexperienced Cardinals failed to capitalize. Following a Columbia timeout at the 3:21 mark, the Cougars turned the ball over at the 2:55 mark. However, Plainfield couldn’t cash in, and later was called for an over the back foul. The Cardinals kept battling by getting a steal at the 1:43 mark, and Columbia picked up a foul just seconds later. With possession of the basketball, Plainfield was a good offensive sequence away from taking the lead, but the Cards settled for a jumper that was well off the mark at the 1:28 mark. Columbia kept being generous though by traveling on the very next possession with 1:09 remaining, but the Cards still couldn’t take advantage as Grace picked up a steal, and went in for a layup when he was stripped by the Cardinals with 51.75 left. On the very next inbounds play, the Cougars got a pivotal score with a layup while being fouled, but missed the bonus free throw to make the score, 45-42 at the 49.61 second mark. Plainfield then put itself in a precarious situation by getting called for a double dribble at the 42.17 second mark.
Unfortunately though for the small contingent of Cougar fans at the game, Columbia failed to put the game away with four missed front ends of one and ones over the final 38.97 seconds, and then PHS pulled within one again with a long jumper at the 18.8 second mark to make it 45-44. However, despite CHS missing one and one opportunities at the 16.74, 9.7, and 5.43 marks, Plainfield couldn’t pull out the win. With 6.91 seconds left, the Cardinals threw the ball away, and then with 3.48 left, missed a front end of a one and one itself to preserve the Columbia 45-44 win in a contest that surprisingly nobody wanted to win for the last ten minutes or so. With the victory, Columbia took sole possession of first place at 3-0 while Plainfield dropped to 1-1 on the fall. On Monday night, Columbia will take a well deserved day off while Plainfield will battle Woodbridge at 6:00 PM. The Cougars will be next out at the Fall-Ball Classic on Wednesday night when it faces Metuchen at 7:30 PM.
Roselle Wins Over Shorthanded Woodbridge In A Seesaw Affair, 43-41
In all fairness to the Plainfield and Columbia game, I didn’t see the entire game, but the Roselle and Woodbridge game at least as exciting with quite a number of lead changes and ties. For the game, there were 17 lead changes and 7 ties between the two teams while neither team had a lead bigger than eight points. Despite not having Anthony Graham, Gerard Bullock, and Blair Dolphin on hand for the game, the Barrons showed a lot of guts and determination as Rich Ng (7 field goals for 14 points) and Kirk Zambrana (4 field goals and 7 of 10 free throws for 15 points) came up with solid efforts in a losing cause. After Roselle had taken a 25-17 lead early in the second half, the Barrons battled back with a 14-4 tear over the first ten minutes of the second half to actually take a 31-29 lead. From that point until the end of the game, there were six leads and one tie while neither team had a lead bigger than three. In the end though, Roselle scored five of the last seven points over the final 2:30 to turn a 39-38 deficit into a 43-41 win.
The Runnin’ Rams, which lost to the Barrons in the first round of the 2006 HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic playoffs, put together their best offensive display GMC Hoops has seen in several years, particularly from the outside with one made jumper after another. Roselle went on the attack right away by getting fouled at the 19:45 mark, but missed both free throws, and then the follow on the offensive rebound. The Runnin’ Rams finally got on the board with a pass in the key for a short jumper that made the score, 2-0 at the 19:15. Zambrana would respond for the Barrons with a layup for a 2-2 tie at the 19:15 mark. Rich Ng, who started out on fire in the first half, netted a foul line jumper at the 18:25 mark that gave Woodbridge at 4-2 lead. Roselle would respond some forty seconds later with a jumper of its own to knot the game again at 4-4. Two and a half minutes would go by before another score when Tim Weber passed off to Ng for a score that made it 6-4 in favor of the Barrons, but thirty seconds after that, Roselle squared the contest once more at 6-6 with a jumper in the key with 14:45 to go in the opening half.
Zambrana had an opportunity to give Woodbridge the lead back when he was fouled on a layup attempt at the 14:30 mark, but misfired on both free throw attempts so the score remained tied at 6-6 until Roselle connected on a bank shot from the left side to take an 8-6 lead with fourteen minutes to go before halftime. A minute later, the Barrons would tie the game with a spin move for a short jumper that made the score 8-8, but on the next possession the Rams retook the lead with a score at the 12:30 mark to make it 10-8. Roselle held the lead for over two minutes before Ng tied it once more with a dribble drive to his right for a short jumper to make it 10-10 at the 10:20 mark. Once more though, Roselle scored on its next possession thanks to two offensive rebounds and a follow that resulted in a foul, and one of two free throws for an 11-10 advantage with 9:30 to go before the break. The Barrons replied on their next offensive possession as Weber took a dribble in from the top of the key to knock down a short jumper from straight on to give his team a 12-11 lead with about nine minutes left in the first half.
Roselle continued to come right back with a score as they got a bucket again on their next possession to take a 13-12 advantage with about 8:30 to go in the first half. Both teams got stuck in the mud a bit offensively with no points over the next 3:45 before the Barrons were forced to take a timeout at the 4:45 mark to avoid a turnover. The stoppage helped set up a good scoring opportunity for Woodbridge as Ng took a good shot attempt, but it missed, and the Rams converted it into a fast break opportunity and layup for a 15-12 lead with approximately four minutes to go in the half. On the next Woodbridge possession, Zambrana showed no fear as he powered in amongst two Roselle defenders down low on the left side for a layup and a 15-14 Ram lead with about 3:30 remaining before the brief break. Zambrana then followed that up with two free throws at the 2:30 mark to give the Barrons a 16-15 lead before Roselle took the lead again at the 1:45 mark on a jumper, and then drew a charge on a driving Zambrana with 45 seconds remaining in the half.
Roselle then increased its lead to three with a jumper from the right wing on the next offensive possession at the 20 second mark, and then after Zambrana made one of two at the line with 15 seconds left in the half, the Runnin’ Rams closed the half out with a jumper from the right wing to make it 21-17 at the break. In the second half, Roselle picked up right where it left off with a nice jumper with good rotation from the left wing to take a six point, 23-17 lead with 19:15 left in the game, and then scored again thirty seconds later on a short jumper from the left baseline for the biggest lead of the entire game at 25-17 with 18:45 to go. Woodbridge would storm back though with a Zambrana foul line jumper to make it 25-19 at the 18:15 mark, and then nearly a minute later scored again as Ng kicked out to Silvasadder for a jumper from the right wing to make it a four point game again at 25-21 with 17:20 remaining. Edrise Pope-Wright then made it a two point game with a layup at the 16:30 mark to make it 25-23 before Roselle knocked down a jumper from up top for a four point, 27-23 lead at about the sixteen minute mark. On the next Woodbridge possession, Silvasadder made a nice entry pass down low to Weber for a reverse layup to make it a two point game at 27-25 with 15:30 left.
Following a Roselle timeout at the fifteen minute mark, the Runnin’ Rams pushed their advantage back to four with another nice jumper from the right side for a 29-25 score with 14:00 to go. Woodbridge then scored on their very next possession as Zambrana drove in for a layin, and was fouled, which resulted in a pair of made free throws for a 29-27 Roselle lead with 13:35 remaining. Nearly two minutes passed without a score before Zambrana returned to the charity stripe for two more free throws after being fouled on a follow with 11:45 left to knot the game at 29-29. Almost two minutes after that, the Barrons actually took the lead as Ng capped a 14-4 rally with a drive for a outstretched left handed layup that made it 31-29 midway through the second half. However, as it did throughout the contest, Roselle came right back with a foul line jumper that was true to square the game at 31-31 with 9:40 left. Zambrana, which scored eight points in the second half, scored on a layin at the 8:30 mark to give Woodbridge a 33-31 advantage. But, once again, Roselle not only came back with a score, but took the lead with a layin and a foul for a three point play to make it a 34-33 score with seven minutes to play.
