Late Spurt by Hillbillies Dooms Bombers
|Sayreville’s Ryan O’Leary knocks down this three pointer late in the game against Verona at the 2016 Kean Spring League at Harwood Arena in Union on Wednesday night. The Bombers lost to Verona, 51-45 to drop to 1-2 on the season.|
UNION, NJ–Playing without the likes of sophomores Elijah Clark and Derek Astarita, the Sayreville Bombers took the floor against Verona at Kean University’s Harwood Arena in the third game of the 2016 Kean Spring League. The Bombers managed to play competitive behind the likes of Ryan O’Leary, Jahsim Floyd, and Hendersen Mautes. In the end though, it wasn’t enough as Verona came away with a 51-45 victory.
Trailing 36-34 with 6:23 remaining, the Hillbillies finished the game on a 17-9 surge including a pivotal 8-0 run that broke a 40-40 tie, and gave them a 48-40 lead. The spurt was sparked by a three pointer from the right side of the key. Then, after drawing a charge on the defensive end, Verona scored on a outback for a 45-40 lead. The Hillbillies then sank three of four from the line to cap the run before Ryan O’Leary banked in a runner to narrow the deficit to 48-42.
Verona netted two free throws to take a 50-42 advantage before O’Leary swished a three from the left wing to put the shorthanded Bombers within five with about a minute and a half remaining. After the Hillbillies made one of two from the line for a 51-45 lead, O’Leary came down the floor again, and sank another triple, but the problem was that he was fouled on the floor before releasing the shot so it didn’t count. Sayreville then failed to score off the ensuing inbounds, and Verona got the ball back. The Hillbillies eventually ran out the clock for the win.
The loss dropped Sayreville to 1-2 on the spring. The Bombers won on opening night over Roselle ten days ago, and then lost to Millburn this past Monday night. This is the third straight year that Sayreville has played in the Kean Spring League, which has 12 teams competing including two squads from Barringer of Essex County. Sayreville is the only team from the Greater Middlesex Conference competing in the league. Last year at Kean, Sayreville was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Two years ago, the Bombers were knocked out in the quarterfinals after defeating Watchung Hills in the opening round.
This past season, Sayreville went 18-10, won a share of the GMC White Division, and reached the quarterfinal round of both the 2016 GMCT and Central Jersey Group 4 Playoffs. A good nucleus is set to return for the Bombers next year with starters such as O’Leary, Floyd, Clark, and Astarita returning along with reserves like Mautes. Sayreville should be one of the contenders to win the GMC White next year along with a Woodbridge squad that also returns just about everyone from this past season and defeated the Bombers twice in three meetings.