A Wild Early Season of Upsets Has GMC Hoops Rankings in State of Disarray
|Colonia big man, Chad Baker, who is seen here blocking a shot against Edison on December 18th, has led the way along with teammates Luke Valeriano and Chris Sica to give Colonia one of its best starts ever and a spot at the top of the latest GMC Hoops Top Ten.|
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ—In a wild and chaotic early season, not many teams have emerged unscathed as we begin the new year. Only top ranked Colonia and five ranked J.P. Stevens remain undefeated in the early going. Top ranked St. Joseph’s took a tumble while Piscataway moves into the top three despite being under .500 after playing a very tough schedule to begin 2018-19. Below is the latest GMC Hoops Top Ten as of December 31, 2018:
GMC Hoops Top Ten—-As of December 31, 2018
1. Colonia (6-0) – Previous Rank: 2. Won all three games at the LeGrand-Haley Jubilee. The Patriots also opened the season with wins over Scotch Plains-Fanwood (53-39), Edison (58-30), and No. 9 Carteret (49-41).
2. Old Bridge (5-1) – Previous Rank: 3. Reached Championship Game of Matawan Huskies Classic before losing to host school Matawan in OT (52-50). Defeated Holmdel (52-39) and Edison (49-45) in the first two rounds.
3. Piscataway (2-4) – Previous Rank: 5. Has won only two games but one of them was an 83-68 victory over pre-season number one, St. Joseph’s on December 18th. P-Way also defeated Hillsborough in the holiday tourney, and lost in overtime to 2nd ranked Old Bridge. The Chiefs have also played a very tough early season schedule with the likes of Linden (lost 53-45), Elizabeth (lost 54-38), and West Orange (67-64).
4. St. Joseph’s (4-2) – Previous Rank: 1. The Falcons dropped out of the top spot with a loss on the road at Piscataway in its second game of the season. St. Joe’s also lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Seton Hall Prep on December 22nd before winning both of its holiday tournament games in Long Island over St. Anthony’s (NY) (58-55) and Kellenberg Memorial of Long Island (57-50). Falcons travel to North Edison to take on Stevens on Thursday followed by a tough non-conference matchup against a high powered St. Benedict’s team on Friday night.
5. J.P. Stevens (6-0) – Previous Rank: 8. The Hawks move into the top five for the first time since the 2008-09 season with solid first week wins over No. 7 East Brunswick (49-27) and No. 6 Bishop Ahr (57-46) at home in North Edison. Stevens then rolled past both Scotch Plains-Fanwood (55-35) and Perth Amboy Tech (58-26) to claim the Anthony Cotoia Tourney in South Plainfield, and begin the season at 6-0 for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign. Big game against No. 4 St. Joseph’s on Thursday evening at JPS.
6. Bishop Ahr (6-2) – Previous Rank: 3. The Trojans opened the season with four straight wins over South River (82-57), Calvary Christian (89-49), Metuchen (83-41), and Spotswood (73-59). Then BGA was knocked off by 5th ranked J.P. Stevens in a battle for bragging rights in North Edison on December 22nd (57-46). Ahr won 2 of 3 games to finish 3rd in the Albert Martin Buc Classic over the holidays with the only loss coming at the hands of Notre Dame (70-65).
7. East Brunswick (3-2) – Previous Rank: 7. The Bears had two straight losses to open the season against St. Joseph’s (62-54) and J.P. Stevens (49-27), but have since rebounded to win three straight including victories over Perth Amboy (73-53), as well as New Brunswick (66-52) and North Brunswick (81-69) in the Brunswick Classic over the holidays.
8. Spotswood (3-3) – Previous Rank: 14. The Chargers opened up the season with three straight wins over South Plainfield (61-49), Timothy Christian (69-37), and an upset over Carteret (72-54). Since then, Spotswood has lost three straight including to No. 6 Bishop Ahr, and Watchung Hills, and Bound Brook in the Crusader Classic over the holidays. Big test coming up for the Chargers on the road at South River on Friday night.
9. Carteret (3-3) – Previous Rank: 6. The Ramblers have had some ups and downs so far in the early going, but keep in mind that Carteret began last season at 4-3 in its first 7 games including two losses in the Matawan Huskies Tourney, which has always been a tough tournament to play in. This year, however, the Ramblers finished 3rd at Matawan with wins over Union (63-58) in overtime and GMC foe Edison (58-49). The team has also not had sophomore big man Malik Austin in the lineup much during the stretch although he had a tremendous game in the win over Union. Carteret returns to play in 2019 with the Battle of Exit 12 on the NJ Turnpike against neighborhood rival Rahway in Union County on Thursday night.
10. Monroe (4-2) – Previous Rank: 12. The Falcons only have losses to No. 5 J.P. Stevens on opening night (36-34), and at St. Joseph’s (85-54) on December 20th in Metuchen. Monroe has won its other four games by an average margin of 15.5 ppg including both of its games in the Monroe Township Holiday Tournament over Robbinsville (69-30) and Brick Township (51-49). MTHS had lost to Brick in each of the past two seasons in the tourney, and both were in heartbreaking fashion. Josh Daniels propelled the Falcons past the Dragons with a last second follow for the tourney title.
11. Dunellen (5-1), 12. Middlesex (3-1), 13. South River (4-2), 14. Sayreville (2-4), 15. North Brunswick (3-2), and 16. New Brunswick (3-2).