After Woodbridge called for time at the five minute mark with Roselle still leading by one, Roselle increased its advantage again to three with a spin move for a score to make it 36-33 with about 4:15 to play. However, Woodbridge wouldn’t go away as Silvasadder knocked down a bank shot at the 3:45 mark for a 36-35 Roselle lead, and then Zambrana passed off to Ng for a layup and a 37-36 lead at the 3:25 mark. The Rams battled back with a layup of their own for a 38-37 lead, but Woodbridge replied immediately on their next possession with a layup to take a 39-38 edge. However, that would be the last time the Barrons would hold the lead as Roselle converted a layup to make it 40-39 at the 2:15 mark, and then got a steal on the next Woodbridge possession that was converted into a layup at the other end for a 42-39 lead with 1:30 to go. Woodbridge, which won its opener over Metuchen last Wednesday took a timeout at the 50 second mark, and then got its last points of the contest as Weber passed off to Ng for a long jumper from the right wing for a 42-41 Ram lead with 40 seconds left. Woodbridge then fouled to stop the clock, and eventually forced Roselle to the line with with four seconds to play. The Runnin’ Rams made the first of the bonus, but missed the second giving the Barrons a chance to tie, but Weber’s inbounds pass to halfcourt was intercepted by Roselle as time expired for the 43-41 victory.
For the game, Ng and Zambrana combined for 70.7 percent of the Barron offense while Silvasadder chipped in with three field goals for six points, Weber had a field goal in both the first and second half while Pope-Wright rounded out the team scoring with a field goal for his only two points. Both teams are now 1-1 on the season as Roselle lost its first game of the fall to host school, Plainfield last week, 71-46 while the Barrons rolled past Woodbridge on the same night, 44-24. Next week, Woodbridge has a full schedule with two games including one against Plainfield on Monday, September 24th, and another against fellow GMC member, Spotswood on Wednesday, September 26th. Meanwhile, Roselle will play one game next week on Monday against the only other 3-0 squad at the Fall-Ball Classic in 2007 in Franklin.
NEPTUNE, NJ–The 2007 Rebounds Fall League kicked off with a full slate of 12 games on Monday night at the Rebounds Basketball facility in Neptune. All four GMC teams in the league were not only in action, but competing against each other as one of the larger schools in the conference, East Brunswick, took on one of the smaller teams in South Amboy at 7:00 PM. The Guvs jumped out to a 17-0 lead, and never looked back as they surprised the Bears, 41-34. Then, following that game at 8:00 PM, Cardinal McCarrick faced off against South Brunswick in a long awaited rematch of sorts from last year’s tremendous GMC Tournament semifinal, where the Eagles rallied from a huge first half deficit to defeat the Vikings and derail SBHS’ hopes for its first ever conference/county crown. Other teams were in action as well. Monsignor Donovan faced off against Henry Hudson while Asbury Park took on Team ABC among others.
South Amboy Early Rampage Proves To Be Too Much For EB, 41-34
It was a clash between the large and the small in the GMC, and from a historical standpoint, a battle between the haves and have-nots. East Brunswick, one of the largest schools in the Greater Middlesex Conference at Group IV, and from the GMC Red, faced off against Group I and Gold Division member, South Amboy in an opening night contest from the Division B Group of the 2007 Rebounds Fall League. However, the two teams come into the upcoming 2007-08 season with much different perspectives. After being a contender in the GMC Red Division, making back to back Elite Eight appearances in the GMCT, and qualifying for the state tourney in 2006 and 2007, the Bears of EB only have two returning players from last year’s team. Add that to the fact, that East Brunswick lost its entire starting five after the 2005-06 season, the Bears are basically in rebuilding mode. Meanwhile, South Amboy has perhaps its best team in many years with the likes of Mark Simko, Larry Lenahan, Colin Krzyzanowski, and youngsters such as Joe Charmello and Matt Richmond coming back. On top of that, the Guvs have to be the favorite to win the GMC Gold since St. Peter’s closed down this past June leaving what would have been a solid returning Cardinal team out of the mix.
East Brunswick played in the Rebounds Spring League, and knocked off Monroe toward the end of that season, and moved on to the Linden Summer League during the summer. Meanwhile, South Amboy played in both the Spring League and the Summer League down at Rebounds, and made some strides with victories over the likes of Freehold Boro while battling hard in defeat to Shore Regional and Long Branch. For the Guvs, it was an opportunity to make a statement despite the fact that it was only a fall league game. By defeating an established and much bigger program than East Brunswick, the Governors would definitely give their hopes for the upcoming season a big boost. And, right from the get go, South Amboy played as if it hand a lot to gain while East Brunswick played with a lot to lose. The first 7:50 of the contest determined the ultimate outcome as the Guvs came out blazing while the Bears came up shooting blanks.
Within the first eight minutes of the battle, South Amboy embarked on a 17-0 onslaught sparked by Simko, who has shown steady improvement over the spring and summer at Rebounds. Simko scored 11 of his team’s first 17 points, and ended up with 13 for the first half on six field goals and one of two from the first half. Meanwhile, East Brunswick misfired on its first ten shots of the game, and didn’t get on the board until the 10:35 mark when the Bears scored on a jumper from the right side. Mike Mello, one of the two returning players for EB, was not a scoring factor until late in the game as he scored six of his points in the final 1:37 of play. However, Mello did a great job trying to set up his teammates with great penetration and dishes, but his fellow Bears including Scott Stolzenberg failed to convert. South Amboy would be outscored 15-7 over the final 10:35 of the first half, but began the second half with a 13-8 showing for a 37-23 lead with 9:05 remaining. EB wouldn’t never get any closer than six points after that, and that didn’t happen until the 37.8 second mark as the Guvs pulled off a 41-34 surprise. In the first half, Simko comprised of 54.2 percent of South Amboy’s offense while big man Larry Lenahan chipped in with a field goal and 2 of 6 free throws for four points, and a yeoman like effort inside and on the boards against EB’s interior players including Stolzenberg. Also scoring four points in the opening half was Joe Charmello while Colin Krzyzanowski added a field goal for two points.
The Guvs scored right away to start the game as Simko took the opening tip, and connected on a running one hander along the right baseline to make the score, 2-0 at the 19:55 mark. Simko then teamed up with Krzyzanowski on a give and go for a layup at the 19:22 mark for a 4-0 lead. After Stolzenberg missed a pair of foul shots at the 18:43 mark, South Amboy continued its attack when Simko looked left, and found a cutting Charmello for a layup that made the score, 6-0 at the 18:16 mark. Nearly a half minute later, Lenahan showed some great hustle by diving and scrambling for a loose ball, getting the steal, and passing ahead to Simko, who went the length of the floor for a layup from the left side to make it 8-0 at the 17:49 mark. Following an East Brunswick timeout at the 17:47 mark, neither team scored for almost a minute until Lenahan grabbed an offensive rebound off a Charmello miss for a follow that made it 10-0 with 16:52 remaining in the first half. A little more than a half minute after that, Lenahan was at it again with another offensive rebound of a missed jumper by Krzyzanowski for a putback attempt that he was fouled on at the 16:14 mark. Lenahan only made one of two at the line as he had some rare struggles at the line, but it didn’t matter as the Guvs increased their lead to 11-0.
