ISELIN, NJ–On Monday, GMC Hoops headed over to J.F. Kennedy High School to take in the opening round of the 2009 Gene Haley Memorial Tournament. For the past nine years, the tourney had been held at Edison High School, but this season locations were switched. For the fourth straight year, there is a non-conference school playing for the championship.
The North Hunterdon Lions, which competes in the Delaware West Division of the Skyland Conference, will be taking on J.F. Kennedy, a team playing in the championship for the first time since 2003. North Hunterdon overcame an early deficit to defeat Carteret while the Mustangs had some struggles defensively in the beginning before finishing the game on a 42-16 run to roll past Edison.
Foul Shooting Lifts North Hunterdon Past Carteret, 52-47
This game boiled down to one thing, and that was free throws. North Hunterdon made them while Carteret didn’t. The Lions were 17 of 20 from the foul line including a 9 of 10 showing from the charity stripe in the third quarter while Carteret was just 6 of 18 in a 52-47 vicotry. Junior guard, Brandan Rogan led the way for the winners with a game high 17 points on 5 of 12 shooting including 4 of 8 from beyond the arc, and 3 of 4 from the line. Junior forward, Mark Snider chipped in with a double-double of 14 points (on 4 of 6 shooting including 2 of 4 from three, and 4 of 5 from the line) and 10 rebounds. D.J. Hamlet led CHS in a losing cause with a team high 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting including two threes, and 2 of 4 from the line while senior center, Xavier Fuller chipped in with 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting and 1 of 2 from the line along with 9 rebounds.
It appeared to look like a blowout early as Carteret’s defense had North Hunterdon in disarray en route to an 8-1 lead at the 5:11 mark of the first. The Ramblers scored the first six points of the game including a jumper by Avery Carter, an offensive rebound and follow by Fuller, and a bank shot by Singh. D.J. Hamlet capped the run with a layup while being fouled, but missed the bonus free throw. North Hunterdon fought back though with a 9-2 spurt to tie things up at 10-10 before Nasheed Hamlet ended the opening frame with a line drive jumper for a 12-10 lead.
The Ramblers then opened up the second period from where they left off in the first as Nasheed Hamlet scored again on a layup while being fouled, but couldn’t convert the traditional three point play, and the score was 14-10. The Lions then went on a 7-2 spurt that was highlighted by a three pointer from Snider at the 5:45 mark for the team’s first lead of the game (17-16). D.J. Hamlet put Carteret back out in front at 19-17 with a three of his own off a kickout by Fuller at the 5:08 mark, but North Hunterdon eventually tied things up again with a jumper by Chris Bellofatto. Fuller then made one of two from the line at the 2:20 mark for a 20-19 lead.
Carter (9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and an assist) put the Ramblers up by three with a little more than a minute and a half remaining, but Rogan tied the game up at 22-22 with 26 seconds left on a three point shot that got a kind roll. The game remained tied going into the locker room at the intermission. The third quarter proved to be key as the Lions used their advantage at the foul line to take a six point lead. North Hunterdon sank 9 of 10 from the charity stripe in the period while Carteret was 0 of 4. The game went back and forth a bit with three lead changes and three ties before the Lions went ahead on a three pointer by Snider at the 3:20 mark, and one of two from the line by Rogan with 2:58 left in the frame for a 32-28 lead.
After D.J. Hamlet connected on a three pointer to pull the Ramblers within one at 32-31 with 1:13 to go in the period, North Hunterdon closed out the period with a 5-0 run that included a Rogan three pointer from the right wing at the one minute mark, and two free throws by Kyle Malavasi at the 25.5 second mark for a 37-31 lead heading into the fourth. In the fourth, North Hunterdon led by as many as eight points as Rogan hit another three at the 6:45 mark for a 40-32 advantage. Carteret fought back with a 5-0 run to pull within three, but Jack Hosein came up with a huge three point play on a layin that got a very kind roll with 5:23 to go for a 43-37 lead.
