Here are the video highlights from the second half of the game played on Saturday afternoon between J.F. Kennedy and Colonia. The Patriots only led 25-23 after a steal for a dunk by JFK’s Rasheed Howard early on in the third, but they didn’t panic. Instead, the Pats shut the Mustangs down for nearly an entire quarter with an 18-2 tear for a 43-25 lead en route to a 47-31 win. C.J. Gray led CHS with 13 points while Lukas Zeimaitis chipped in with 10. Enjoy.
SOUTH RIVER, NJ–On Friday night, GMC Hoops made its first trip to South River High School for a boys basketball game for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The last time the site saw the Rams at home was in a resounding loss to Cardinal McCarrick (74-30) on January 10, 2005. The Rams had entered that game on an eight game winning streak to start the season, and were never really the same after that defeat despite reaching the semifinals of the Central Jersey Group I bracket that year.
There’s definitely a lot of enthusiasm growing in Rams Country again. Tonight’s crowd was one of the biggest they had all season. Only the far section of the court in back of and opposite of the New Egypt bench had space available. The parking lot was full. Couldn’t find a spot anywhere, and had to actually park on a side street a few blocks from the school. As a result, I missed the first few minutes of the game. Although, there was a young kids recreation basketball game going on at halftime, there was some excitement about the Rams again. Although South River had entered the game with a 1-8 record in the GMC Blue, the team had already surpassed its win total of the past two years combined.
The success has been thanks in large part to the Rams ability to win games outside of their division especially against teams that they should beat. For example, South River has defeated Piscataway Tech, Perth Amboy Tech, and East Brunswick Tech in GMC crossovers while handling the likes of Keansburg and Henry Hudson in non-conference affairs over the holidays. Prior to Friday’s game with New Egypt, South River had ran up a 7-1 mark outside of Blue Division play with its lone loss coming early in the season to Jonathan Dayton Regional of Springfield. Some people forget, but the Rams began the year 0-2 before winning 8 of the next 15 to be at 8-9 prior to playing the Warriors on Friday night.
The Warriors were a tall order for the Rams both figuratively and literally. Figuratively in the sense that New Egypt is one of the top teams in Group I. Reaching the Championship Game of the Central Jersey Group I bracket before losing in the finals to Asbury Park last year, New Egypt moved over to South Jersey Group I this year. Literally, New Egypt has a lot of size, mostly coming in the form of junior 6′9″ forward, Desmond Hubert, who has already garnered interest from several Division I schools including: Rutgers, Maryland, Villanova, and St. John’s. Hubert blocked 13 shots, and altered many others. He had fans in the stands calling for goaltends while players, coaches, and officials debated whether or not he blocked the shot as it was coming down or not.
However, to the team’s credit, South River didn’t give up. After losing last season at New Egypt (73-40), the Rams fell behind 25-6 late in the first half only to fight back with a 23-13 showing over nearly a quarter to pull within single digits late in the third (38-29). Brandon Walsh provided a spark with an unconventional four point play at the 1:11 mark of the second quarter, and scored 11 points in the loss. Gavin Campbell benefited from some play making by Xavier Foster for a three pointer, and then drove past Hubert for a layup for all five of his points in a 5-0 run that brought the once huge deficit down to single digits.
Unfortunately, the Rams gave up a quick basket on defense moments later, which deflated the team’s spirit. From there, New Egypt outscored the home team by a margin of 20-12, and won 60-41. South River is still making progress as a program. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it’s still been quite a day this year for the Rams. Eight wins, a holiday tournament championship, and a possible state tourney berth. On top of that, South River is just two victories short of ten wins. Speaking of that, do you know that with J.F. Kennedy’s victory over Timothy Christian on Friday night that five teams in the GMC Blue have ten wins or more already this season? It’s true. Quite a year for the Rams, and quite a year for the Blue.