While East Brunswick continued to misfire and make mistakes on offense, the Guvs continued to pile on the points. About a minute and fifteen seconds after Lenahan’s effort at the line, Simko took in a pass from Matt Richmond for a layup at the 15:02 mark for a 13-0 lead. Forty-seven seconds after that, Simko was looking to score again as he drove to his right into the key, and knocked in a running jumper for a 15-0 lead. Simko then made one of two at the line at the 13:36 mark, and Lenahan made another one of two at the 12:10 mark to cap the 17-0 game deciding blitz. Following EB’s first score at the 10:35 mark, Charmello pushed the advantage back to 17 with a reverse layup to make the score, 19-2 at the 8:02 mark before the Bears put together a 7-0 spurt over a span of 3:07 to close the gap to 19-9 as South Amboy called for time at the 4:55 mark. The Bears had instituted a 2-3 zone to try and force South Amboy to shoot more from the perimeter, and it did have some results, and the Guvs missed badly from the outside at times. However, the Guvs were able to put a halt to the rally, and regain control despite a 6-5 edge by EB to end the half, and make it a nine point game at the break.
In the second half, South Amboy got a spark from senior forward, Steve Poltrictzky, who may be an “X” factor for the team’s chances in 2007-08. Poltrictzky, who showed promise prior to his freshman year by leading his South Amboy squad in the 2004 Raritan Bay Summer League, which was the inaugural season of coverage by GMC Hoops. Poltrictzky’s hustle, tenacity, and added relentlessness on the boards provided Lenahan with support inside for the difference in the second half. Poltrictzky gave the Guvs a boost right away in the second half with a layup while being fouled for a three point play that made the score, 27-15 with 19:27 left. East Brunswick got one of two at the line with 18:13 to play that made the score 27-16, and could have crept a bit closer, but Mello failed to connect on a pair of charity shots at the 16:28 mark. Lenahan then skied high for an offensive rebound, and put it back in at the 15:46 mark to make it 29-16. The Bears would get a three pointer to pull within ten at 29-19 with 13:56 to play, but South Amboy would score five of the next seven points over a span of 2:18 to lead again by thirteen at 34-21 despite a charge drawn by Stolzenberg on Simko at the 11:38 mark.
East Brunswick would attempt to rally with an offensive rebound and putback of its own at the 10:10 mark to pull within eleven at 34-23, but South Amboy would take its biggest lead of the second half as Lenahan dribbled into the paint, and then kicked back out to Simko at the top of the key for the first three pointer of the game by the Guvs to make the score, 37-23 at the 9:05 mark. From there, EB rallied with an 11-3 tear over the next 8:28 including two free throws at the 2:38 mark, a back door cut on the left side for a layup at the 1:37 mark, and a drive through the middle for layup at the 55.6 mark by Mello to close the gap to six at 40-34 with 37.8 to play. However, it was too little, too late as South Amboy got one of two at the line from Poltrictzky, who had a field goal and three of five at the foul line for five points in the second half, to close out the 41-34 victory. With the win, South Amboy moved up to 1-0 on the fall while East Brunswick dropped to 0-1. Next Monday night, the Guvs take on the Griffins of Monsignor Donovan while East Brunswick faces off against the G-Force Stallions.
|South Amboy (1-0)||24||17||41|
|East Brunswick (0-1)||15||19||34|
Cardinal McCarrick Stampedes Past South Brunswick, 63-35
Following South Amboy’s surprise win over East Brunswick, GMC Hoops sat down to watch the most anticipated GMC matchup of the night as Cardinal McCarrick faced off against South Brunswick in their opener at the 2007 Rebounds Fall League. McCarrick had its struggles early on as the Vikings led by a new look, Arman Wilson, and the efforts of fellow senior, Jordan Tiecher took a 15-13 lead at the 10:11 mark. However, without the likes of returning players Troy Confessore (soccer) and Mohammed Sanu (football), and with McCarrick having its full arsenal of players including senior Mike Burwell and junior Julio Rosario, who sat out Sunday night’s game against North Hunterdon at the TBSA Fall League, South Brunswick would ultimately give way. For the balance of the first half, the Eagles, which got 18 points from Burwell and 6 points from Rosario, surged past the Vikings, which were out of sync after not playing much together during the summer, to the tune of a 15-1 outburst for a 28-16 halftime lead. Then, in the second half, Cardinal McCarrick opened things up with an 8-0 spurt for a 23-1 surge, and a 36-16 lead before getting sloppy toward the end in an otherwise solid, 63-35 win.
Over a span of 19:56 of the game, McCarrick outscored South Brunswick by a 33-7 margin including an 18-6 tear to begin the second half for a 46-22 lead with 10:15 to go in the game. However, much to the displeasure and disgust of McCarrick coach, Joe Lewis, who was sitting nearby in the stands observing the action, the Eagles got careless offensively for the next 5:15, and the Vikes took advantage with a 13-7 rally to make the game a bit more respectable at 53-35. However, that would be as close as SBHS would get as the Eagles closed the game with a 10-0 run including seven points by Burwell on a three pointer, field goal, and 2 of 2 effort at the foul line while Alvin Baptiste-Ousley added a layup to finish off the 28 point victory. Burwell finished with at least 31 points while Rosario, who took many shots down the stretch including a number of ill-advised ones, ended up with at least 16 to account for approximately 75 percent of the team’s offense. Meanwhile, Wilson, who spent much of his summer on the AAU circuit, had his struggles for South Brunswick, but played on even despite suffering leg cramps early on in the second half. In the first half, Wilson and Tiecher accounted for 62.5 percent of the Viking offense with six and four points respectively. Tiecher actually got all four of his first half points within the first three and a half minutes of the game, but wasn’t really much of a factor the rest of the way.
To quote a South Brunswick parent at the game, “McCarrick was in mid-season form.” The work the Eagles did in the off-season with its participation at the Eastern Team Camp, Linden Summer League, and the Rebounds Team Camp as well as work put in at the lower levels at the Colonia JV and Freshmen Leagues added up to having a team already well prepared for the upcoming 2007-08 season. Meanwhile, South Brunswick played at the TBSA Summer League while the JV also played at Colonia. During the course of the summer the Vikings were without Wilson, and others such as Confessore at times as well. The game started out as if the Eagles were going to roll early as Rosario made a pair of free throws at the 19:12 mark while Wil Snider drew a charge on Wilson at the 18:39 mark, and Burwell scored on a jumper while being fouled, but missed the bonus free throw to make it 4-0 at the 18:15 mark. Cardy Mac’s lead grew to 7-2 before Tiecher, who got South Brunswick on the board with an offensive rebound and putback off a missed jumper by Wilson at the 17:12 mark, made it a three point game with a pair from the foul line to make it 7-4 at the 16:29 mark.
The Eagles would push the lead back to five at 9-4 before Rosario tightened up the defense, and forced a five second violation on Wilson at the 15:45 mark. Tiecher would help the Vikes close the gap within three again as he registered an assist on a layup by Wilson at the 15:00 mark. McCarrick made it a five point lead again as Rosario scored once more on a layup that made it 11-6 with 14:47 to go before the intermission. Over the next 4:36 after the Rosario score, SBHS picked things up, and played their best ball of the game with a 9-2 rally that gave the Vikes a 15-13 lead at the 10:11 mark. Chris Weir sparked the spurt with a lefty layup off an assist by Sean Lease to make the score, 11-8 at the 13:42 mark. Lease then followed that up with one of two free throws to make it 11-9 at the 13:18 mark. Wilson then tied the game with an offensive rebound off his own missed shot, and followed it in for an 11-11 score with 12:19 remaining before halftime. Burwell briefly put a halt to the rally with a drive to the right side for a layup, and a 13-11 McCarrick lead with 12:03 to play in the first half, but the Vikings scored the next four as Lease blocked a Burwell shot that was rebounded by Weir, who passed ahead to Wilson for a finger roll layup that tied it, and then SBHS got another score to make it 15-13.
