Here are video highlights from St. Anthony’s 72-42 victory over Atlantic City in the 2012 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions semifinals. After yielding a three pointer to trail by the score of 3-2 early in the contest, the Friars went on an 18-1 run as they put on a clinic. The Jersey City school, ranked number one in the state of New Jersey, Kyle Anderson led the way with 20 points including 12 in the second half while Jerome Frink added 13 points, and Hallice Cook chipped in with 11. Kayshawn Dunston led AC with 15 points.
Here are the video highlights from the semifinal game in the 2012 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions between third seeded Plainfield and second seeded St. Joseph’s. For the second year in a row, the Plainfield Cardinals will be playing in the championship game of the TOC after defeating the Falcons by the score of 70-48. Leading 24-21 with 5:10 to go in the 2nd period, the Cardinals went on a 13-2 run to end the first half for a 37-23 lead.
Then, after the Falcons climbed to within ten at 47-37, Jahmal Lane connected on a three pointer, and Dijon Allen-Jordan scored off a steal for a 52-37 lead entering the fourth period. From there, Plainfield cruised to victory. Lane ended up with 22 points while Sekou Harris added 17 points and Allen-Jordan and Justin Sears chipped in with 12. Quenton DeCosey scored 16 points for the Falcons to end his career with 1,608 points and Danny Brix scored 15 points to end his career with 1,200.
GMC Hoops Play-By-Play–#4 Atlantic City vs. #1 St. Anthony’s–NJSIAA Tournament of Champions–Semifinals–March 14, 2012March 16, 2012 on 8:19 pm | In General | Comments Off
PISCATAWAY, NJ–There will be a rematch of last year’s Tournament of Champions final between Plainfield and St. Anthony’s. The Friars put on a clinic with a 22-6 showing in the first quarter, and never took the foot off the gas as they went on to win 72-42. St. Anthony’s had a balanced scoring attack in the first half with Hallice Cooke scoring 10, Kyle Anderson adding 9, and both Jerome Frink and Josh Brown each chipping in with 8. Frink also drew two charges. The Friars led by as many as 32 heading into the fourth quarter. Kayshawn Dunston did what he could to make things respectable for Atlantic City. Below is the play-by-play from the contest.
7:33–STA–Kyle Anderson spin and dish to Jerome Frink for layup and a 2-0 lead.
7:18–AC–Isaiah Graves connects on three pointer from right wing for a 3-2 lead.
6:50–STA–Josh Brown with the layup for a 4-3 lead.
6:15–STA–Hallice Cooke scores layup off feed from Anderson for a 6-3 lead.
5:59–STA–Cooke scores on another fast break layup for a 8-3 lead–AC–30 sec timeout.
5:31–STA–#42–layup for a 10-3 lead.
4:56–AC–Jahleem Montague fouled–makes 1 of 2 FTs for a 10-4 STA lead.
4:18–STA–Josh Brown–layup for a 12-4 lead.
4:00–STA–Frink draws charge on Martel Johnson.
3:44–STA–Tariq Carey fouled–makes both FTs for a 14-4 lead.
3:06–STA–Anderson hits turnaround jumper for a 16-4 lead.
2:48–STA–Cooke scores on layup for an 18-4 lead.
1:07–STA–Brown scores on putback for a 20-4 lead.
35.0–AC–putback for a 20-6 lead.
17.5–STA–Cooke banks in jumper from left wing for a 22-6 lead.
0.0–STA–swipes steal, but unable to get shot off.
AC–only two FGs in quarter–scoreless for about four and a half minutes of period
7:37–STA–Anderson fouled–makes both FTs for a 24-6 lead.
6:54–STA–Terrell Brooks scores on hook shot for a 26-6 lead.
6:43–STA–Frink draws another charge on Johnson.
6:10–STA–Frink scores on layup for a 28-6 lead.
5:35–STA–Anderson hits jumper for a 30-6 lead.
4:30–STA–Frink scores on layup off steal and assist by Anderson for a 32-6 lead.