Recently, I’ve been getting into how to use Facebook to better promote the site to my friends as well as to the group GMC Hoops Nation. I’ve been posting there quite often. Whenever I update the site with new info, I post a link to it there so people in the group, or on my friend’s list at Facebook can get to the info wherever they are. So, if you haven’t joined the group yet, you’re more than welcome to.
EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ–Early Saturday morning, GMC Hoops learned from a posting in the Middlesex County Hoops blog on NJ.com that the site for the GMC’s version of Super Sunday has been changed. Originally, the site reported that the 2010 GMCT Quarterfinals were going to be played on Sunday, February 21st at South Brunswick High School. They have now been moved to Middlesex County College. All times, and other locations remain the same though. Here’s the revised schedule for the 2010 GMCT.
2010 GMCT Schedule And Site Locations
- February 12, 2010–Seeding meeting
- February 13, 2010–Play-in Round at higher seeds
- February 16, 2010–Preliminary Round at higher seeds
- February 18, 2010–First Round–Round of 16 at higher seeds
- February 21, 2010–Quarterfinals @ MCC–12:00 PM, 1:30 PM, 4:00 PM, and 5:30 PM
- February 24, 2010–Semifinals @ SBHS–5:30 PM and 7:00 PM
- February 26, 2010–Championship @ Rutgers Athletic Center–8:00 PM
Also, in addition, 28 of the 29 teams will participate in the tourney. Piscataway Tech as elected not to compete for the fifth straight year.
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ–Last week, the web site posted an article in the blog about the number of teams in the GMC that were .500 or better. At that time, there were 19 squads that had achieved that mark. Since that posting, I have received information as well as read others on the the internet, and learned that there have been changes to the qualifications for getting into the states.
In past years, you needed to be at .500 or better by the time final games were played on the state cutoff date. However, this year, there is a change that is being tried. To make the state tournament in your section, all you have to do is be in the top sixteen of your section, and turn in the necessary paperwork, and you’re in. So, you may be 4-10 right now, but you still may have a shot at getting in regardless of your record at the cutoff as long as it is among the top 16 records in that section. For example, there are 21 teams in Central Jersey Group II. This year’s tourney will have the best sixteen teams out of that group (regardless of whether they’re .500 or not) with the other five not getting in.
This gives teams that play a tough schedule a chance to compete, and not get penalized for playing games early on in the season against some of the better teams in the state. Now, I knew that the NJSIAA was going to this format back during football season, but I didn’t really get the details, and understand it all until now. For more examples, check out a past blog entry in MyCentralJersey.com’s Inside the Paint.
TRENTON, NJ–The 2009-10 season has gone by so fast this season. We’re already past the midway point, and now we closing in on the state cutoff, and GMCT seeding meetings. Another event that is rapidly approaching in the 2010 Prime Time Shootout, which is being held at Kean University on Friday night, February 12th, and at Sun National Bank Center on February 13th and 14th. For the second straight year, two teams from the GMC will be competing as Monroe and St. Joseph’s will participate.
The Purple Birds will kickoff the weekend schedule with a 5:30 PM tip against Ridge in a battle of top NJ Hoops Pre-Season Top 50 squads. The Falcons feature two of the top sophomores in the GMC in Ahmid Williams and Danny Brix along with veterans Timmy Brix, Kenny Pace, and Blake Bascom. Meanwhile, Ridge is still one of the top teams in Somerset County despite the transfer of Ishaq Pitt to St. John Vianney of Holmdel. The Red Devils, which defeated Colonia in the opening round of the Len Sepanak Tournament back in December, have the likes of sharpshooter Andrew Madlinger and football and basketball standout, Nick Cefalo. Monroe has recently been on a nine game winning streak while Ridge has a 12-3 record overall, and a five game winning streak including a 67-66 victory over Gill St. Bernards on Thursday night.