Following a Cardinal McCarrick timeout at the 10:11 mark, neither team scored for the next 1:10 before Snider found fellow guard, Eliazor Landano for a short jumper from the left wing to tie it up at 15-15. Burwell followed with a three pointer from the top of the key at the 7:27 mark, and then Rosario got a steal off a deflection for a layup to make it 20-15 with 7:14 to go in the half. A little more than a half minute later, Burwell got a layin to make it 22-15, and then after two missed free throws by the Vikings, Landano found Burwell for a jumper from the left wing that made the score, 24-15 with 4:48 remaining before the brief break. Wilson then came up empty at the foul line at the 4:15 mark, and the Eagles capitalized less than a minute after that as Rosario got a rebound, pushed the ball upcourt on the break, and dished to his right to a cutting Burwell for a layup that made it 26-15. South Brunswick ended a scoreless drought of 7:29 with one of two free throws to make it 26-16, but Burwell closed out the first half scoring with a spin move for a turnaround jumper from the right side that got a kind bounce for a 28-16 lead at the half.
In the second half, Cardinal McCarrick essentially put the game away with an 8-0 spurt at the start for a 36-16 lead with 16:42 left. Burwell handed out an assist on a layup by Rosario to open up the second half scoring for a 30-16 lead at the 19:55 mark. Burwell then followed that up with a hard drive on the right side, which he got fouled on, and made a pair of free throws at the 19:20 mark for a 32-16 lead. McCarrick added another score before Landano made an entry pass down low to Burwell on the right side for a layup that made it a twenty point lead with less than seventeen minutes remaining. Meanwhile, South Brunswick didn’t get on the board in the second half until about the 16:30, and at the 15:56 mark, Tiecher made one of two free throws for a 36-19 Eagle lead. Up to that point, SBHS had only managed a field goal and two free throws over a span of 15:15. Moreover, Wilson had to go to the sidelines with leg cramps. Cardy Mac then got six straight points from Rosario on an easy layup off a fast break chance to make it 38-19 at the 15:27 mark, a hard drive through traffice for a layup and a foul (he missed the bonus free throw) at the 15:04 mark, and then another layup at the 13:24 mark for a 42-19 lead as the Eagles ended up starting the second half with an 18-6 tear for a 46-22 lead with 10:15 to go.
However, McCarrick would get complacent and sloppy for a few minutes as Rosario seemed to take a jump shot every time he got the ball, and the Vikings took advantage with 13 of the next 20 points to try and make things not only more respectable, but more interesting down the stretch. Wilson highlighted the run by moving left for a jumper that made the score, 48-26 with 8:55 remaining. Closing the gap to 53-35 with exactly five minutes left, South Brunswick was unable to get any closer as the Eagles shutdown SBHS the rest of the way for the 63-35 victory. McCarrick raised its record to 1-0 on the fall with the win while South Brunswick dropped to 0-1. Next Monday, South Brunswick will take on Manasquan while Cardinal McCarrick will try to run its Rebounds unbeaten streak to ten in a row as the Eagles face St. John Vianney of Holmdel.
|Cardinal McCarrick (1-0)||28||35||63|
|South Brunswick (0-1)||16||19||35|
Late Spurt Gives Mon Don Edge Over Henry Hudson, 37-29
While South Amboy was surprising East Brunswick, Monsignor Donovan had its hands full late with the Admirals of Henry Hudson, which have qualified for the state tournament in each of the past two years after going through years of struggle along the Northern Monmouth County shoreline. Mon Don, which had a tremendous team nearly two years ago led by current Stonehill guard, Randall Stallworth, jumped out to an 8-0 lead within the first seven minutes of play, and lead by as many as nine at 13-4 with 6:15 left in the half before Henry Hudson cut into the lead with a 7-6 showing the rest of the way to pull within eight at the break, 19-11.
In the second half, the Admirals crept a bit closer with a 6-4 edge over the first 7:41 to pull within seven at 23-17 before Mon Don got a free throw at the 12:19 mark to make it a seven point lead. The Griffins then added four more points to make it a 5-0 run for a 28-17 advantage at the 8:21 mark before Henry Hudson rallied with nine consecutive points over a span of 2:40 to pull within two at 28-26 with 5:41 to play. However, that would be as close as the Admirals would get as the team that lost to Metuchen in the opening round of the 2007 Central Jersey Group I State Tournament, couldn’t get any closer. Monsignor Donovan closed out the game with a 9-3 spurt for the 37-29 win. Next Monday night, the Griffins take on South Amboy at 8:00 PM while Henry Hudson plays Ocean at 9:00 PM.
|Monsignor Donovan (1-0)||19||18||37|
|Henry Hudson (0-1)||11||18||29|
Asbury Park Pulls Away In Second Half To Defeat Team ABC, 55-41
While Cardinal McCarrick was rolling past South Brunswick, the Bishops of Asbury Park were taking on Team ABC on an adjacent court. In the first half, Asbury Park, which lost to Create Charter in the Central Jersey Group I final this past March, jumped out to the early lead at 15-12 over the first 9:06 of the game. Then, the Bishops, which also won the 2006 St. Peter’s Cardiinal Classic by defeating Spotswood in the first round, and the host school, St. Peter’s Cardinals in the Championship, closed the half with a 9-8 edge to increase its lead slightly to 24-20 going into the brief break. Then, in the second half, Asbury Park pulled away with a 31-21 showing for the 55-41 victory. The Bishops went to work right away in half number two with a score at the 19:15 mark for a six point, 26-20 lead. The nearby school then added to its lead with one of two free throws at the 18:07 that made the score, 27-20. Asbury Park then made it a 7-0 run with four more points over the next 3:16 for a 31-20 lead.
Nineteen seconds after that, the Bishops, which have dramatically improved over the past couple seasons with a state tourney berth in 2005 as well as their run in 2006 after a number of years in disarray, added another score to make it 33-20 as Team ABC called for time at the 14:32 mark. Following the timeout, Team ABC seemed to make headway with a 4-0 run, but that was quelled by an Asbury Park three pointer at the 12:20 mark to make it 36-24. Team ABC tried again with another 4-0 run, but once more it was halted by another three from the Bishops to make the score, 39-28 with 11:17 to play. Asbury Park then put the game away with an 8-2 run for a 47-30 advantage with just 6:11 remaining. From there, the Bishops were never really threatened despite being outscored down the stretch 11-8 for the final, 55-41 score. With the win, Asbury Park moves up to 1-0 while Team ABC falls to 0-1. Next Monday, the Bishops are scheduled to play Point Pleasant while Team ABC will take on St. Rose.
|Asbury Park (1-0)||24||31||55|
|Team ABC (0-1)||20||21||41|
EDISON, NJ–The second week of action completed on Sunday night at the 2007 TBSA Fall League at the Shooting Academy in Edison with at least three teams undefeated: Bridgewater, Piscataway, and Trenton. Meanwhile, four teams are still winless including: Bishop Ahr, North Hunterdon, Notre Dame, and Timothy Christian. A few teams are at .500 including: Cardinal McCarrick, Colonia, J.P. Stevens, Montgomery, and Roselle Catholic. There are games from earlier in the evening on Sunday that GMC Hoops missed out on, and we’re working on getting the results from former Colonia head coach, and league director, Ken Pace. Speaking of results, the web site was able to obtain the other results from games played earlier last Sunday, September 9th. So, you may want to go back and read the blog entry from the day’s action.