4:10–AC–Montague–fouled–makes both FTs for a 32-8 STA lead.
3:44–STA–Frink scores on layup off steal for a 34-8 lead.
2:45–STA–Cooke scores for a 36-8 lead.
1:56–AC–Ahmad McKinley–fouled, but misses both FTs.
1:41–AC–Kayshawn Dunston swipes steal at midcourt, and goes in for the dunk for a 36-10 STA lead.
1:10–STA–Anderson basket and the foul for a three point play, and a 39-10 lead.
41.0–STA–Brown with layup for a 41-10 lead.
31.3–AC–Dunston connects for three from left wing for a 41-13 STA lead.
3.5–AC–steal leads to three by Dunston for a 41-16 STA lead at the half.
Dunston–8 points, Montague–3 points, Graves–3 points
Cooke–10 points, Anderson–9 points, Frink–8 points, and Brown–8 points
7:04–STA–Anderson connects on shot for a 43-16 lead.
6:41–AC–Dunston scores on layup for a 43-18 STA lead.
6:00–AC–timeout after score by Pinkston for STA–#42–45-18 lead.
5:39–AC–Johnson scores for a 45-20 STA lead.
5:07–AC–Dunston pulls up for jumper, and a 45-22 STA lead.
4:10–AC–Montague–score for a 47-24 STA lead.
2:15–STA–Frink fouled–makes 1 of 2 FTs, and Anderson puts back follow for a 53-24 lead.
1:56–STA–Frink jumper for a 55-24 lead.
1:10–AC–Montague blocks dunk attempt by Anderson.
1:01–AC–Dunston pulls up for jumper and a 55-26–STA lead.
47.0–STA–Anderson pulls up for three from left wing and a 58-26 lead.
33.0–AC–Johnson–layup for a 58-28 lead.
3.0–STA–Anderson–hook shot for a 60-28 lead after three.
7:41–AC–Dayshawn Reynolds swipes steal for a layup and a 60-30 STA lead.
7:21–STA–Tariq Carey scores on nifty move for a 62-30 lead.
6:26–AC–Reynolds scores on breakaway layup for a 62-32 lead.
5:43–STA–Cooke hits three from top of the key for a 65-32 lead.
4:35–AC–Gabriel Chandler scores for a 65-34 STA lead.
4:10–AC–McKinley with putback for a 65-36 lead.
3:45–STA–#42 Jenkins–basket for a 67-36 lead.
3:15–AC–basket for a 67-38 lead.
2:45–STA–fouled–makes 1 of 2 FTs for a 68-38 lead.
2:30–AC–basket for a 68-40 STA lead.
2:00–AC–basket for a 68-42 STA lead.
1:00–STA–score by Cheddi Mosely for a 70-42 lead.
20.0–STA–three pointer for a 72-42 lead.
0.0–STA wins 72-42.
GMC Hoops Play-By-Play–#3 Plainfield vs. #2 St. Joseph’s–NJSIAA Tournament of Champions Semifinals–March 14, 2012March 16, 2012 on 6:27 pm | In St. Joseph's Hoops | Comments Off
PISCATAWAY, NJ–On Friday evening, the first of two semifinals took place in the 2012 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions at the Rutgers Athletic Center. Third seeded Plainfield played like it had something to prove as it took on second seeded St. Joseph’s for the right to play in the TOC Championship on Tuesday night at the Meadowlands. Leading 24-21 with 5:10 to play, the Cardinals finished the first half on a 13-2 tear, and never looked back in a 70-48 victory over a St. Joe’s team that entered the game with 28 straight wins. Jahmal Lane had 18 points in the first half for Plainfield, and ended up with 23 for the game. Danny Brix led St. Joe’s in a losing cause with 15 points including 13 in the 2nd half. Below is the play-by-play from the contest.
7:37–PLFD–Sekou Harris fouled–makes 1 of 2 FTs for a 1-0 lead…PLFD–offensive rebound.
7:25–PLFD–Jahmal Lane scores layup off inbounds play for a 3-0.
6:45–PLFD–Sears blocks shot by Brix.