Then after games between Lakewood and St. Benedict’s at 7:00 PM and St. Patrick’s and Oak Hill Academy at 8:30 PM, St. Joseph’s will be taking on Plainfield in the nightcap at 10:00 PM. The Falcons are 13-2 after yesterday’s 65-54 victory at Old Bridge, and are the top team in the GMC Hoops Top Ten, where they’ve been since the pre-season. St. Joseph’s is led by Steve Rennard, who is fast approaching 1,300 points in his career. Not to be left out is sophomore, Quenton DeCosey, another top soph in the GMC. DeCosey recently turned in a fabulous performance against Piscataway with 29 points and 9 rebounds. St. Joseph’s also has the likes of Robbie Ashamole, Andrew Morgan, Eric Peterson, Nick Contino, and Robert O’Grady to name a few. Meanwhile, Plainfield, coached by former South Plainfield head coach, Jeff Lubreski, is one of the top teams in the state with a 13-1 record. The only defeat was suffered recently at the hands of national and state powerhouse, St. Patrick’s of Elizabeth. The Cardinals are led by Tyrone Johnson and Mike Price.
Below again is the complete schedule for February 12th at Kean:
- Monroe vs. Ridge, 5:30 PM
- Lakewood vs. St. Benedict’s, 7:00 PM
- St. Patrick’s vs. Oak Hill Academy, 8:30 PM
- Plainfield vs. St. Joseph’s, 10:00 PM
To see the full Prime Time Shootout schedule with results from previous games already played on the weekend of January 22nd, click here. GMC Hoops plans to be there to cover all four games.
From One Win Season Two Years Ago To State Tourney Berth, Antoine Allen’s Zebras Have Come A Long Way
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–On Thursday night, in a game broadcasted live on WCTC AM 1450, the New Brunswick Zebras defeated the Colonia Patriots for the second time this season by the score of 51-36. The win was a memorable one for NBHS. It was for two reasons. First, it was the first ten win season at the school since the 2005-06 season. Second, it was the first time in that three year span that the Zebras qualified for the state tournament.
Two years ago, senior Simuel Williams was a member of a team that went 1-17. However, that was the starting point for Antoine Allen’s rebuilding program. Allen, a former standout at Linden High School in the late 1980s, was determined to get the job done in bringing a renaissance to New Brunswick Basketball. Besides Williams, who played freshman basketball at Perth Amboy, there was Nigel Scott, also a sophomore at the time, coming up from the JV program. Then, there was the 2007-08 NBHS Freshmen team, coached by former East Brunswick standout, and current Zebras assistant coach, Larry Press. Led by the likes of Jaquan Cook and Nyeem Coleman, New Brunswick reached the Final Four of that season’s Perth Amboy/GMC Freshmen Tournament.
New Brunswick went through the summer of 2008 with mostly scrimmages against other schools, and a trip to the Kean Ironman Challenge toward the end of the season. The offseason work didn’t produce a lot of immediate results as the Zebras were only 3-19 in 2008-09 including another GMCT Play-In Round exit. However, this past summer, at the 2009 Bound Brook Summer League, New Brunswick began to show signs of making some big steps forward in the 2009-10 season with a second place regular season finish, and a berth in the Quarterfinals. Nice additions such as Fuquan Rogers, Milton Pittman, Troy Wilcox, Gary Reeder, and Deon Perry solidified the core of Williams, Cook, and Scott.
New Brunswick started off on the wrong foot with three straight losses. However, the Zebras began to play well in the 2009 Brunswick Classic with an opening round win over South Brunswick, and then a solid performance in defeat against one of the top five teams in the GMC right now in East Brunswick. Using the momentum off that holiday tournament, and the new surroundings of a brand new gym and high school right off Route 27, NBHS began to roll with 10 victories in their last 14 games. The result, is a playoff berth, a huge step for a program that has a great history of former standout players and teams.
It has been a very long road for New Brunswick Boys Basketball, but it is finally on the rebound, and that is good for the GMC.