Back to this Sunday’s action, Bridgewater managed to stay unbeaten by easily defeating Bishop Ahr by a 57-37 count. The Panthers, which opened their season by defeating J.P. Stevens in our feature game, broke away from a 37-25 lead with 10:15 left in the game by virtue of a 20-12 run to close the game for the twenty point victory on Court #2. Meanwhile, nearby over on Court #3, P-Way trailed Notre Dame of the Colonial Valley Conference by nine points at halftime, but rallied in the second half with a 32-20 showing to overcome some difficulties for the hard fought, 44-41 win. At 7:00 PM, Colonia had a rematch against a foe it often competes against in the Linden Summer League, Roselle Catholic. Unfortunately for the Lions, they were without the presence of two key starters, Brendan Trelease and Matt Henn, and it showed in a huge way. The Patriots opened the game with a 19-0 rampage over the first 10:02, took a 40-9 halftime lead, and went on to win easily, 68-21 on Court #3. In a non-GMC matchup on Court #2, Trenton had a bit of a shaky start against Timothy Christian of Piscataway and the Patriot Conference, but the Tornadoes turned things around in the second half for an easy win. Trenton Central had some trouble in the first half as the Tigers finished the first half with a 7-4 run to close to within ten at 33-23 going into the intermission, but the Tornadoes from the Colonial Valley Conference outscored TCS by a 2 to 1 margin for a 69-41 rout.
Finally, at 8:00 PM on Court #2, Cardinal McCarrick trailed early 13-8, but finished the first half with a 14-4 rally to take a five point, 22-17 lead. However, without the services of talented varsity players Mike Burwell and Julio Rosario, which are focusing their efforts on the Rebounds Fall League in Neptune, the Eagles would fall prey to a 23-6 Lion surge over the first 8:31 of the second half for a 40-28 North Hunterdon lead. From there, both teams played even with a 13-13 score as the Lions from the Delaware West Division of the Skyland Conference, pulled out the 53-41 win to even up their record at .500. Meanwhile, on Court #3, J.P. Stevens started out fast against the Cougars of Montgomery with a 12-4 lead in the first 5:25, and went on to lead, 30-20 at the half, but the Cougars rallied with a 12-4 tear to open the second half for a 34-32 JPS lead with 15:31 to play. However, in the end, Stevens put the game out of reach with a 22-8 outburst over a span of 12:13 to take a 56-40 lead with 3:18 left, and ultimately won the matchup, 56-46.
Bridgewater Rolls By Ahr Thanks To Late Surge, 57-37
The Panthers of Bridgewater remained undefeated thanks to a strong finish against the still winless Trojans of Bishop Ahr. With 10:30 remaining in the game, Bridgewater-Raritan led by a 37-23 margin. Fifteen seconds after that, Derek Figueredo got an offensive rebound and follow for BGA that trimmed the deficit to just a dozen at 37-25 at the 10:15 mark. Over the next 3:43, the Panthers and Trojans dueled to the tune of a 7-6 advantage for Bridgewater despite a missed one handed dunk, and a subsequent missed offensive rebound and follow, and another offensive rebound, and missed putback attempt with the score 44-31 with 6:32 remaining.
Bridgewater-Raritan, which closed the game with a 20-12 run, scored the next five points after that to increase its lead to 49-31 with just 3:30 to play. Eleven seconds later, the Panthers got another score to make it a twenty point bulge at 51-31 with 3:19 left. Kevin Uszenski tried to make things respectable for the Trojans with a three point play at the 3:00 mark, and Mike Williamson had a three pointer late, but Bridgewater ended up with a 57-37 win to go 2-0 on the fall while Ahr slipped to 0-2. Next Sunday, Bridgewater takes on Timothy Christian at 7:00 PM while BGA, which has faced two of the top teams in Group IV so far this fall, will battle Montgomery at 8:00 PM.
Piscataway Rallies In Second Half To Defeat ND, 44-41
According to P-Way’s fall league coach, Jeff Adkins, the Chiefs had their troubles early on as Notre Dame of Lawrenceville and the Colonial Valley Conference, lived up to the billing it earned at the end of last season when it not only knocked off Bishop Ahr at home, but also when it traveled down to South Jersey, and defeated second seeded St. Augustine’s of Richland in the Quarterfinal round of the 2007 Non-Public A South State Tournament last March. The Irish jumped out to a 21-12 halftime lead, but Piscataway fought back to the tune of a 17-5 outburst over the first 9:50 of the second half to take a 29-26 lead. Notre Dame would take the lead back as the Irish got a steal at half court for a layup for a P-Way 29-28 lead at the 9:20 mark, and then caught a break as they were awarded for a score on a breakaway foul that was set up by a steal and half court that was attempted to be converted into a layup at the 9:05 mark to make it 30-29.
However, the Chiefs took the lead again as sophomore, Wayne Newsome, made a pair of free throws at the 8:24 mark to make it 31-30. Piscataway had a chance to increase its edge, but after grabbing a rebound in the backcourt, Tristian Benjamin, promptly threw the ball out of bounds with an errant pass intended for Omar Smith at the 7:19 mark. Notre Dame eventually tied things up at 33-33 at the 4:05 mark, and then took a one point, 34-33 advantage on a foul shot at the 3:48 mark. Smith then took over the game with some echoes of his clutch performance against Cardinal McCarrick in the 2007 GMCT Championship.
First, the senior forward drove through the lane for a layup, and drew a foul, whch resulted in a pair of charity shots at the 3:20 mark to make it 35-34. then, he followed that up with a drive down left side of the key for a layup to make it a three point lead at 37-34 with 2:36 to play. Benjamin padded the Chief advantage with a pair of free throws to make it 39-34 with 1:47 left. Following a bank shot by Notre Dame at the 1:29 mark to cut the deficit to three at 39-36, Benjamin struck again by penetrating and kicking out to Jeff Adkins, Jr. in the left corner for a jumper that made it 41-36 with 1:11 left. Smith and Benjamin then finished things off by each getting one of two at the line over the final thirty seconds for a 43-36 lead as P-Way went on to win by three, 44-41. With the victory, Piscataway improved to 2-0 while Notre Dame slipped to 0-2. Next Sunday, the Chiefs will play against Elizabeth in a highly anticipated matchup while Notre Dame will face off against Cardinal McCarrick. Both games will take place at 6:00 PM.
|Notre Dame (0-2)||20||21||41|
Colonia Routs Undermanned Roselle Catholic, 68-21
This game was over before it got a chance to get started. The Patriots took advantage of the shorthanded Lions, which were without the services of two key veterans, Brendan Trelease and Matt Henn for the easy rout. Colonia jumped out to a 19-0 lead over the first 10:02 as the Pats made eight field goals and a three pointer during the span. Brandon Hall spearheaded the onslaught with a field goal and three assists during the span while Jeff Mentzel, who made great strides during the summer by running the floor well, continued to play well with three field goals including a steal that led to a layup off a give and go with Hall at the 18:21 mark, an offensive rebound and putback off a Hall miss at the 17:38, and then a layin to cap the 19-0 opening outburst at the 9:58 mark. Xavier Coleman added a layup at the 11:25 mark to make it 17-0 while another Patriot player knocked in a three pointer off an assist by Hall at the 13:09 mark to make it 11-0.
Following a timeout at the 9:44 mark, the Lions made perhaps their best run of the contest with five of the next seven points to close within 21-5 at the 6:30 mark. However, Colonia increased the lead back to eighteen as Hall drove in for a right handed layup off a fast break to make it 23-5 at the 6:15 mark. Hall then followed that up with a steal off a deflection for a layup that made it 25-6 at the 5:47 mark. CHS got six more points including an offensive rebound and putback by Nnamdi Usuwa off a missed jumper by J.J. D’Amico at the 3:54 mark to cap the run, and make it 31-6. But, Colonia didn’t stop there. The Patriots reeled off nine more points for a 19-1 rampage to make it a 40-6 rout with 1:19 remaining in the first half. Roselle Catholic salvaged what it could in the final minute before intermission with the last three points of the first half to make it 40-9, but it was much too little, much too late.