6:31–STJ–30 sec timeout–follows steal for reverse layup by Justin Sears for a 5-0 lead.
6:04–STJ–Quenton DeCosey scores for a 5-2 PLFD lead.
5:53–PLFD–Christian Anderson scores on layup for a 7-2 lead.
5:25–STJ–Jimbo Long three pointer for a 7-5 lead.
5:10–PLFD–Dijon Allen-Jordan puts in follow off miss by Sears off steal.
4:49–STJ–DeCosey hits three pointer for a 9-8 PLFD lead.
4:25–PLFD–Harris basket for an 11-8 lead.
4:00–STJ–Karim Awad scores for an 11-10 STJ lead.
3:30–PLFD–Lane with bucket for a 13-10 STJ lead.
3:10–STJ–DeCosey fouled–makes 1 of 2 FTs for a 13-11 PLFD lead.
2:57–STJ–DeCosey scores off steal for a 13-13 tie.
2:34–PLFD–Lane scores on layup for a 15-13 lead.
1:48–PLFD–Sears hits floater over Karl Towns for a 17-13 lead.
1:32–PLFD–Lane scores on layup off steal for a 19-13 lead.
52.0–STJ–DeCosey hits jumper for a 19-15 PLFD lead.
30.0–STJ–Brix hits jumper for a 19-17 PLFD lead.
0.0–STJ–Awad heave hits iron as time expires.
7:42–PLFD–Lane scores down low for a 21-17 lead.
7:17–PLFD–Taylor Plummer gets on the floor for steal.
6:32–PLFD–Allen-Jordan scores on jam for a 23-17 lead.
5:58–STJ–DeCosey drives in for a banker and a 23-19 PLFD lead.
5:53–PLFD–Allen-Jordan–fouled–makes 1 of 2 FTs for a 24-19 lead.
5:10–STJ–Long gets among the trees for layup and a 24-21 PLFD lead.
4:57–PLFD–Lane scores basket for a 26-21 lead.
4:25–STJ–DeCosey hits fadeaway for a 26-23 STJ lead.
3:55–PLFD–Lane scores on layup for a 28-23 lead.
3:00–PLFD–Harris scores basket for a 30-23 lead.
2:18–STJ–Towns picks up 2nd foul–Allen-Jordan–makes 1 of 2 FTs for a 31-23 lead.
1:58–STJ–Towns picks up 3rd foul–Allen-Jordan–makes both FTs for a 33-23 lead.
1:00–PLFD–Lane scores layup for a 35-23 lead.
45.0–PLFD–Lane scores another layup off steal for a 37-23 lead.
0.0–STJ–unable to score as Long missed three from right wing at buzzer.
PLFD–ends half with a 13-2 tear over last 5 minutes.
7:32–STJ–Towns picks up 4th foul.
7:10–STJ–Awad scores on layup from Long for a 37-25 PLFD lead.
7:02–PLFD–Harris lob for Allen-Jordan dunk attempt just misses.
6:50–PLFD–Harris drives in for layup and a 39-25 lead.
5:41–PLFD–Harris scores on layup off steal for a 41-25 lead.
5:32–PLFD–Sears swats away layup attempt by DeCosey.
5:15–STJ–30 sec timeout after Long hits on floater.
4:59–PLFD–Allen-Jordan–fouled by DeCosey–makes 1 of 2 FTs for a 42-27 led.
4:46–PLFD–Sears scores on putback after several offensive rebounds by Cards for a 44-27 lead.
4:03–STJ–Brix scores on layup off inbounds for a 44-29 PLFD lead.
3:29–STJ–Brix three pointer for a 44-32 PLFD lead.
3:22–PLFD–Allen-Jordan throws it down, and is fouled by Brix–makes bonus FT for a 47-32 lead.
3:07–STJ–DeCosey rambles in for layup and a 47-34 PLFD lead.
2:29–STJ–Brix knocks in three from left wing for a 47-37 PLFD lead.
1:48–STJ–DeCosey stopped down low by PLFD D.
