Falcons Looking to Notch Fourth Straight Win in Showcase at Kean University
St. Joseph’s senior guard, Luke Fresco, shown here firing up a three point shot attempt versus Monroe in a GMC Red Division contest on December 20, 2018, leads the Falcons with an 11.9 points per game average including 28 three pointers.
UNION, NJ—Don’t write off the St. Joseph’s Falcons yet. While it has been a tough campaign for the three time defending Greater Middlesex Conference Champions and GMC Hoops Pre-Season No. 1, but St. Joe’s isn’t done if past history would tell you. After suffering back to back losses to South Brunswick and Old Bridge two weeks ago, the Falcons have won three straight.
For the first time since the 2012-13 season, St. Joseph’s will not win the GMC Red. Old Bridge earns that distinction by winning its first ever division title in boys basketball since Madison Central and Cedar Ridge merged to form the Red Division school for the 1994-95 academic year.
However, when East Brunswick won the title in 2013 by sweeping the season series with a Falcons squad that consisted of two current NBA players (Karl Anthony Towns and Wade Baldwin) and another that played in an NCAA Final Four (Marques Townes), St. Joseph’s rallied to defeat EB in the GMCT and eventually winning its 2nd straight state championship, and make its first ever TOC Finals Appearance.
St. Joseph’s was also written off in each of the past two seasons, but eventually emerged on top despite significant changes in the team roster and head coaching positions. This year, the Falcons have faced a tough schedule in addition to its usual Red Division slate including non-conference match-ups against Seton Hall Prep, St. Anthony’s of Long Island, Kellenberg Memorial of Long Island, St. Benedict’s, and on Sunday, St. Peter’s Prep of Jersey City in the latest edition of the Hearts 2 Hands Showcase at Kean University.
Currently, St. Joseph’s is 8-6 overall on the season including a 6-4 mark in the GMC Red for a second place slot behind Old Bridge, which is undefeated in divisional play at 10-0. Meanwhile, St. Peter’s Prep comes into the contest at 11-3 with a 10-1 mark in Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic Association play. The Marauders, which played and lost to the Falcons in back to back NJSIAA Non-Public A State Championships in 2013 and 2014, have only lost to West Side of Newark (56-46), Rumson Fair-Haven (50-47), and Hudson Catholic (43-36).
In the 54-43 victory at Monroe on Thursday, January 24th, Jack Hogarty turned in a superb effort with a team high 15 points while Tyree Ford has chipped in with 9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist. Howard McBurnie added 7 points and 8 rebounds in the contest while K-Shawn Schulters contributed with 7 points, 2 steals, an assist, and a rebound. McBurnie, who had a double-double of 13 points and 12 boards including a monster two handed jam late in the 4th quarter in a 65-49 win over Piscataway on January 22nd, has perhaps been the most consistent of the Falcons this year.
McBurnie has been averaging 9.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game this season coming into Sunday’s match-up. Luke Fresco has been leading the team in scoring with an average of 11.9 points per game. Fresco, a senior guard, who hit a dramatic three pointer to beat the buzzer in a last second 62-60 dramatic victory over Carteret in the 2018 GMCT Semifinals, has connected on 28 threes this season. Tyree Ford has been averaging 11.8 points per game while K-Shawn Schulters is averaging 8.2 points per contest. St. Joseph’s, which is looking to make its 12th straight GMCT finals appearance, is the only GMC school competing in this showcase on Sunday.
The Falcons match-up versus St. Peter’s Prep is the 2nd game of a five contest day at Kean University’s Harwood Arena on Sunday. Six teams that are currently in the NJ.com Top 20 in boys basketball are participating in the event plus St. Benedict’s, which isn’t ranked by NJ.com since it is not a member school in the NJSIAA. The marquee match-up of the day is the nightcap between No. 6 Gill St. Bernards taking on top ranked Ranney in a battle of former Patriot Conference rivals. Gill is coming off a heartbreaking 48-47 loss to Roselle Catholic on Friday night. Below is the complete schedule for the day at the Hearts 2 Hands Showcase at Kean on Sunday:
2019 Hearts 2 Hands Showcase—January 27, 2019—Schedule
- Newark West Side vs. St. Mary’s of Elizabeth, 12:00 PM
- St. Peter’s Prep vs. St. Joseph’s (Metuchen), 1:30 PM
- St. Benedict’s vs. Nazareth Catholic (PA), 3:00 PM
- Roselle Catholic vs. Camden, 4:30 PM
- Gill St. Bernards vs. Ranney, 6:00 PM
NJ.com will be providing coverage of this event with reports on 4 of the 5 contests including the contest between St. Joseph’s and St. Peter’s Prep.