In the second half, neither team scored much in the first three minutes as Roselle Catholic made one of two free throws at the 17:00 mark to make it a 40-10 game with the only point of the early span. Colonia got its first points of half number two as Hall dished to Mentzel for a layup attempt that the latter was fouled on. The senior forward then made both foul shots for a 42-10 lead at the 15:59 mark. Over the next 10:15, CHS scored 14 of the next 18 points to take a commanding 56-14 advantage with 5:44 to play. Colonia continued to dominate with four of the next six points over the subsequent 3:02 for a 60-16 lead. After yielding the first points of the half, the Pats outscored RC by a 20-6 margin for its insurrmountable lead. The game didn’t end well either as the Patriots continued to put on a clinic with 8 of the last 13 points to round out the final, 68-21 score. With the win, Colonia improved to 1-1 on the fall while Roselle Catholic fell to 1-1. Next Sunday, the Patriots square off against Trenton at 7:00 PM while Roselle Catholic battles St. Joseph’s at 5:00 PM.
|Roselle Catholic (1-1)||9||12||21|
Trenton Pulls Away In Second Half For Easy Win, 69-41
This 7:00 PM game over on Court #2 wasn’t expected to be closer than the game on Court #3 between Colonia and Roselle Catholic, but it ended up being that way, and in the first half, things were a bit interesting for a while. Over the first 13:24 of the game, the Tornadoes, which won the Central Jersey Group IV bracket in 2003, 2005, and 2006, scored 23 of the first 36 points for a ten point lead with 6:26 left in the half. Timothy Christian made a three pointer at the 6:13 mark to make it 23-16 in favor of Trenton while the Colonial Valley Conference team was called for traveling on a subsequent possession before getting another score at the four minute mark to make it 25-16. The Tornadoes added four more points over the next two minutes for a 6-0 run, and a 29-16 lead with two minutes left in the half.
The Tigers showed some heart and guts by fighting back with seven of the final eleven points of the half including a 4-0 burst in the final minute to cut the deficit back to ten at 33-23 going into the brief break. In the second half, the game began to follow its expected script as the Tornadoes embarked on a 29-11 surge over the first 12:37 to take a 62-34 lead with 7:23 left. Timothy Christian couldn’t get any closer despite a 7-5 run over the next 6:17 to make it a 67-41 game as Trenton went on to win by a 69-41 margin. With the victory, the Tornadoes raised its record to 2-0 on the fall while Timothy Christian dropped to 0-2. Things don’t get any easier for the Tigers, which are scheduled to face another undefeated team in Bridgewater at 7:00 PM on Court #2 on Sunday while Trenton faces off against Colonia at the same time over on Court #3.
|Timothy Christian (0-2)||23||18||41|
North Hunterdon Powers Past Shorthanded McCarrick, 53-41
Without the likes of Mike Burwell and Julio Rosario in the lineup, the Eagles were hard pressed to get a win against North Hunterdon. Not to say that it was impossible since Cardy Mac won its first game by four over Warren Hills in the fall league opener. Nevertheless, the Lions jumped out to a 13-8 lead with 8:40 left in the opening half before McCarrick rallied with a 14-4 tear to close out the half for a 22-17 lead at the intermission. The Eagles began their run with a basket at the 7:30 mark, and then Eliazor Landano knocked down a three pointer from the left corner at the 6:41 mark to tie things up at 13-13. Branten Widgeon then followed that up with an offensive rebound and follow for a 15-13 lead with 5:57 to go in the half. Cardinal McCarrick got another score for a 9-0 run before North Hunterdon called a timeout at the 5:39 mark with the score, 17-13.
The timeout didn’t seem to be the tonic as the Eagles reeled off five of the next six points including one of two free throws by Alvin Baptiste-Ousley at the 4:50 mark for a 22-14 lead before the Lions got a reverse layup that made it 22-16 at the 1:29 mark. McCarrick ended up leading by five, 22-17 at halftime. In the second half, North Hunterdon took over the game with a 23-6 surge over the first 8:31 to turn a five point deficit into a twelve point, 40-28 advantage with 11:29 to go. Neither team scored for over two and a half minutes after that before the Eagles got on the board as Tom Costello grabbed an offensive rebound and passed out to Landano for a shot attempt, which the diminutive junior guard was fouled on. Landano then made both at the free throw line to trim the gap to ten at 40-30 with 8:56 remaining. The Lions would retaliate though with a score down low with exactly eight minutes left to make the lead a dozen again at 42-30.
Twenty-three seconds after that, North Hunterdon got another score on an offensive rebound and a jumper from the right baseline on the follow that got a kind roll for a 44-30 lead. Cardy Mac would trim the lead a bit with a 6-5 run over the next 3:46 including one of two free throws at the 3:51 mark that made it 49-36. However, the Eagles weren’t able to get any closer despite getting a 5-4 edge down the stretch as the Lions came away victorious, 53-41. With the win, North Hunterdon raised its record to 1-1 while Cardinal McCarrick slipped to 1-1. The Lions will square off next against Monroe at 5:00 PM next Sunday while McCarrick will take on Notre Dame of Lawrenceville at 6:00 PM.
|North Hunterdon (1-1)||17||36||53|
|Cardinal McCarrick (1-1)||22||19||41|
Hawks Pull Away From Pesky Cougars, 56-46
After losing to the Bridgewater Panthers on opening night, the J.P. Stevens were faced with another Delaware East Division team from the Skyland Conference this past Sunday night in one of the two finales in the second week of action at the 2007 TBSA Fall League. Led by not only the efforts of the usual suspects of Kenny Bland and Myles Reuben, but also senior forward, Teryl Dunlap, who played one of his better games, the Hawks jumped out to a 30-20 first half lead, and then after withstanding a strong flurry from Montgomery early on in the second half, pulled away for the 56-46 victory.
The Cougars, which were just a Group II school in terms of size as recent as the 2001 season, and are now playing with the big boys in Group IV, embarked on a 9-0 spurt over a span of 2:30 to cap a 12-4 rally to begin the second half, and close what was once an eleven point gap at 34-23 to just two at 34-32 with 15:31 to play in the contest. Senior Kevin Tarca led the charge for the Cougars. However, Bland ended the rally with a pair of fre throws at the 15:00 mark to make the score, 36-32. Twenty-two seconds later, Reuben came up with a huge block of a shot attempt underneath Stevens basket, and then at the 14:00 mark, Bland scored again on a layup off a follow of a missed shot by Nick Pol to make it 39-32. Pol would get on the board himself with an offensive rebound of a missed jumper by Bland and follow in the form of a turnaround jumper to make it a 9-0 run that cancelled the early rally by the Cougars, and made it 43-32 with 11:25 to play.
Montgomery, which was held scoreless for approximately six minutes, finally got on the board again with 9:30 to play as it made a pair of free throws to close the gap to nine again at 43-34. Unfortunately for the Cougars, J.P. Stevens quickly responded as Reuben got a bucket on a follow off a Bland miss at the 8:46 mark. The Hawks then put the game essentially away with a 7-2 spurt over the next 3:01 for a 52-36 lead with 5:45 remaining. Tarca did what he could to try and turn the tide with a putback at the 5:17 mark, and then a jumper at the 4:03 mark to make it a 54-40 game. However, it wouldn’t be enough as Reuben made a pair of free throws to make it a 56-40 game with 3:18 left, and Stevens went on to win, 56-46. In the first half, JPS started out strong with twelve of the first sixteen points including a rebound and follow by Dunlap off a missed breakaway layup by Pol at the 16:32 mark to make it 8-2, a Reuben jumper from the left wing to make it 10-2 at the 15:30 mark, and another offensive rebound and follow by Dunlap off an air ball by Patrick Lem for a 12-4 lead at the 14:35 mark. Montgomery, which managed only one field goal over the first 8:43, made a pair of free throws at the 13:52 mark to make it 12-6 before Bland replied with a one of two showing at the foul line to make it 13-6 with 12:35 remaining in the first half.