1:25–PLFD–Lane connects on three pointer from left wing for a 50-37 lead.
11.8–PLFD–Allen-Jordan scores basket–Sears called for foul–basket counts for a 52-37 lead.
0.0–STJ–DeCosey is unable to get a shot off. PLFD leads 52-37 after three.
7:47–PLFD–Harris scores on drive for a 54-37 lead.
7:31–PLFD–Sears scores on dunk for a 56-37 lead.
6:13–STJ–Brix three pointer for a 56-40 STJ lead.
5:59–PLFD–Allen-Jordan fouled–makes 1 of 2 FTs for a 57-40 lead.
5:38–PLFD–Harris scores on layup for a 59-40 lead.
5:25–PLFD–intentional foul on DeCosey–5th foul–Harris makes both FTs for a 61-40 lead.
5:15–PLFD–Harris scores on drive for a 63-40 lead.
4:56–STJ–Brix connects on baseline jumper off dribble from left side for a 63-42 PLFD lead.
4:35–PLFD–Lane deflects ball out of bounds.
3:23–PLFD–Denzel Christian sinks jumper from right baseline for a 65-42 lead.
3:04–STJ–Jalen Gilmore sinks jumper from left side for a 65-44 PLFD lead.
2:37–PLFD–Lane scores on drive to the basket for a 67-44 lead.
2:18–STJ–Towns–fouls out–Denzel Christian sinks 1 of 2 FTs for a 68-44 lead.
1:57–PLFD–Christian sinks jumper from right side for a 70-44 lead.
1:18–STJ–Awad scores on scoop shot layup for a 70-46 PLFD lead.
0:03–STJ–Gilmore scores on layup for a 70-48 PLFD lead.
0:00–PLFD wins 70-48.
Here are the video highlights from the quarterfinal round game of the 2012 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions between fifth seeded Ewing and fourth seeded Atlantic City at Pine Belt Arena in Toms River. Atlantic City, the Group IV State Champion, overcame a four point deficit with 25.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, and a five point deficit with 1:30 left in the extra session for a 68-65 victory over the Blue Devils.
Kayshawn Dunston, hit a three with 17.5 seconds left in regulation to make it a one point game before Martel Johnson tied the game at 58-58 with a three at the buzzer for AC. Then, in the extra session, Dunston hit threes with 1:20 and 32.7 seconds remaining to turn a 65-60 deficit into a 66-65 lead. Gabriel Chandler then sealed the victory with two free throws at the 23.4 second mark for the Vikings. Chandler had 10 points and 10 rebounds while Jahleem Montague had 10 points and 15 boards for the winners.
Dunston led all scorers for AC with 23 points while Dontae Jones led Ewing with 21 points and David Azoroh chipped in with 18. Atlantic City hit four of their five threes over the last 4:17 of the game.
Here are the video highlights from the 2012 NJSIAA Non-Public A State Championship between St. Joseph’s of Metuchen, the Non-Public A South Champion, and Seton Hall Prep, the Non-Public A North Champion at Pine Belt Arena in Toms River.
Trailing 12-6 after yielding an 8-0 run to the Pirates, the Falcons went on a 41-14 surge over a span of 14 minutes to take a 47-26 lead. Karl Towns sparked the run with a turnaround jumper and a three pointer while Danny Brix added a couple scores and Quenton DeCosey had a dunk to highlight it. Towns then capped the run with a trey in the early third.
Seton Hall Prep rallied to pull within six points late in the fourth, but couldn’t get any closer as St. Joe’s won its first ever state title, 77-68. DeCosey ended up with 30 points, Brix chipped in with 19, and Towns added 12. Dallas Anglin and Stephon Mosely each had 23 for Seton Hall Prep while Spencer Weisz chipped in with 12.
Here are the video hgihlights from third seeded Plainfield’s 68-53 victory over sixth seeded Asbury Park in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions at Pine Belt Arena in Toms River. After trailing 16-5 late in the first quarter, Plainfield went on a 17-6 run to tie the game at 22-22 in the second, and following five ties, took a 32-30 halftime lead.
