Great Competition Over The First Two Weeks At TBSA
EDISON, NJ–Already two weeks have passed in the 2008 TBSA Fall League, and there have been a number of great games. GMC Hoops has only seen four contests (two each week), and all of them have either gone down to the wire, or were decided by single digits. For example, on Sunday night, J.P. Stevens held a six point lead late over Plainfield only to have the Cardinals pull out the win on a last second three pointer from the top of the key by Anthony Baskerville for the one point, 67-66 victory. With 1:08 to play, the Hawks led by six at 63-57 after senior forward, Kenny Bland netted two free throws. However, the Cards, led by a combination of pressure defense, and clutch play by Isiah Epps, went on a 7-0 run over a span of just 47 seconds for a 64-63 lead.
J.P. Stevens, which lost another close one last week to Weequahic of Newark and the Iron Hills Conference by the score of 50-45, had a chance to take the lead late when senior point guard, Tahir Swinton, who has made major strides this offseason, stepped to the line after being fouled on the floor. Swinton made the first one, and missed the second, but thanks to a lane violation by Plainfield, he got a second chance. He still missed the extra free throw, but Bland came to the rescue for an offensive rebound, and putback that put JPS in front by two, 66-64 with only 13 seconds to play. However, on the next Plainfield possession, the Cardinals gave their new coach, Jeff Lubreski plenty to smile about when Baskerville let fly from the top of the key for a trey that was true for a one point victory that brought back memories of another memorable Lubreski moment when Marquis Jones sank a 14 footer over St. Joe’s Kevin Joyce to boost South Plainfield past St. Joseph’s in the 2005 Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament Championship.
The Plainfield last minute rally has not been the only time this post season that the Hawks held a seemingly safe lead late in a game, and then lost this off-season. Back during the summer, JPS played Monroe at the 2008 East Brunswick Team Camp in June. With two minutes remaining in the contest, Stevens led by 12 points with two minutes left only to see the Falcons rally via the three point shot to not only force overtime, but also get the win. Although the North Edison school has lost each of its first two games this fall, it has played very competitively against very talented and athletic teams, especially when you consider that Swinton did not play in the opening night loss to Weequahic. Bland has played particularly well. His footwork, and the manner in which he is taking the ball to the basket has improved, and that has resulted in better shots down low, and in the paint. He has also shot well at the line. In about 20 minutes of action that GMC Hoops saw in the loss to Plainfield, Bland went 6 of 7 at the charity stripe. He will need to do that with the amount of opportunities he gets inside.
Meanwhile, the other GMC team that we’ve had the chance to get a look at over the first two weeks of the season is Colonia, which has a bit different look to its roster from the last time we saw the Pats during the summer at the Linden Summer League. The Patriots have fared better so far this season by splitting its first two games. On opening night, Colonia lost a close one to Columbia of Maplewood by a score of 44-38. This past Sunday night, the Pats evened their record at 1-1 with a single digit victory over Roselle of the Mountain Valley Conference, 43-37.
Nnamdi Usuwa is back in the lineup, and his presence down low has provided some much needed punch to a team that lost Brandon Hall to graduation this past June. In addition, Matt Wagner, a sophomore transfer from St. Joseph’s, will help fellow sophomore Dave Cole try to compliment senior guard, J.J. D’Amico in the backcourt. Usuwa has looked very good as well as Wagner in the limited amount of action the web site has seen of Colonia. Meanwhile, Cole has looked more aggressive on offense at times by taking it strong to the basket. As a team, Colonia has scored as many points as it has given up to its opponents over these first two games (81-81). The victory over the Rams, which are coming off a Central Jersey Group II Championship in 2008, was a nice win for Colonia, especially since it was without D’Amico in the lineup. The Patriots look again to be one of the contenders in the GMC although its dominance over the GMC White in recent years will be challenged with Cardinal McCarrick moving up from the Blue.
EDISON, NJ—On Sunday, GMC Hoops traveled over to The Basketball Shooting Academy over on Carter Drive in Edison to take in some of the action from Opening Day of the 2008 TBSA Fall League. This is the third year the league is being run, and it has grown so much in that time. In the first year of this league, there were only 12 teams. Now, there are 28 teams. There are the usual garden variety of GMC teams competing in the league such as Cardinal McCarrick, Colonia, J.P. Stevens, Monroe, Piscataway, and St. Joseph’s. However, there are some new teams coming from outside the conference such as Plainfield and Columbia, which had been in the HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic, and moved into this league after it was announced that the Fall-Ball Classic wasn’t running this year.
