NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ–After taking a day off on Wednesday due to the inclement weather, and efforts being made at putting together a tentative regular season schedule for 2007-08, GMC Hoops went back out on the road again to take in a scrimmage involving a team from the Greater Middlesex Conference. This time the web site traveled to North Brunswick Township High School to watch the home team Raiders face off against Roselle Catholic in a scrimmage. The Lions of Roselle Catholic, a member of the Mountain Valley Conference, are looking to put together another season worthy of a state tournament berth while North Brunswick is looking to make back to back trips to New Jersey High School’s answer to the Big Dance for the first time since the late 1990s.
North Brunswick Head Coach, Ed Breheney, is an alumnus of Roselle Catholic, and actually had the Raiders participate in the 2006 Ed Chakey Shootout back in January of that year. For those, who don’t know, Ed Chakey was a legendary coach at Roselle Catholic, who developed several players at RCHS that went on to be successful, and in some cases legendary coaches in New Jersey including Bob Farrell of Seton Hall Prep, Pat Hagen, who recently stepped down as head coach at Roselle Catholic, and Breheney, who was won a Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament Championship with the Raiders in 1997. After enjoying some success in the mid to late 1990s, boys basketball teams at North Brunswick have had a bit of a dry spell in terms of state tournament appearances. Prior to last season’s berth in the Central Jersey Group IV state tournament, where it went on the road to beat West-Windsor Plainsboro South in the first round, North Brunswick was last in the state tournament in 2003. That year’s team, led by the talented Shaheid Williams, eventually lost to Tournament of Champions semifinalist, Franklin in the Quarterfinals of that year’s Central Jersey Group III State Tournament.
Meanwhile, Roselle Catholic made the state tournament five times over the past six seasons including three appearances in the Non-Public A North Final Four. Back in 2002, the Lions reached the Non-Public A North Semifinals before losing to eventual sectional champ, Bergen Catholic, 56-48. After not qualifying for the states in 2003, the Lions once again reached the sectional semis in 2004, and like 2002, lost to the eventual sectional champion, Seton Hall Prep, 56-34. In 2005, Roselle Catholic again was defeated in the sectional Final Four by eventual champ, Seton Hall, but by a much closer margin, 50-45. In both 2006 and 2007, the Lions qualified, but were eliminated in the first round. Roselle Catholic has a fine reputation in the area for boys basketball, they compete yearly in the Linden Summer League, and were always a competitor in the HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic until this past fall when the Lions played at the second annual TBSA Fall League. This year’s team has two key veterans returning in point guard, Brendan Trelease, and forward Matt Henn.
The two teams went at it for six quarters. The JV squads battled over in another part of the gym at NBTHS. Of all the scrimmages that I’ve seen so far this pre-season, this was about as close as you can get. In the six periods played, Roselle Catholic won three periods while North Brunswick won two with the third period ending in a 16-16 draw. Overall, the Lions won the exhibition by a margin of 72-64 thanks in part to a 12-2 sixth quarter showing, where the Raiders played a lot of their reserves, and also turned the ball over early and often in the frame. Speaking of turnovers, both squads had plenty as North Brunswick made 37 miscues, which Roselle Catholic converted into 28 points while the Lions made 29 turnovers that the Raiders turned into 21 points. Crunching the numbers, North Brunswick would have had about 25 turnovers in a regular four period game while Roselle Catholic would have had 19. For the game, the Raiders shot 24 of 64 for 37.5 percent including 5 of 12 from three point range for 41.7 percent. At the foul line, North Brunswick made 9 of 14 for 64.3 percent. Meanwhile, Roselle Catholic made 29 of 91 shots for 31.9 percent including 11 of 24 from beyond the arc for 45.8 percent. At the foul line though, the Lions struggled making only 2 of 10 including several air balls for 20 percent.
Looking at the other statistics, both teams were even in rebounds at 51-51, but Roselle Catholic had nearly a two to one edge in offensive rebounds (25-13), and that resulted in 18 second chance points for the Lions while the Raiders had only seven points off second opportunities. RCHS ended up having the only fast break points with three off of a trey while North Brunswick held edges in assists (17-16), and blocks (4-0). The visitors from Union County had advantages in steals (13-12) while charges were even at 1-1. Analyzing these numbers, Roselle Catholic earned the slight edge in this scrimmage due to fewer turnovers, converting more of their opponents miscues, making a high percentage of three pointers, and enjoying a solid advantage on the offensive boards, and cashing in on the second chances that resulted from them. Individually for North Brunswick, Jeff Ashamole played much better than when we last saw him at the 2007 Middlesex County College Summer League. The 6′7″ center made 6 of 11 shots from the field, and 3 of 6 from the charity stripe for 15 points along with 9 rebounds, and three tremendous blocks.
C.J. Brathwaite took his share of shots, but didn’t hit many of them. As a matter of fact, he shot better from beyond the arc than inside it. For the scrimmage, Brathwaite, a senior, shot 2 of 11 from two point range while making 2 of 5 from three for a combined 4 of 16 effort from the field for 25 percent. He also made 4 of 5 from the foul line for a total of 14 points while picking up 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal. Junior point guard, Ricky Harris chipped in with five points on 2 of 5 shooting including a trey while handing out 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Michael Cole, another promising junior, played a bit early on, but left the game. The Raiders will have to find ways of replacing the output from the likes of Brandon Rogers and Laud Anderson, who are now playing at Middlesex County College. As a matter of fact, Rogers registered 12 points in a 99-60 victory by the Blue Colts over Bergen Community College on Tuesday night. More importantly though, North Brunswick demonstrated that it sorely misses the likes of Malcolm Stoby. The team committed a ton of turnovers, particularly at the point guard spot. In addition, the Raiders had similar troubles guarding the perimeter than it did in a scrimmage at Somerville last season. Couple that with the issues of the offensive rebounds, which were often a product of the long rebounds produced by missed Roselle Catholic threes, and you have several things that NBTHS needs to work on for its opener at Sayreville. Nevertheless, with Brathwaite and Ashamole back along with a talented junior class, the potential is there for the Raiders to make a return trip to the state playoffs.
No Comments yet
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.