After the Cougars registered their second field goal of the first half off a fine execution of the sideline break for a layup that made it 13-8 at the 11:17 mark, JPS scored the next four points including a bucket off a baseline drive that was set up nicely by an entry pass from Reuben that made the score, 17-8 with 7:42 to go before the intermission. Over the next 3:42, the Hawks managed to slightly increase its lead with an 8-7 showing during the stretch for a 23-15 advantage with exactly four minutes to play before the brief break. Then, led by the trio of Bland, Reuben, and Dunlap, J.P. Stevens reeled off seven straight points in a span of about two minutes to take a 30-17 lead with 1:24 to play in the first half. Bland helped initiate the spurt with a steal and assist on a layup by Reuben at the 2:21 mark to make the score, 27-17. Shortly afterward, Bland came up with another steal and assist, but this time it was on a layup by Dunlap at the 1:37 mark that increased the Hawks advantage to 29-17. Dunlap then closed out the run and Stevens’ first half scoring with a one of two effort from the charity stripe to make it 30-17. Montgomery then closed out the opening half scoring with a three pointer from the top of the key for a 30-20 Hawk lead at the intermission.
With the victory, J.P. Stevens evened its record at 1-1 on the fall, and will take on another Skyland Conference team, but from the Delaware West Division in Warren Hills at 8:00 PM on Court #2 this coming Sunday. Meanwhile, Montgomery dropped to 1-1 on the season, and will face another North Edison squad when it squares off against Bishop Ahr at the same 8:00 PM start time over on Court #3.
|J.P. Stevens (1-1)||30||26||56|
So far, of the 14 games that GMC Hoops has results for, there have been 12 games involving GMC teams competing against non-conference foes. If you recall, the GMC went 15-21 against its non-conference opponents in the 2006 TBSA Fall League. Through the first two weeks of the 2007 TBSA Fall League, the ten teams from the GMC have gone 6-6 in the 12 games we have gotten results for. Here’s how the other conferences break down against the GMC: Colonial Valley Conference (1-2), Skyland Conference (4-3), Watchung Conference (1-0), and Mountain Valley Conference (0-1).
PLAINFIELD, NJ–The second night of action at the 2007 HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic at Plainfield High School had a full slate of games including two at 6:30 PM, two at 7:30 PM, and one at 8:30 PM. GMC Hoops was there to cover four of the five games on the night including two involving the only three GMC schools in the league (Piscataway dropped out). At 6:30 PM on Court #2, Spotswood battled Franklin in a game that involved two teams that played in the only two contests on Monday night. Meanwhile, nearby on Court #1, host school Plainfield took on Roselle in a battle of two Union County schools. At 7:30 PM, Metuchen squared off against Woodbridge on Court #1 while Columbia took on Hillsborough on Court #2. In the finale at 8:30 PM, Watchung Hills faced off against Shabazz of Newark.
Franklin Pulls Away In Second Half To Top Spotswood, 52-36
After leading by only four at halftime, 22-18, the Franklin Warriors of Somerset County and the Delaware East Division of the Skyland Conference pulled away with a 30-18 showing in the second half for a 52-36 victory of Spotswood of the GMC’s Blue Division. The Chargers scoring game from just four players. Junior Ross Gerhart led the team with 17 points while fellow junior Pat Dwyer added seven along with sophomore James Pareti. Cody Pace chipped in with five while Tyler Osofsky did not play due to commitments to football. At the time of my arrival, Franklin was already well in control of things with a 50-31 lead with about five minutes remaining. Dwyer missed a pair of free throws with about 3:30 remaining, and then had a nice looking jumper roll out before knocking one down with about 2:30 left to make it 50-33.
Pareti then got the Chargers final points of the game as he got a basket and a foul for a three point play with about two minutes to play to make it 50-36. However, Spotswood was unable to get any closer. Franklin, which raised its record to 2-0 on the fall, finished the game off with a fast break layup that made the final score 52-36. The Warriors, which went undefeated during the regular season at the Middlesex County College Summer League before losing in the semifinals of the post-season tournament to Sayreville, are scheduled to play Hunterdon Central on Monday, September 17th at 7:30 PM, and then have an off day on Wednesday, September 19th. Meanwhile, Spotswood, which dropped to 0-2, have another full week of games with a GMC Blue showdown against Metuchen on September 17th at 6:30 PM, and then a game against Watchung Hills on September 19th at 7:30 PM.
Plainfield Cruises Past Roselle On Strong Second Half, 71-46
In front of a small, but rather raucous partisan crowd, the Cardinals of Plainfield High School jumped out to a 33-20 halftime lead, and then edged the Roselle Rams by a 19-14 margin over the first 11:40 of the second half for a 52-34 lead with 8:20 remaining. PHS got another score over the next 1:20 for a 54-34 advantage with seven minutes to play. Nineteen seconds later, the Cardinals, which have reached the Final Four of the North Jersey Section 2 Group IV sectional in both 2006 and 2007, and have won the Fall-Ball Classic two years in a row, then made one of two at the line to spark an 8-3 spurt over the next 4:01 to take a 62-37 lead with 2:40 left.
Both teams scored nine points apiece down the stretch to shape the final 71-46 score. With the win, Plainfield raised its record to 1-0 while Roselle fell to 0-1. The Cardinals have a full schedule next week with a game versus Hillsborough at 6:30 PM on Monday, September 17th, and a key showdown with 2-0 Columbia on Wednesday, September 19th at 7:30 PM. Meanwhile, Roselle has two games next week as well with a tough matchup versus Shabazz of Newark on Monday at 7:30 PM, and a rematch of last year’s tough first round playoff loss against Woodbridge on Wednesday at 8:30 PM.
Columbia Wins Second Straight, 51-33
Fresh off its win over Spotswood on opening night, the Cougars from Maplewood, Essex County, and the Iron Hills Conference had some difficulties in the early going as they only led Hillsborough by six, 19-13 at the intermission. However, Columbia started the second half with a 12-2 spurt over the first five minutes to break out to a 31-15 lead, and cruised from there to a 51-33 victory over the Raiders from Somerset County and the Skyland Conference’s Delaware East Division.
With the victory, Columbia raised its record to 2-0 on the fall, and will have the night off on Monday, the 17th of September before taking on Plainfield on September 19th in what could be a battle of two undefeated 3-0 teams. Meanwhile, Hillsborough, which lost a tough one against conference rival Franklin on Monday night, dropped to 0-2. The Raiders schedule next week consists of two tough matchups versus Watchung Conference teams: Plainfield and Shabazz.
Bullock Leads Woodbridge Past Metuchen, 44-24
The Woodbridge Barrons are looking to improve on their very difficult season in 2006-07. With losses to graduation in 2006 that included current Rutgers football player, Shamar Graves, the Barrons, which made the state tournament for two consecutive years (2005 and 2006) by making tremendous runs late in January to qualify, only went 1-21 with the only victory coming against Monroe at home. There is talent in Woodbridge despite losing the likes of Deryk Lockett to graduation. Anthony Graham leads some talented seniors that also includes the likes of Kirk Zambrano, Cory Pinto, Ricky Ng, and Dave Silvasadder. Meanwhile, the program had a solid JV team that finished third in the 2006 Colonia JV Summer League regular season, and lost to Roselle in the post-season tournament Championship. Then, in the 2006-07 regular season, the Junior Barrons played in an epic and controversial overtime game at Sayreville, where Woodbridge lost 61-58. The Junior Barrons ended up earning the ninth seed in the 2007 East Brunswick/GMC JV Tournament, where they won their first round game over next door neighbor Perth Amboy before losing to eighth seeded East Brunswick in the second round.