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ–Looks like we’ll be returning to action on Friday. After a rough week with a tooth infection, I’m on the mend, and doing much better. The swelling has gone done considerably since Tuesday afternoon as I’ve responded well to the new medication. What this means is that we’ll be able to see some games this week.
First, the site will travel over to South River High School for the first time in several years to see the Rams in action against Desmond Hubert and New Egypt on Friday night. Then, on Saturday, I plan to see two games including the Red Division contest between South Brunswick and Old Bridge from OBHS at 1:00 PM, and the non-conference matchup between South Amboy and Timothy Christian at 4:00 PM.
NORTH EDISON, NJ–The Bishop Ahr Trojans came up with another huge win for themselves on the GMC Blue Division on Wednesday night. By defeating its long time parochial school rival, Cardinal McCarrick in a crossover game, BGA notched its second big crossover win of the season. If you recall, ten days ago, the Trojans came up with another crossover victory over then once beaten East Brunswick (63-60).
The Blue Division has now posted a 13-1 record against teams in other divisions of the GMC. However, Ahr’s two victories over East Brunswick of the GMC Red and McCarrick of the GMC White gives the mark more credibility. Up until ten or twelve days ago, the GMC Blue had been beating up on the GMC Gold (7-0 so far this season) for the most part although Kennedy had defeated Woodbridge (68-52) on January 9th. However, in almost the past two weeks, Middlesex has defeated South Plainfield (36-17), Metuchen has beaten Carteret (59-56), and Ahr has beaten EB and McCarrick (63-51). The Bulldogs win over the Ramblers is also significant since CHS defeated McCarrick, Sayreville, and North Brunswick. The only loss suffered by the Blue Division against other divisions of the GMC was a 76-40 loss by Highland Park at Woodbridge this past Saturday.
In addition, the GMC Blue is 19-3 against teams from outside the conference. So, in contests outside divisional play, the Blue Division is a combined 32-4 (.889) this season. Looking at the latest division standings, there are four teams with 10 wins or more already this season. In total, there are eight teams in the conference with double digit wins at this point in the season. Furthermore, Kennedy is at 9-6 and South River is at 8-9. Both teams have a chance to have rare winning seasons. Until recently, Highland Park, which had started the season at 3-1, had played well, but has since lost six in a row.
With Ahr’s victory over McCarrick, and Spotswood’s defeat of Ahr on Monday night, you have to make a good argument for the Chargers to be at least third in the top ten of the GMC. The Trojans would be right behind at number four. Even Metuchen may move up some notches, and Middlesex may be able to sneak in the poll. We’ll have to see how the rest of this week shakes out.
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ–With East Brunswick Tech’s 60-26 victory over Ranney Prep yesterday, the Greater Middlesex Conference improved to 51-32 overall against opponents from other conferences this season. Hard to believe that the league is almost 20 games over .500 against non-conference foes after starting the season at 5-7.
Leading the way has been the GMC Blue, which has gone an incredible 19-3 against teams outside the GMC. As far as individual teams go, Metuchen (4-0), South River (4-1), Middlesex (3-0), and J.F. Kennedy (3-0) are leading the way. Here is how the conference is looking against some of the other conferences:
- 8-3 versus Union County Conference
- 10-5 versus Patriot Conference
- 9-5 versus Independents
- 7-4 versus Shore Conference
- 2-2 versus Colonial Valley Conference
- 7-8 versus Skyland Conference
Believe it or not, the GMC had started the season at 0-4 versus the Skyland, and has been 7-4 since. Same kind of thing happened against the Patriot with a 1-3 start before winning 9 of the last 11. By the way, Timothy Christian and Wardlaw-Hartridge, currently members of the Patriot Conference, will be joining the GMC next year.
There is still a very long way to go in the season, but play against non-conference teams is important, especially when it comes to the state tournaments. Playing foes outside the conference means playing different styles of basketball against different types of players and athletes. Teams that can do well against different styles of play and different kinds of athletes can be successful in state tournament play.