EDISON, NJ–On Sunday night, GMC Hoops headed on over to The Basketball Shooting Academy over on Carter Drive in Edison to take in the second week of action at the 2008 TBSA Fall League. The site had just gotten off work, and still managed to get in the two finale games of the huge day at TBSA. The one game featured J.P. Stevens against Plainfield on Court #2 in what could be a preview of the North Jersey Section 2 Group IV State Tournament while the other was another GMCvs. Union County battle as Colonia took on Roselle on Court #3. It was the second week in a row that the web site captured both Stevens and Colonia in action at TBSA.
Plainfield Stuns Stevens With Last Minute Rally, 67-66
This would turn out to be quite a thriller. However, things didn’t start out all that well for Plainfield. As a matter of fact, it appeared as if the Cardinals from the Watchung Conference were going to lose the game. Trailing 63-57 with only 1:08 to play, Plainfield rallied behind Isiah Epps and Anthony Baskerville to come from behind with a 10-3 tear down the stretch capped by a Baskerville trey as time expired for the riveting 67-66 victory. The Cards, which competed in the HawksBasketball Fall-Ball Classic for the past several years, and lost to Cardinal McCarrick in their opener, evened their record at 1-1 on the fall while Stevens dropped to 0-2 after losing to Weequahic during the opening week of action.
GMC Hoops entered the gym after work to see Plainfield out in front 5-4 with 16:20 left in the first half. Epps followed up with a three pointer just 12 seconds later for an 8-4 lead at the 16:08 mark. The Cards then added another point on a free throw for a 9-6 lead at the 15:45 mark before Stevens got a field goal to close within three at 9-6. Plainfield, which is now coached by former SPHS head coach, Jeff Lubreski, then reeled off the next three points in a row to take a 13-6 advantage at the 13:14 mark. Forty-five seconds later, the Cards were on the board again with another basket for a 15-6 lead at the 12:29 mark. The Hawks finally started to get going when Kenny Bland drew a foul on a Plainfield player that blocked the JPS senior forward’s shot. The result was a pair of free throws for a 15-8 lead at the 12:06 mark.
Fired up now, Bland went to work again over a minute later when he knifed into the key from the right wing for a scoop shot that went in as he was fouled for a traditional three point play that closed the gap to four at 15-11 with 10:57 to go before the intermission. Nearly a minute after that, Bland was at it again with an offensive rebound and follow off his own miss that drew another foul that produced two free throws for a 15-13 Plainfield lead at the 10:04 mark. The Hawks had a chance to tie the game up with a score, but after senior point guard, Tahir Swinton swiped a steal, he turned it over by trying to be too fancy with a behind the back pass at the 9:28 mark. On the next Cardinal possession, Plainfield, which recently competed in the Summer Prime Time Shootout at Allentown High School, picked up one of two free throws at the line for a 16-13 lead with 8:59 to go before the intermission.
Stevens came back down right away on its next possession as senior forward, Myles Reuben scored on a tip in off the follow for a 16-15 Plainfield lead at the 8:32 mark. Plainfield responded with an offensive rebound and follow of its own for an 18-15 advantage with 8:15 to go before the half. The web site took a break from the action to take in some of the Colonia and Roselle matchup, but would return with 2:35 remaining, and Stevens now in front, 26-23 thanks to an 11-5 spurt. From the time that the Hawks trailed, 15-6, JPS had outscored Plainfield 20-8 in a span of 9:54 to take the three point lead. Stevens pressure then coerced the Cards to call a timeout at the 2:22 mark. Following the stoppage, Plainfield pulled within one as Epps grabbed an offensive board off his own miss, and dished out an assist for a layup that made the score, 26-25 at the 1:42 mark.
Reuben would get one of two at the foul line to make it a two point Hawk lead at 27-25 with a minute to go, but the Cards then got four straight points to go up by two including another offensive rebound off his own miss by Epps that he put back in this time for a 29-27 lead. However, the Hawks ended the first half with four unanswered points including a pair of free throws by Nick Pol after he was fouled on a drive at the 6 second mark, and then a steal for a layup as time expired for the 31-29 advantage at the half. In the second half, Stevens remained in control for the most part until the very end. Both teams combined for 73 points in the second half with Plainfield gaining the slight 38-35 edge for the win. The three point differential in the second half was thanks to Baskerville’s late game heroics. GMC Hoops was paying attention more to the action taking place between Colonia and Roselle, but kept up with what was happening between the Cardinals and the Hawks.
With 12:09 to play in regulation, both teams had scored ten points each as Stevens clinged to a two point, 41-39 lead. Forty seconds later, the game was tied on a Plainfield field goal at the 11:29 mark. Forty-four seconds after that, Epps dribble penetrated and kicked to Baskerville for a three pointer from the left side for a 44-41 lead at the 10:45 mark. Over the next two and a half minutes, the Hawks scored four straight points including two free throws at the 8:15 mark for a 45-44 lead. JPS then went up by three as Bland kicked out to Pol in the left corner for a jumper, and a 47-44 score with 7:39 to play in regulation. Then, the next 4:24 saw the Hawks increase their lead by another two with a 9-7 run for a 56-51 lead at the 3:15 mark. Bland then added one of two at the line with 3:06 remaining for a six points, 57-51 lead. Nearly a minute went by before another score as the Cardinals got a field goal to pull within four, and called for time with 2:09 to play.
