Raiders Return to State Playoffs with 56-46 Triumph over Sayreville
Itâ€™s a special night for the North Brunswick Raiders, and not just because they have won 7 of their last 8 games.
Â Â Â For the second straight year, the Raiders will be at the dance for the state playoffs, and they do it by avenging a loss to the Sayreville Bombers on the seasonâ€™s opening night one month ago, as the Raiders prevail, 56-46 at NBTHS.
Â Â Â According to the remaining schedule, North Brunswick has four games remaining before the February 2nd cutoff date to be at .500 or better for the states. With the Raiders now at 8-4 on the season, that would put them in, no matter what happens in those 4 games.
Â Â Â This game got off to a very streaky start, as Sayreville led 6-0 before the Raiders could blink. Then, North Brunswick roared back with 8 straight points to take an 8-6 lead, before the game was tied at eight. That was when the Bombers would go on a 12-6 run to close out the first quarter, despite early foul trouble for Chris Matagrano, who picked up two early ones. Sayreville would hold the fort, thanks to Ricardo Harding (19 points).
Â Â Â However, back came the Raiders, behind the rebounding of center Jeff Ashamole (15 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks), some good play from Ricky Harris, and a crucial defensive effort from C.J. Brathwaite (21 points, 4 rebounds, 6 steals). With a total team effort behind them, North Brunswick was able to go into halftime tied with Sayreville at 29.
Â Â Â An evenly matched second half saw the streakiness continue, as Brathwaite scored the first 4 points of the third, but then, back came Sayreville to tie it, before the Raiders went on a 6-1 run to jump out in front again, 39-34.
Â Â Â In the fourth, the home team looked to finish off their opponents with some late game heroics. Brathwaite would close the door on Sayreville by being on the receiving end of a fast break pass from Harris to lay up and in with 2:08 remaining in the game to give North Brunswick a 49-40 lead. Senior forward Jordan Wright (10 points, 5-6 free throws) would then finish the job by going 4 for 4 from the foul line in the final minutes, including 2 big free throws with 1:17 left to give the Raiders a 51-44 lead that they would not relinquish.
|North Brunswick (8-4)||14||15||10||17||56|
High scores: Sayreville – Ricardo Harding (19 points)
North Brunswick – C.J. Brathwaite (21 points); Jeff Ashamole (15 points)
Â Â Â One of the keys in this game for North Brunswick was shutting down the rest of the Sayreville offense. Yeah, Ricardo Harding got 19 points, but no other Sayreville player hit double digits. Nice job by the Raider â€œDâ€.
Â Â Â As for C.J. Brathwaite and Jeff Ashamole, they have made a pretty good tandem. Also, solid performances from Ricky Harris and Jordan Wright. Justin Morgan has sat out the last 4 games with an injury, so if he does get back into the mix this season, perhaps the Raiders could step into the elite of the GMC, but for now, Iâ€™m sure they will be happy to step back into the state playoffs. Congratulations to head coach Ed Breheney, and company.