The site captured action from the final two games of the night. Unfortunately, Greg Machos works during much of the day on Sunday, and is only able to get out in time to see the final two games. There are a ton of games played each week with the first contest beginning at 1:00 PM, and the last one finishing at 9:00 PM or so. One of the games played on Sunday was between Cardinal McCarrick and Plainfield, and although the Eagles had some struggles this summer, and were without a couple players, they were able to defeat the Cardinals by 12. The final two contests of the evening consisted of J.P. Stevens and Weequahic of the Hills Division of the Iron Hills Conference on Court #2, and Colonia taking on one of the two Columbia squads competing over on Court #5.
Weequahic Edges Stevens, 50-45
GMC Hoops arrived at TBSA with several minutes gone by in the first half of this one. At the 14:15 mark, the Indians led the Hawks by only one point, 7-6. Fifty seconds afterward, Myles Reuben took in a feed from the left side, and scored a layup as he was fouled for a conventional three point play that catapulted JPS in front, 9-7 at the 13:25 mark. Neither team would score for almost two minutes until Weequahic applied some pressure to the Hawks backcourt, and forced Nick Pol to turn the ball over. Picking up the steal, the Indians quickly converted it with a powerful, yet athletic tomahawk slam dunk to knot the game back up at 9-9 with 11:32 remaining in the first half. A little more than 45 seconds later, the school from Newark swiped another steal that led to one more dunk attempt, but this time Stevens made them earn it at the line by picking up the foul.
After two free throws by Weequahic for an 11-9 lead, the Hawks came back with one of two of their own at the line for an 11-10 Indian lead at the 9:45 mark. Ten seconds later though, Weequahic went back up by three with a score at the 9:35 mark. JPS would get a score to pull within one again, but the Indians increased their advantage to four with a basket and a foul for a three point play, and a 16-12 lead with 8:44 to play before the intermission. Stevens would then get a bucket to pull within two at 16-14, but Weequahic continued to keep the school from North Edison at arm’s length with a spin move from the left side of the key for a short jumper that rattled in, and made the score, 18-14.
The Newark team then added three more points to go up by seven at 21-14 before Pol, a senior guard, clicked on a jumper from the left side that closed the gap to five at 21-16 with 6:46 to go in the half. Over the final 6:46, the Hawks pulled a bit closer with a 6-5 showing that made the score, 26-22 at the half. In the second half, GMC Hoops returned to the action with 5:24 to play after watching a good deal of the Colonia and Columbia #1 tussle. Upon returning, the site saw Stevens get on the board with two free throws from senior forward, Kenny Bland to make it 43-38 after Weequahic had started the half with a 17-14 showing over the first 14:36. Over the next 1:24, the Indians scored the next three points including a jumper from the left side for a 46-38 lead at exactly the four minute mark.
A minute afterward, the Hawks scored on a layup to pull within six again at 46-40 with three minutes to play. Approximately a minute and twenty seconds later, Weequahic turned the ball over, and moments later Bland was fouled on a scoop shot that resulted in two from the charity stripe for a 46-42 Indian edge at the 1:33 mark. Thirty-two seconds after that, Pol grabbed an offensive rebound off a Bland miss, and tried to follow it in, but was fouled, and made two from the line himself to close the gap to two at 46-44 with 1:01 remaining in regulation. The Hawks couldn’t get any closer though as Weequahic netted a pair of free throws at the 36 second and 17 second marks to wrap up the 50-45 victory.
|J.P. Stevens (0-1)||22||23||45|
Columbia Downs Colonia In Another Close Battle
While Stevens was taking on Weequahic, another GMC team was in action against a squad from the Iron Hills Conference. The Colonia Patriots, which are coming off a season where they reached the Championship Game of the North Jersey Section 2 Group III bracket, were taking on the Columbia Cougars from the Iron Division of the Iron Hills Conference. Last fall, the Cougars won the Championship of the HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic by defeating two-time defending champ, Plainfield. After watching about eight minutes of the JPS-Weequahic game, the site came over to watch the last six and a half minutes of the first half, and the first 10:30 of the second half. Although Columbia did lose a lot with the departures of Jameel Grace and Yvon Raymond, the Cougars still have some fine players returning including sharpshooter Kenny Rubenstein, and Jeff Melvin.
