LINDEN, NJ–For the second straight year, St. Joseph’s and East Brunswick reached the semifinals of the 2011 Linden Summer League. However, for the first time in three years, a team from the Greater Middlesex Conference would not be competing in the Championship on Thursday. It was the second straight summer that St. Joseph’s met Linden in the semifinals, but this time there was a different result as the Tigers prevailed in the final minute of play, 44-42. St. Peter’s Prep of Jersey City used a 17-4 tear over a 12:23 span to end the first half and start the second to turn a 10-7 deficit into a 24-14 lead, and then held off a late charge by East Brunswick to defeat the Bears by a 35-31 margin.
Moore Leads Linden Past St. Joseph’s To Final, 44-42
For the second straight year, the St. Joseph’s Falcons met up with the Linden Tigers in the semifinal round of the playoffs in the Linden Summer League. Last year, the Green Birds overcame a difficult start to defeat the Tigers. This year, they almost did it again. There was only one big problem with that summed up in two words: Quadri Moore.
Moore scored 14 points over the final 23:16 of the contest, but 11 of those points including two three pointers came in the final period of play. The last trey was the difference as Moore sank it from the left corner for a 44-41 lead with 35 seconds to play. St. Joseph’s had their chances in the last half minute of play, but could only muster one point at the line as the Falcons went one of six from the charity stripe in the final frame, and Linden won 44-42.
Two key stats determined the outcome of this game. Points scored from beyond the arc, and from the foul line. Linden had advantages in both of those categories with a 12-0 advantage in points scored on threes, and a 10-5 edge in points scored on free throws. St. Joseph’s was only 5 of 11 from the foul line for the game. St. Joe’s had a 29-28 edge in points scored over the last two plus quarters of the contest, but were outscored by a margin of 14-9 in the final period.
The Falcons scored their 29 points on 12 field goals and the five free throws while Linden had only 7 field goals, but four of them threes while also making 10 of 15 from the free throw line. St. Joe’s had an 11-5 edge in points scored off of turnovers. Moore made five field goals including his two fourth quarter threes while going just 2 of 4 from the foul line. Jordan Tapia stood tall for the Metuchen school with 11 points on five field goals and a free throw. Despite his struggles defending the much larger Moore in the corner in the second half, Tapia helped his team stay in the game with nine of his points over the final two periods.
Jake Dadika and Jalen Gilmore each added two field goals and a foul shot over the final 23:16 while Dadika had two steals and an assist, and Gilmore picked up two offensive rebounds including one for a score, a steal, and a charge. Salman Hasan chipped in with three points, Marcus Ashamole added a conventional three point play, and Josh Hudson got his only points during the stretch on a layin that tied the game at 41-41 with 1:07 remaining. The Falcons didn’t make any excuses with a solid effort from a group that played without the services of Quenton DeCosey, Danny Brix, Jimbo Long, and James Ziemba.
The game turned out to be quite a back and forth affair, especially down the stretch. Neither team had a lead bigger than five points in the final two periods of play. St. Joe’s largest lead was 33-30 entering the fourth period. The Falcons used a 12-4 tear over the last 7:07 of the third to take that lead into the final stanza. There were two lead changes and eight ties over the last 23:16 of the contest. Tapia sparked the run in the third that gave St. Joe’s brief control of the game with a three point play at the 6:49 mark. After Linden got a score off a floater with 5:07 to go in the quarter, the Falcons tied the game again at 28-28 with 4:14 to play in the third on layups by Gilmore and Dadika.
Following a scoring lull of about a minute and a half, and a brief departure from the game by Moore, who was shaken up at the 3:01 mark, the Tigers went back out in front at 30-28 with two free throws at the 2:41 mark. However, St. Joseph’s battled back with the final five points of the quarter including a pull-up jumper by Tapia at the 1:28 mark to tie the score at 30-30, and then a steal by Dadika that he converted into a traditional three point play with 1:10 remaining in the frame for a 33-30 lead. The Falcons had a chance to add to its lead in the waning moments of the third, but Hasan missed a three point attempt, and Dadika couldn’t score on the follow as time ran out in the period.
At the start of the fourth, Linden regrouped to take back the lead. After making one of two from the line at the 8:45 mark, the Tigers went in front as Moore made big plays at both ends. First, he blocked a layup attempt by Dadika at the 7:40 mark, and eight seconds later, he put Linden in front by the score of 34-33 with a three from the right wing. Moore then added one of two from the foul line at the 6:40 mark for a 35-33 lead, and put the Tigers up by four exactly a minute later when he scored down low for a 37-33 lead at the 5:40 mark. Despite two missed free throws by Dadika at the 4:57 mark, St. Joseph’s battled their way back to a tie.
Gilmore sparked the rally by drawing a charge on Moore with 4:03 to go. Tapia then connected on another pull-up jumper for a 37-35 Linden lead with 3:42 left. Gilmore made another big defensive play a little more than a minute later when he swiped a steal in the Tigers backcourt, and then converted the turnover on a putback for a 37-37 tie with a little more than two and a half minutes to play in regulation. On Linden’s next possession, Moore put the Tigers ahead again at 39-37 with a layup at the 2:16 mark. The Falcons had a chance to tie the game again, but a jumper by Dadika went in and out with two minutes left.