Coming up from that JV squad are Gerard Bullock and Blair Dolphin, who also were varsity reserves in 2006-07. Bullock led the charge against Metuchen on Wednesday night. Making five field goals and two foul shots for 12 first half points to help Woodbridge rally from an early 8-4 deficit to take a 20-10 lead. The 16-2 outburst turned the entire game around as the Barrons ended up leading at halftime, 27-14, and then started the second half with a 12-4 spurt including and 8-0 run to take a commanding 39-18 lead. From there, Woodbridge never looked back in a 44-24 landslide victory over Metuchen. Besides Bullock’s twelve points, Graham added three field goals for six points while Ng chipped in with a field goal and 3 of 4 from the foul line for 5 points. The three combined for 23 of the team’s 27 first half points, or 85.2 percent of Woodbridge’s offense. Metuchen got off to a fast start as junior forward, Cody Preston scored each of the Bulldogs first two scores for a 4-0 lead, and then handed out an assist with a lob pass to Evan Carberry for a layup that made it 8-4 with 15:31 to play in the first half. However, Ng would score a layup on the very next Woodbridge possession, and the Bulldogs would be without a basket for 2:52 before Carberry scored on a drive from the left side into the key for a hook shot that banked in for a 12-10 Woodbridge lead with 12:39 to go before the intermission.
Carberry’s basket would actually be the last basket the Bulldogs would have for about 7:24 as Woodbridge scored twelve unanswered points for a 24-10 lead. The run included a Graham baseline drive for a layup at the 12:03 mark for a 14-10 advantage, a Bullock jumper from up near the top of the key at the 11:11 for a 16-10 advantage, a Graham steal for an unassisted layup at the 9:24 mark for an 18-10 lead, an offensive rebound and putback by Bullock at the 8:52 mark for a 20-10 edge, and then Bullock closed things out with two jumpers from the left wing at the 6:30 and 5:26 marks for a 24-10 lead. Bullock (8 points) and Graham (4 points) combined for all 12 points scored during the tear. Metuchen finally stopped the bleeding offensively with a score at about the 5:15 mark, but on the next Woodbridge possession, Graham scored on a layin over Akheem Greene for a 26-12 margin at the 4:57 mark, and Ng made one of two foul shots at the 3:43 mark before Carberry got the final points of the first half with a layup off a steal at the 3:00 mark to make it a 27-14 score at the half as neither team scored the rest of the way before the break.
The second half began with Woodbridge picking up right where it left off in the first half as Bullock handed out an assist on an Ng layup to make it 29-14 at the 19:06 mark, and then Bullock got on the board himself by cashing in on his own miss with an offensive rebound and putback to answer an earlier Metuchen score for a 31-16 lead ith 17:38 left in the contest. Ng misfired on both free throw attempts at the 16:09 mark, and the Bulldogs closed to within thirteen at the 15:45 mark on a foul line jumper that made it 31-18. However, that would be as close as MHS would get the rest of the way as the Barrons reeled off four points over a span of 2:43, and then forced a Metuchen turnover.
Although Woodbridge didn’t cash in on that miscue, it got a nice drive and assist by Graham for a layup to make it 37-18, and then Tim Weber got into the act with a steal and assist to Graham for an easy layup, and a 39-18 advantage with 11:44 to play. Neither team scored a lot of points after that as both teams combined for just 11 points over the remaining time in the second half with Metuchen garnering a 6-5 edge for the 44-24 Woodbridge win. The Barrons raised their record to 1-0, and will play two 8:30 PM games next week against Watchung Hills on Monday, and Roselle on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Metuchen dropped to 0-1, and will have two 6:30 PM games next week against Spotswood on Monday and Hunterdon Central on Wednesday.
PLAINFIELD, NJ–In a shortened schedule, Franklin Township and Columbia of Maplewood came up winners on opening night of the 14th annual HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic at Plainfield High School. Originally scheduled to have four games on Monday night, HBA had to postpone two of them including the first game of the evening between Piscataway and Metuchen, and the third game of the night between two rivals from the Watchung Conference, Plainfield and Shabazz of Newark. The latter of the two was postponed to a later date due to the fact that the Shabazz coach had a death in the family, and was unable to get back in time.
Nevertheless, there were still two games played including a thrilling matchup between two rivals from the Skyland Conference’s Delaware East Division in Franklin and Hillsborough. The opening game of the night and the season went right down to the wire with the Franklin Warriors, coached by Ian Turnbull of the CJOETO Panthers, winning at the buzzer. Franklin could have itself a good year after going through a few down seasons recently. The Warriors went undefeated during the regular season at the Middlesex County College Summer League, but then lost to Sayreville in the semifinals of the playoffs.
In the final game of the night, and the only one covered by GMC Hoops, Columbia of Maplewood and the Iron Hills Conference took on Spotswood, one of the four GMC teams presently in the Fall-Ball Classic. The Cougars, which finished second to Plainfield in last year’s edition of the Fall-Ball Classic, jumped out to a commanding 35-15 lead at the half, and never really looked back as they outscored the Chargers by a 31-19 margin in the second half for a 66-34 victory. Starting the second half, Columbia picked up right where it left off with 19 of the first 26 points to take a 54-22 lead at the 11:29 mark.
The Cougars opened the scoring with an entry pass in the paint for a layup and a foul, but missed the bonus free throw for a 37-15 lead just 23 seconds into the new half. Spotswood got on the board less than a minute later as Pat Dwyer got the ball on the right side, took a couple dribbles out from the right low block, and banked in a shot to make it 37-17 with 18:42 remaining in the game. A little more than forty seconds after that, Cody Pace cut the Columbia lead even further with a three pointer to make it 37-20 with 18:01 to play. However, the Maplewood school responded with a three point play at the 17:31 mark, and then a three pointer from the right wing at the 17:08 mark for a 43-20 lead. Columbia didn’t stop there as Jameel Grace, the talented senior guard, cashed in with a layup off a Columbia steal of an errant pass by Dwyer for a 45-20 advantage with 16:15 to play, and then Grace swiped a steal, and handed out an assist on another Cougar layup for a 47-20 lead with 16:09 remaining.
The Chargers tried really hard to keep up with Columbia, but when the Cougars’ talent didn’t get the job done, the team’s hustle made up for it by doing such things as drawing a charge on a driving Spotswood player with exactly sixteen minutes left. The Cougars then made one of two free throws for a 48-22 lead, and added to that with a three pointer at the twelve minute mark for a 51-22 score. Thirty-one seconds later, Columbia got three points in a more conventional fashion as it got a layup while being fouled for a three point play, and a 54-22 lead with 11:29 left. Tyler Osofsky the younger brother of recent Spotswood graduate, Bryan Osofsky, scored three straight points on a running jumper from the right wing to make it 54-24 at the 11:00 mark, and then one of two from the line a half minute later to make it 54-25. Unfortunately though, Spotswood would never get any closer as Columbia rolled to the tune of a 66-34 win.
With the victory, Columbia, which is scheduled to have the night off on Wednesday, raised its record to 1-0 on the fall while Spotswood, which was originally scheduled to play A.L. Johnson of Clark on Wednesday night, dropped to 0-1. Speaking of the schedule, GMC Hoops had a chance to speak with Bob Gaydos, the director of the HawksBasketball Association, and he indicated that A.L. Johnson dropped out of the league as well as another team. However, he is hopeful that he can get North 13th Street Tech from Newark to compete in the league. Regardless, GMC Hoops plans to travel again to Plainfield High School on Wednesday night to catch the second night of action from the 2007 Fall-Ball Classic.