Here are highlights from the action in the first round, or Round of 16 contest in the 2016 Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament between 10th seeded J.P. Stevens and 7th seeded Old Bridge.
This game was a rematch of a contest won by Old Bridge back on January 30th at OBHS (72-62). This time, the match-up was much closer as the Hawks of JPS controlled the tempo throughout and made the Knights play a more half court game. For the better part of three quarters, the Knights struggled as they couldn’t get their patented perimeter game going.
Stevens, led by the trio of Rishav Ghosh, Mike Lionikis, and Alex Corrigan, overcame an 8-1 deficit with two minutes left in the first quarter to take a 20-16 at the intermission. The Hawks outscored the Knights by a 19-8 margin over the last 10 minutes of the first half for the lead. Then, in the third quarter, JPS outscored OB by a 12-9 margin for a 32-25 lead heading into the fourth.
Trailing 38-29 at one point in the fourth, Old Bridge rallied with a 12-1 tear that was sparked hustle and big defensive plays by forward and baseball standout, Zach Attianese, a three point play by Connor Romano, a three pointer by Stephen Strom, and a three point play by Strom to take a 41-39 lead. Stevens did manage to tie the game at 41-41 prior to a Knights timeout with 3:59 left.
Following the stoppage, Old Bridge scored 5 of the last 8 points and held off a couple scoring opportunities by J.P. Stevens in the last 5.3 seconds for a 46-44 win. Strom led the Knights with 22 points while Romano chipped in with 12. Ghosh led the Hawks with 15 points while Lionikis chipped in with 13 and Corrigan added 11. With the win, Old Bridge advances to the GMCT Elite Eight for the 2nd time in 4 years to face Red Division rival, South Brunswick on Sunday.