Tigers Still Need To Sustain Solid Effort On Both Sides Of Ball For Entire Game
UNION, NJ–South Plainfield boys basketball is improving. This past season, the Tigers surpassed the win total of the previous year by two games. In addition, they have a solid group of freshmen coming up. SPHS made another huge step in rebuilding its program by participating in the Kean Spring League. True, the Tigers had a tough road to go against the likes of Piscataway, Newark Central, Notre Dame, Shabazz, Scotch Plains, and Westfield, but there have been moments of brilliance.
Sophomore Justin Glover has emerged as the big playmaker on this team. Only standing at 5′10″, Glover has impressed by scoring from all kinds of angles. Meanwhile, frosh standouts Jordan Lackey and Malik Cisson have made solid contributions in losing causes against Sayreville and J.F. Kennedy. Soon to be senior Joe Skwiat is putting a big step forward to a better season next year. Skwiat, who played well at times at the Immaculata Fall League prior to this past season, showed a nice touch on his baseline jumper as well as around the basket in a loss to Kennedy.
Not to be left out is point guard Ray Perez, who has been a solid playmaker as well as perimeter threat. Despite all of these positives though, the Tigers have struggled this spring. South Plainfield has been more of a Jekyll and Hyde team this spring. While there have been moments of good, solid basketball, there have been moments where the Tigers didn’t show up. The team still needs to sustain those good efforts for an entire basketball game. Take for instance, the game against J.F. Kennedy. South Plainfield enjoyed a surprising 32-16 lead on a Skwiat putback with 16:09 left, but then succumbed to a 31-9 surge to a Kennedy team that was more experienced, and bigger down low. JFK wore the Tigers down.
This past week against Roselle, the Tigers put together another decent effort on defense by only yielding 44 points to a Rams team that likes to press and play up-tempo. However, SPHS was plagued by a lack of offense that only scored 10 points over the first 25 minutes or so of the game, and ended up with just 25 in a 19 point loss. Several weeks ago against Sayreville, the Tigers fell prey to the Bombers perimeter shooting, and a 19-0 run that gave their White Division rivals a 34-15 lead early in the second half before SPHS rallied. South Plainfield ended up losing the game 53-48. The Tigers also fell behind 30-12 in the first half to Piscataway in week one, and ended up losing 53-36.
South Plainfield has a lot to look forward to with young talent such as Glover, Perez, Lackey, and Cisson along with top returner Claude Payne, and other top freshmen such as Robbie Eggert, Justin Marks, and Aidan McDermott. The team needs to get in better condition in the offseason to avoid getting worn down, and playing a more complete game of solid basketball.
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