Then, the Cards, ranked fourth in New Jersey, went on a 15-2 tear to turn a 39-38 edge into a 54-40 advantage midway through the fourth quarter en route to the win. Jahmal Lane led Plainfield with 21 points while Dijon Allen-Jordan chipped in with 17 points. Justin Sears added 15 points while Sekou Harris scored 13 for the winners. Armond Conover led the Blue Bishops in a losing cause with 18 points while twin brother Amir Conover chipped in with 14 points, and Thomond Hammary added 13.
GMC Hoops Preview–#3 Plainfield vs. #2 St. Joseph’s–NJSIAA Tournament Of Champions–Semifinals–March 16, 2012March 15, 2012 on 6:45 pm | In General | Comments Off
Bye Provides St. Joseph’s Rest And Motivation For Plainfield
PISCATAWAY, NJ–Two local area teams will be facing off in the semifinal round of the 2012 Tournament of Champions at the Rutgers Athletic Center on Friday night with a chance to make a trip to the IZOD Center in the Meadowlands on next Tuesday for the final.
For Plainfield, seeded third in the tournament, and ranked fourth in New Jersey, it is more routine since it is the second straight trip to the T of C Final Four while for St. Joseph’s, it is a whole new experience since the Falcons were making their first trip to the Tournament of Champions. St. Joe’s won its first ever state title last Saturday. Plainfield was in that position last year after winning its first state title since 1983.
With a record of 29-1 including twenty-eight straight victories, St. Joseph’s earned the second seed, and a first round bye in the T of C so this will be the first game the Falcons will have played in a week. Meanwhile, Plainfield played on Wednesday night against Asbury Park. Will the extra rest help or hurt St. Joe’s? Will playing an extra game in the T of C make Plainfield sharper? Will not getting the higher seed and the first round bye be used by Plainfield as motivation? Lots of questions will be answered in this contest.
Plainfield was the three seed last year, and had to play in the quarterfinal round versus Asbury Park before taking on St. Augustine Prep of Richland in the semis, but it didn’t faze the Cardinals as they rolled past the Non-Public A State Champs last year. However, knowing that the Cards reached the final of the T of C last year before losing to St. Anthony’s (61-49), they may feel that they deserved higher than a three seed much like Newark Science did in 2009 when they were seeded third behind Immaculata, and had to prove themselves by beating the Spartans in the semis.
As far as getting the extra rest, St. Joseph’s had a similar situation after winning the GMCT at the end of February. The Falcons had a first round bye in the Non-Public A South state tournament before playing arch rival, CBA in the quarterfinal round the following Friday. In that game, the Falcons still managed to dominate the Colts with a solid team effort despite some struggles. Both teams played Teaneck this season. St. Joe’s played Teaneck on the opening weekend in the Hoop Group Tip-Off Classic while Plainfield played the Highwaymen in the Group III state semifinals.
The Cardinals surprised a few people by the way they dismantled Teaneck, which was undefeated coming into the game. St. Joe’s fell to Teaneck by four (53-49), but were still figuring things out at that time. In addition, the Falcons had gotten off to a solid start, and played well during the first period, but Danny Brix picked up his second foul early in the second, and Teaneck took advantage. In spite of that, St. Joe’s had the lead in the fourth quarter, but an emphatic dunk by Neville Fincher and a four point play by Joel Hernandez boosted the Highwaymen to the victory.
Both teams do not have a lot of depth and rely heavily on their starting five. Each team has plenty of size, talent and athletic ability. St. Joseph’s is a better perimeter shooting team than Asbury Park and Neptune so the Cardinals will have to guard the perimeter well while also avoid letting the Falcons into transition with the likes of Quenton DeCosey getting into the open court. The presence of Karl Towns will provide St. Joseph’s the ability to go to the basket as well since the 6′10″ freshman’s ability to shoot the three will force the likes of shot blockers Justin Sears and Dijon Allen-Jordan to come out a bit in the halfcourt, stretching the Cards defense, and give DeCosey a shot to go to the hoop.