On the other side of the ledger, the Patriots may have lost Brandon Hall, but they have forward Nnamdi Usuwa, who is returning after off the court problems sidelined him for almost the entire season last year. In addition, sophomore Matt Wagner transferred in from St. Joseph’s in Metuchen to complement J.J. D’Amico in the backcourt. The site joined the action with 6:32 to go in the first half, and the score reading 10-8 in favor of Columbia after a three pointer by Wagner. A timeout was taken at the 6:08 mark, and after the stoppage, the Patriots stayed within striking distance as both teams traded three points for a 13-11 score at the 2:00 PM following two free throws. About a minute later, the Pats squared the game again with a field goal for a 13-13 tie. Columbia then took the lead in the waning moments of the half as Rubenstein was fouled on a drive that resulted in two free throws at the 14 second mark, and then his Cougar teammates swiped a steal off an errant pass by D’Amico for a 15-13 lead at the intermission.
In the second half, the Patriots started strong with an 8-0 spurt over the first 3:39 for a 21-15 lead. Usuwa started things off by taking in a lob pass from D’Amico, and powering in down low on the right side for a layup, and a 15-15 tie at the 19:47 mark. Dave Cole then scored on an acrobatic layup twenty-four seconds later to put the Pats ahead, 17-15 with 19:23 remaining. Then, CHS added another score at the 18:45 mark for a four point lead. Usuwa then stepped up on the defensive end with a block at the 17:50 mark, and then Columbia turned the ball over at the 17:18 mark before calling for time with 17:09 to go in the game. Following the timeout, Usuwa was fouled from behind on a lay attempt. He sank the first free throw, and then after a Cougar timeout, made the second with 16:21 left for the six-point edge.
Following the stoppage, Columbia finally got on the board as Melvin clicked on a three point attempt from the left corner to give the Cougars their first points of the second half after not scoring for the initial 4:17. Fifty-two seconds later, Columbia crept a bit closer with a one of two showing at the foul line to pull within a bucket at 21-19 with 14:51 to play. The Maplewood school then made it a 6-0 run that tied the game at 21-21 as Rubenstein swiped a steal off D’Amico for a layup at the 13:58 mark. Neither team would score for over a minute until Usuwa drew a foul on a shot attempt, and netted two charity shots to put the Patriots ahead again at 23-21 with 12:55 to play. Rubenstein then scored the next three points himself for the Cougars with a jumper from the left wing at the 11:56 mark, and then one of two at the line with 11:29 to play that gave Columbia at 24-23 lead.
Continuing to go back and forth, the teams exchanged leads again as sophomore David Cole connected on a jumper from the left side for a 25-24 Patriot advantage at the 10:31 mark. Columbia then tied things up at 25-25 with 9:28 to play by making one of two at the line. The team from Essex County would pull out the win with a 20-13 run over the final 10:31 to register the 44-38 opening night win.
|Columbia #1 (1-0)||15||29||44|
EDISON, NJ–On Sunday, September 14th, the 2008 TBSA Fall League got underway with a full slate of games starting at 1:00 PM in the afternoon, and continuing until the final round of games completed at 9:00 PM over at The Basketball Shooting Academy. This is the third year of the TBSA Fall League, which started out with only 12 years in year one, and now has 30 squads competing.
GMC Hoops will be able to get in a couple games each week after being at work on Sundays. Of the 30 teams, there are 12 schools competing from 11 different schools in the Greater Middlesex Conference and teams from these other conferences: Skyland Conference, Colonial Valley Conference, Watchung Conference, Mountain Valley Conference, Iron Hills Conference, and the Patriot Conference. Below is a full list of teams competing:
2008 TBSA Fall League–Teams
- St. Joseph’s #1
- St. Joseph’s #2
- Columbia #1
- Columbia #2
- Cardinal McCarrick
- J.P. Stevens
- Timothy Christian
- Hopewell Valley
- West Windsor-Plainsboro North
- Watchung Hills
- Hunterdon Central
- Bishop Ahr
GMC Hoops plans to have summaries on the Fall League action up shortly.