St. Joe’s kept pressing though, and Tapia managed to get a steal, and go the rest of the way for a scoop shot layup that tied the score again at 39-39 with 1:49 to play. Next time down the floor, Linden went back in front by drawing a foul, and making two free throws at the 1:29 mark. The Falcons answered though as Dadika dished to Hudson for a layin that tied the game again at 41-41 with 1:07 to go. Following a Linden timeout at the 1:02 mark, Moore connected on his second three of the quarter to give the Tigers the lead for good at 44-41 with just over a half minute to play. St. Joseph’s would only get one point the rest of the way as Linden earned a trip to the Championship for the second time in three years.
Spurt From Late Second Into Third Helps St. Peter’s Prep Hang On To Defeat EB, 35-31
After St. Joseph’s battled Linden in a semifinal that went down to the wire, East Brunswick scrapped with St. Peter’s Prep of Jersey City in the other semifinal on Wednesday. It was the second year in a row, the Bears reached the Final Four of the Linden Summer League. Last summer, EB lost to St. Patrick’s in the semifinals. This time, the Bears got off to a decent start thanks to the efforts of forward Rob Ukawuba, but the Marauders eventually overcame a sluggish start with a 17-4 spurt over a span of 12:15 that carried over from the middle of the second quarter to the middle of the third to turn a 10-7 deficit into a 24-14 lead.
St. Peter’s Prep led by as many as nine points with about a minute and a half to go before East Brunswick put together a rally to close the gap to three with 17 seconds to play. However, the Bears were unable to get any closer as the Marauders won 35-31 to advance to face Linden in the Championship Game on Thursday afternoon. For the game, St. Peter’s Prep, which has played in the last two Non-Public A North Championship Games with one title in 2010, compiled its 35 points on 10 field goals includes three treys, and made 12 of 18 from the foul line.
East Brunswick had only eight field goals including one three, and despite having more points from the charity stripe, it was 14 of 24 from the foul line including an 8 of 15 showing from the charity stripe in the first half. The Bears did a fine job of taking care of the basketball and keeping St. Peter’s Prep off the boards with a 4-2 edge in second chance points and an 11-4 advantage in points off turnovers. In a very physical game, EB did a superb job of playing defense as well. Led by the efforts of Garry Baumer, Jake Krantz (3 steals and a block), and Amir Bell, the Bears collected 11 steals, 7 deflections, 2 blocks, and a charge.
Ukawuba, who scored 8 points including the only two EB field goals in the first half, led the Bears in a losing cause with 14 points on four field goals and 6 of 9 from the foul line. The soon to be junior forward also collected four offensive rebounds with two of them converted into putbacks, three steals, an assist, block, and charge. Five other Bears added three points each including Baumer, Bell, Ethan Folz, Abu Bestawros, and Mike Summerer. It was a low scoring game, particularly in the first half. East Brunswick only led 8-7 after one period and had no field goals in the second while St. Peter’s Prep rallied with a 6-2 run to end the half for a 13-12 lead.
The Marauders, which had four field goals including two threes along with 3 of 4 from the foul line, then opened up the second half with an 11-2 tear over the first 4:52 to go up by ten midway through the third. The Bears, which went without a field goal over the last 7:18 of the third, still managed to narrow the deficit to six points by outscoring St. Peter’s Prep by a 4-2 margin over the last 4:11 of the stanza. Summerer made one of two free throws while Folz made three free throws after being fouled on a three point attempt at the 2:34 mark to pull the Bears to within 24-18 before St. Peter’s Prep made two free throws in the waning seconds of the quarter for a 26-18 advantage heading into the fourth.
In the final period, St. Peter’s Prep outscored EB by a slim 6-5 margin over the first 8:31 to increase its lead to nine with 1:29 remaining. However, the Bears didn’t give up. Over a span of just 58 seconds, East Brunswick went on a 9-2 tear to pull within three with 17 seconds left. Ukawuba sparked the rally by drawing a foul on a drive, and sinking both free throws at the 1:15 mark. After the Marauders drew a foul at the 1:09 mark, and made one of two free throws for a 33-25 lead, Ukawuba, who didn’t score for a span of 26:08 in the contest, scored again on a putback with 47 seconds remaining for a 33-27 St. Peter’s Prep lead.
After the Marauders made another one of two from the foul line with 44 seconds left, and a timeout at the 40 second mark, Ukawuba stole the ball, and strode in for a one handed dunk, and a 34-29 St. Peter’s Prep lead. The Bears then forced another turnover as Bestawros picked up a steal, and converted it into a layup to close the gap to 34-31 with under 20 seconds to play. EB almost got another steal, but the ball went out of bounds in front of the St. Peter’s Prep bench with eight seconds left. The Marauders then wrapped up the game with one of two from the line for a 35-31 victory.
GMC Hoops thanks the folks at Linden for their assistance this summer.
No Comments yet
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.