St. Joe’s will be giving up some overall size though since Taylor Plummer and Jahmal Lane provide some additional length for the Cardinals. Brix will be an important piece in this game for the Falcons. His ability to handle the basketball, play solid defense, draw charges, and hit shots from the perimeter, makes him very important to the success of St. Joe’s in this game. Either Karim Awad or Jimbo Long will have to matchup against Sekou Harris, and find a way of keeping the senior Plainfield guard from having an impact. In the win over Neptune, Harris came up big in the fourth quarter en route to a 14 point performance. Then against Asbury Park, he netted all three of his treys in the first half en route to 13 points while handing out 6 assists.
Both coaches, Dave Turco of St. Joseph’s and Jeff Lubreski of Plainfield preach defense as their foundation of success, and strongly emphasize man-to-man defense. Don’t expect either to deviate from that in this contest. This game will likely be the best of the two semifinal games with St. Anthony’s playing against Group IV champion, Atlantic City in the other semifinal. Expect a very good crowd for this game at Rutgers since both St. Joe’s and Plainfield are schools in the area.
GMC Hoops Game Notes–#6 Asbury Park vs. #3 Plainfield–NJSIAA Tournament Of Champions Quarterfinals–March 14, 2012March 15, 2012 on 11:36 am | In General | Comments Off
Cardinals Switch Defensive Tactics To Overcome Blue Bishops In 2nd Half
TOMS RIVER, NJ–In a rematch of last year’s T of C quarterfinal won by Plainfield, the third ranked Cardinals found itself in a bit more of a struggle this time around with an Asbury Park team that surged in the state playoffs to its second straight Group I state championship. In the end though, the Cards would prevail thanks to a change in defensive strategy in the second half.
Plainfield head coach, Jeff Lubreski, who is in his fourth year at the school, has always been a preacher of tough man-to-man defense. However, after Asbury Park took a page out of Neptune’s playbook from the Group III State Championship on Saturday with an up tempo style that attacked the basket to give the Bishops a 16-5 first quarter lead, Lubreski had to make adjustments.
At first, the Cardinals tried to slow Asbury Park down with a 1-2-2 zone press in the first half, which helped thwart the Bishops to some extent. Justin Sears (15 points) thundered home two slam dunks and Sekou Harris (13 points) knocked down two of his three treys to help Plainfield put together a 17-6 tear that knotted the game at 22-22. From there, the Cards went back and forth with Asbury Park for the final 4:30 of the half as the two teams combined for four ties and a lead change during that stretch.
In the second half, however, the Cardinals went to a 2-3 zone in the halfcourt, which stopped the Bishops ability to penetrate and drive to the basket like they had been able to do in the first half. Asbury Park was forced to beat Plainfield from the perimeter, which it could not do. The two time defending Group I champions only had one trey the entire game, and that was from Thomond Hammary (13 points) with under two minutes to play in the contest.
With Asbury Park unable to click from the perimeter and stifled from getting to the basket, Plainfield was able to get one and done possessions on the defensive end, get rebounds and out into the open floor for layups. Jahmal Lane (21 points) was the benefactor of many of these easy baskets, especially in the fourth quarter when Plainfield continued to pull away from a 48-40 third quarter lead. Leading by only one at 39-38 with 2:58 to go in the third, Plainfield went on a 15-2 tear including a flush by Sears to end the third.
After Asbury Park got a basket from Amir Conover at the 4:29 mark, Dijon Allen-Jordan (17 points) thundered home a dunk that sent all the Asbury Park fans to the exits as Plainfield led 56-42 a little less than midway through the final frame. For the game, the Cardinals had a total of seven dunks including four by Allen-Jordan and three by Sears. The Blue Bishops also had a couple dunks of their own thanks to the Conover twins, Amir (14 points) and Armond (18 points). It was another great display of athleticism on the floor although there weren’t as many blocked shots as there were in the Neptune game on Saturday.