Both teams then exchanged scores over the next 30 seconds for a 59-55 JPS lead with 1:39 left. Seven seconds later, the Hawks went up by six with a field goal at the 1:32 mark that made it 61-55. Plainfield wouldn’t go away though as Baskerville made a nice dish for a layup, and a 61-57 Stevens lead with 1:13 to go. Bland then made two free throws for a 63-57 lead with 1:08 remaining in regulation. Epps then promptly responded with a three pointer for a 63-60 score at the 52 second mark. Stevens then was flagged with a backcourt violation that turned the ball back over to the Cardinals with 38 seconds to play. Plainfield then scored a layup as it was fouled, but missed the bonus free throw, and the ball went off a Stevens player out of bounds with the score 63-62 at the 29 second mark.
The Cards then made it a 7-0 run when Epps spun, pivoted, and layed it up and in for a 64-63 lead with 21 seconds to go. On the very next Hawks possession though, Swinton was fouled, made one of two at the line, got a break thanks to a Cardinal lane violation, missed the extra free throw, but Bland was there to save the day with an offensive rebound and putback for the 66-64 lead. The lead would not be enough though as Baskerville came down the floor for a three pointer from the top of the key that gave the Cards a thrilling buzzer beating win over the Hawks, 67-66. See more details on this game and others played to date in the GMC Hoops TBSA Fall League Notes.
|J.P. Stevens (0-2)||31||35||66|
Colonia Rallies In Second Half To Defeat Roselle, 43-37
In the other 8:00 PM game that was taking place on this Sunday night, Colonia led by senior forward Nnamdi Usuwa, overcame a six point halftime deficit with a 28-16 showing in the second half for a 43-37 win over Roselle of Union County and the Mountain Valley Conference. After watching the first half of what would be a spellbinding game between J.P. Stevens and Plainfield, GMC Hoops came over to Court #3 to watch a bit of the end of the first period between the Patriots and Roselle. With 3:02 remaining before the intermission, the site sat down to see the Rams in front by four, 16-12. Not having the services of senior guard, J.J. D’Amico did appear on the surface to have a bit of an effect on the Pats from an offensive standpoint, but that would soon change.
Moments after arriving though, things went from bad to worse as the Rams came up with a three point play of the conventional variety at the 2:54 mark for a 19-12 edge. A little bit more than a minute later, Usuwa got his team going again with a drive to the basket that drew contact, and resulted in a foul that produced one of two free throws at the foul line for a 19-13 Roselle lead with 1:50 to go before the half. A minute and ten seconds would go by before the next score as Usuwa got a field goal thanks to a two handed layup on the right low block that closed the gap to 19-15 at the 40 second mark. On the very next Roselle possession, the Rams would score on a jumper from the left side to close out the first half scoring, and make it 21-15 at the intermission.
In the second half, both teams would combine to score more points, but Colonia would get the lion’s share in their 12 point edge for the victory. The Rams started out fine though with three of the first five points for a 24-17 lead at the 17:19 mark. Nearly a minute went by before the next score, but it would be the Pats getting on the scoreboard as sophomore Dave Cole found Usuwa on the right wing, and then the senior forward powered in for a layup that pulled CHS within five again at 24-19 with 16:23 to go. A little bit over a minute later, Roselle got on the board via the charity stripe by making one of two for a 25-19 edge at the 15:06 mark. On the next Patriot possession, Colonia knocked down a pull-up jumper in the key to close to within four at 25-21 with 14:33 left.
Neither team would score for 2:47 before the Pats pulled within one as Usuwa kicked out to St. Joseph’s transfer and sophomore guard, Matt Wagner, who knocked in a three pointer from the left corner for a 25-24 score at the 11:46 mark. Thirty-six seconds later, Roselle made another one of two at the foul line for a 26-24 lead with 11:10 to go. But, moments later on the next Colonia offensive series, the Patriots tied things up with a layup that made the score 26-26 at the 10:55 mark. The Rams came right back down the floor though, and put in a field goal to go back ahead, 28-26 at the 10:38 mark. Sixty-five seconds later though, the Patriots knotted things up again as Cole made a nice bounce pass to a teammate for a layup, and a 28-28 score with 9:33 remaining in regulation. Roselle would retake the lead with another one of two showing at the line that made it 29-28 with 8:25 left, but Colonia took the lead for good with seven of the next eight points including another Wagner jumper off the dribble following a pass from Usuwa at the 8:00 mark.
The web site would return with inside four minutes to play, and Colonia now leading, 35-30 at the 3:50 mark. Twenty-eight seconds later, the Patriots called for time, and after the timeout, the Rams of Roselle would first get a field goal, and then another one of two at the foul line thanks to a Patriot technical foul at the 2:00 mark. Now, suddenly, the score was 35-33. However, Usuwa came up big with a conventional three point play that consisted of a layin and a foul for a 38-33 lead with 1:42 to go. Roselle would come back on its next series with a field goal to close the gap to three at 38-35, but then Wagner put the final nail in the coffin with a three pointer from the right corner off another kickout by Usuwa for a 41-35 lead at the 1:04 mark. After a Ram score, Wagner closed out the game with two foul shots with 18 seconds left for the 43-37 win. With the victory, Colonia improved to .500 at 1-1 while Roselle fell to 0-2 on the fall. Both teams will be back in action next Sunday afternoon with the Pats facing off against Hunterdon Central on Court #3 at 2:00 PM following Roselle facing Bishop Ahr on the same court at 1:00 PM.