NEWARK, NJ–Earlier this month, GMC Hoops received information from Tony Jackson of the New Jersey Flames United Basketball Club regarding a fall league being run in the Newark Area. The 2008 Wanda Green Fall League was looking to take place starting in early September, and finish up in late October with each team playing 8 games. There would be three venues where the games will be played: Newark Tech High School, Westside Park, and the Perth Amboy YMCA. For more information on this league, please contact Tony Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WOODBRIDGE, NJ–Earlier this month, GMC Hoops learned from Bob Gaydos, the Director of the HawksBasketball Association, that there will not be a Fall-Ball Classic this year. The league, which had been running over at Plainfield High School the past several years, was unable to get a gym to play games. Since 1994, the Fall-Ball Classic had been one of the top fall leagues in the area, and it reached its zenith in 2003 and 2004 with 24 teams competing both years. Gaydos hopes to have the league back in 2009. See summaries from last year’s Fall-Ball Classic.
NEPTUNE, NJ–Last Monday night, September 15th, GMC Hoops traveled down to Rebounds for the first night of action in the 2008 Rebounds Fall League. Once again games take place each Monday night for eight weeks with games being played at 7:00 PM, 8:00 PM, and 9:00 PM respectively. There are three teams from the GMC competing in the league including East Brunswick, South Brunswick, and Spotswood. The Chargers joined the league after being in the HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic, which is not being held this year, for the past several years. Nineteen teams from the Shore Conference, and there are 28 teams overall. Below is a listing of each from Division A and Division B:
- New Egypt
- Middletown South
- St. John Vianney
- St. Rose
- Red Bank Catholic
- East Brunswick
- Colts Neck
- Egg Harbor Township
- Monsignor Donovan
- Freehold Township
- Shore Regional
- Shore Sharks
- Academy Charter
- Ocean Township
- Jackson Memorial
- Southern Regional
- Asbury Park
- South Brunswick
- West Windsor Plainsboro-South
- Brick Memorial
GMC Hoops plans to be down at Rebounds for the 9:00 PM round of games on Monday night.
For the third straight year, the TBSA Fall League is taking place with games on Sunday for the second year in a row. At TBSA, there is a full docket of games from 1:00 PM in the afternoon to 9:00 PM at night. There are a total of 28 teams competing in the league with some new faces signing up this year including: Plainfield, Columbia, and Weequahic just to name a few. Right now, the first three weeks of the schedule have been made out with matchups after that being determined by how play goes over these initial three weeks.
Meanwhile, over at Rebounds, the fall league is again run on Monday nights. This is the third straight year, GMC Hoops is covering games there, and with the HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic not running this fall, the site will be spending more time down in Neptune. Three teams from the Greater Middlesex Conference are competing there including: East Brunswick, South Brunswick, and Spotswood. Overall, there are a total of 28 teams there including 19 teams from the Shore Conference, 2 teams from the Colonial Valley Conference, two AAU teams, and one independent.
There is also a new fall league starting up called the Wanda Green Fall league. It is being started by Tony Jackson. I will have more details on this league soon.
Last week when I came out to TBSA and Rebounds, I had a lot of people come up to me, and say hello, or chat for a little while. It’s really nice to see everyone, and feel appreciated for the work that is done on here. It is things like this that make it a lot of fun, and something to look forward to when I come out to see the games. I actually like being out at the games than writing about them. Thanks again everyone.
Good morning everyone. I can imagine everyone is wondering what’s going on with the site. Well, as you probably know from checking it from time to time in the past month, I had been busy tracking the storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic for my other site, Hurricaneville. However, I’ve also been dealing with a recurring back problem that has made it very difficult for me to sit at my desk for long periods of time. While I have been going out to some of the games a TBSA and Rebounds, I haven’t been able to get around to writing articles and posts on them since I’m trying to take it easy. I appreciate all of your concern, and your enthusiasm about the site. I have been getting better little by little, and I hope to have the site updated with articles later this week.