Plainfield again was put on the ropes early in this one as Asbury Park fed off the energy of its large contingent of fans. The Blue Bishops had a 12-0 run over a span of 4:10 of the first period to turn a 5-4 deficit into an 11 point lead. The Cards also didn’t help themselves early on by missing 7 of their first 8 free throws. Eventually, the Union County Tournament and two time defending Group III champions, would settle down, and take over in the second half for the win. Plainfield advances to the TOC semifinals to take on St. Joseph’s of Metuchen on Friday night at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway.
GMC Hoops Game Notes–#5 Ewing vs. #4 Atlantic City–NJSIAA Tournament Of Champions Quarterfinals–March 14, 2012March 15, 2012 on 10:11 am | In General | Comments Off
Clutch Three Pointers Late In 4th And OT Boost Vikings Past Ewing
TOMS RIVER, NJ–In a game that saw four lead changes and 11 ties, and neither team having a lead bigger than six points, it came down to clutch plays and Atlantic City made more of them. The Vikings nailed four clutch three points over the last 4:18 of the contest to not only force overtime, but win the game in the extra session over a Ewing team that had a four point lead with 25.5 seconds to go in regulation, and a five point lead with 1:30 remaining in overtime.
Kayshawn Dunston (23 points) hit three pointers with 1:20 left, and 32.7 seconds remaiining in overtime before Gabriel Chandler capped the decisive 8-0 run with two free throws with 23.4 seconds to go as Atlantic City advanced to play top ranked and top seeded St. Anthony’s in the Tournament of Champions semifinals on Friday night at Rutgers with a 68-65 victory over Group II State Champion, Ewing. Martel Johnson (8 points) struck for a three pointer from the left side of the key as time ran out in regulation to knot the game at 58-58.
However, all of these heroics wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the three pointer from Dayshawn Reynolds (5 points) with 17.5 seconds to go. Reynolds trey from the left side pulled Atlantic City within a point, and after a Ron Valentine layup off a long pass from Dontate Jones (18 points) put the Blue Devils ahead 58-55 with five seconds to play in regulation, Johnson came down the floor in transition, took his time to set himself, and knocked in the game tying jumper as the buzzer sounded putting the Atlantic City faithful in attendance into a state of joyous frenzy.
Atlantic City had five threes in the game including three by Dunston. The Vikings also had the all out play by Jaleem Montague to be thankful for. Montague was all over the place, running the floor well, getting rebounds, blocking shots, and picking up steals. Montague ended up with a double-double of 10 points and 15 boards. Chandler also turned in a double-double effort with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Isaiah Graves attacked the basket for 9 points as well for the Vikings. AC’s depth proved also to be a big factor. The Vikes had eight different players score while Ewing only had 6. The Group IV state champion also outscored the Blue Devils by a margin of 15-0 in points scored from beyond the arc.
Ewing showed a lot of fight in this one though. With big man David Azoroh (21 points and 8 rebounds) and Jones leading the way, the Blue Devils overcame two six point deficits in the first half to take the lead. Ewing, which lost its starting point guard to injury during the football season this year, went on a 14-4 tear over a span of just 3:29 to turn a 16-10 deficit into a 24-20 lead. In the third quarter, Atlantic City went ahead again before Ewing rallied back to tie. Trailing 39-34 after a Dunston putback with 2:05 to go in the third, the Blue Devils showed great resiliency again with a 9-4 spurt over a span of 6:21 that included seven points from Jones and a bucket by Azoroh to tie the score again at 43-43.
The Vikings then scored 7 of the next 10 points to take a 50-46 lead with 2:32 remaining in the fourth, but once again Ewing battled back with a 10-2 spurt not only to tie the game, but take the four point, 56-52 lead with under a half minute to play. Isaiah York scored all seven of his points in the game during this stretch for Ewing while Azoroh added another bucket. This matchup lived up to the potential of being a great game like I thought it would. Atlantic City had battled back from deficits all throughout the state tournament while Ewing came into the T of C playing its best basketball of the season. I even thought Ewing could win it. It was another great chapter in New Jersey High School boys basketball this season.