The Ramblers continued to battle though as Fuller came up with two field goals and Mike Merz got his only points of the game on a turnaround jumper at the 2:30 mark to cap a 6-0 run that tied the game at 43-43. Carteret then took its first lead since early in the third quarter on a layup, but the lead was short lived as Rogan connected on his fourth and final three of the game for a 46-45 lead with 1:25 left. From there, the Lions got two free throws each from Snider and Rogan while the Ramblers went 2 of 6 down the stretch in a 52-47 loss.
Howard And Robinson Help Kennedy Roll Past Edison, 73-44
For the most of three quarters, the winless Edison Eagles played inspired basketball in a game that many didn’t give them a chance to win. Kennedy didn’t come to play on the defensive end, and as a result, things were interesting for a while. However, after Edison took a 21-20 lead with 5:57 to play in the first half, the Mustangs began to assert themselves, and finished out the second quarter with an 11-2 run to take a 31-23 halftime lead. The Eagles got to within three on a 5-0 run to start the third, but JFK took control from there with a 42-16 surge over the last 15:08 including a 13-6 spurt to end the third, and a 29-10 rampage in the fourth for a 73-44 victory.
Senior forward, Rasheed Howard, led the way for JFK with 9 of 17 shooting from the floor, and 4 of 7 from the line for a team high 22 points to go along with 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and a block. Junior guard, Daishon Robinson made 6 of 11 shots and sank all three of his free throws to chip in with 15 points. Senior Joe Marciano added 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal. A.J. Pichalski was very active in the game with 9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Greg Grippo led Edison with a game high 24 points on 7 of 16 shooting including 3 of 4 from long distance while making all seven of his foul shots. Grippo, a sophomore, also picked up 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.
Turnovers helped do Edison in as it committed 22 for the game versus 19 for JFK. The first quarter started off much like the previous game with one team dominating early on to have the other rally back. Howard scored all of JFK’s 13 points in the first period including a three point play off an assist by A.J. Pichalski at the 6:46 mark that made the score 5-0. The JFK senior then added a layup, two free throws at the 2:40 mark, and another layup while being fouled at the 2:20 mark for an 11-4 lead. The Eagles fought back though with an 8-2 run to close the opening stanza including a three point play and three pointer by Grippo, who had 8 points in the period and an offensive rebound and follow by Kevin Luckenbach to pull within one at 13-12.
In the second, JFK held a four point lead on two occasions early on as Robinson came up with a three point play just moments into the period, and then Marciano connected on a turnaround jumper at the 6:31 mark for a 20-16 lead. However, the Eagles fought back as Adeboye Akinsiku connected on a three pointer and a short hook for all five points in a 5-0 run that gave EHS its first and only lead of the game at 21-20 with 5:57 to go before halftime. After a time out and pep talk by JFK head coach, Chris Banos, Marciano sparked a 4-2 run that put the Mustangs up for good at 24-23 with 2:04 to go in the half.
The Mustang defense then turned things up a notch by forcing steals that were converted into layups by Robinson and Marciano for a 28-23 lead as Edison coach, Charlie Mohr called for time. Howard, who had 16 of his points in the first half, closed out the second with a three point play with 16.3 seconds remaining for a 31-23 lead at halftime. Early on in the third, Edison tried to climb back in it on five straight points from Grippo including a layup on the opening possession of the period, and a three pointer from Tyrrel Morgan to close within three at 31-28 with not even a minute gone by in the second half.
Unfortunately for Edison fans, the Eagles would get no closer. JFK would score the next six points before Grippo made a three pointer from the right wing off an assist by Luckenbach for a 37-31 score. Pichalski then came up with a three point play to key a 5-0 run for a 42-31 Mustang lead at the 2:18 mark. After Edison got to within eight, Josh Kamenas grabbed an offensive rebound of a Howard miss, and put it back in for a 44-34 lead at the end of three. From there, it was all JFK, which outscored the visitors 29-10 in the final frame including a 6-0 run to start the period including another offensive rebound and follow by Kamenas, a field goal by Spoganetz, and a steal for a layup by Howard to take a 50-34 lead. Kennedy coasted from there to win by 29.
No Comments yet
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.