First Half Scoring Drought Too Much For Bears To Overcome
MONROE, NJ–For the third straight game, the Bears of East Brunswick battled all the way to the end, but ended up losing for the second consecutive time in action from the 2014 MJBL Spring League at the Monroe Sports Center on Thursday night.
Led by freshmen Mike Granda and Xavier Townes of St. Joseph’s and Joe Malave of Perth Amboy, Team Nation overcame a 10-8 first half deficit by going on a 14-2 tear over a span of just under 11 minutes to take a 22-12 lead before EB’s Ryan Ward connected on a three pointer from the right wing with 25 seconds left in the first half. Â Leading 24-15 at the half, Team Nation began the second half by scoring 7 of the first 9 points including a three by Townes for a 31-17 lead.
East Brunswick fought valiantly. Â The Bears made several runs during the remainder of the contest, but was unable to dig themselves out of the hole they dug in over the first 24 minutes of the contest, and lost 52-49 to fall to .500 at 2-2 on the spring. Â Team Nation jumped out to a 6-5 lead over the first few minutes of the game, and then got two free throws by Granda for an 8-5 lead. Â EB then responded with two free throws by Tyler McNamara, and then a trey by Nick Fudali for its last lead of the game at 10-8 with 11:20 left.
The Bears offense then went cold with no field goals for nearly 11 minutes while Team Nation took over. Â Led by Malave, Townes, and Granda, Team Nation sparked the run with a layup to tie the score at 10-10 with 10:59 left in the first half. Â Then, it took the lead with a basket by Malave and then a three pointer by Townes with under five minutes to go in the first half. Â Those scores seemed to open things up for Team Nation as it scored seven more points including another trey from the left corner, and a layup off a spin move by Malave for a 22-10 lead with two minutes left.
EB wouldn’t get another field goal until Ryan Ward’s three, and ended up trailing by nine at the break. Â Team Nation then took its largest lead of the game after opening the second half with a 7-2 run over the first four minutes for a 31-17 advantage. Â Townes capped the run with a trey from the right wing. Â East Brunswick rallied with 10 of the next 14 points over a span of just over three minutes as Matt Perel connected on a three from the left wing and Tyler McNamara converted a three point play at the 12:59 mark to close the gap to 35-27. Â Team Nation then matched its biggest lead of the game with a three from the left corner, and another trey from the right wing for a 41-27 edge midway through the second half.
Sparked by a three and a jumper in traffic by Perel, the Bears cut into the deficit again with a 7-4 spurt, but Malave then canned a pull-up jumper in transition to keep Team Nation in control at 47-34 with 5:14 remaining. Â East Brunswick kept scrapping though with a 9-2 rally highlighted by another three and a layup by Perel, and a short jumper by Ward to close the gap to 49-43 with 2:32 left. Â EB couldn’t get much closer than that though. Â Team Nation led 52-47 with 5.6 seconds left before missing a free throw that Billy Donahue rebounded, and proceeded to dribble down court unimpeded for a two handed dunk as time expired. Â With the victory Team Nation improve to 2-0 on the spring and will play again on Monday night against CJ Hawks FK at Applegarth Elementary School in Monroe. Â East Brunswick will play again on Friday night, May 9th against Hot Shots Geis at 9:45 PM.