1964 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 Championship

Continuing a look back at the 1963-64 South Plainfield Boys Basketball team’s historic season, GMC Hoops focuses on the 1964 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 Championship between those Tigers and the Piscataway Chiefs.

1964 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 Championship–The Particulars

South Plainfield (21-1) vs. Piscataway
Where: Rutgers University College Avenue Gym–New Brunswick, NJ
Capacity: 3,200 seat gym
When: Thursday, March 12, 1964
Time: 8:15 PM
South Plainfield Head Coach: Anthony Cotoia
Piscataway Head Coach: John Gardner

1963-64 South Plainfield Tigers–Team Roster

Player Name Position Height
Laney McLaughlin Center 6’7″
Greg Cisson Forward 6’4 1/2″
Richie Steele Guard 5’11”
Roger Catarino Guard 5’10”
Wally Cirafesi Guard 6’1 1/2″
Louis Calderone Guard 5’9″
Ward Spisso Guard/Forward 6’2″
Bob Fulton Guard 5’11”
Greg Burgoyne Guard 6’0″
Artie Bierns Guard 6’0″
Richie DeVito Guard 5’9″
Bobby Yackanin Guard 6’0″
Billy Piotrowski Forward/Center 6’5″

1963-64 Piscataway Chiefs–Team Roster

Player Name Position Height
Robert Dornick Guard 5’11”
Robert Campbell Guard 6’0″
Don Marsh Guard 5’11”
Jay Donovan Forward 6’3″
J. Martinowich Forward 6’3″
J. Scholtz Guard 5’10”
Tomaino Center 6’5″
Elliot White Forward 6’2″

How They Got Here–1963-64 Piscataway Chiefs

Piscataway, which moved up from Group 2 this season, was one of the three other teams in this section besides South Plainfield. Sayreville and North Hunterdon (12-8) were the other two. The Chiefs defeated North Hunterdon in the sectional semifinals (57-38) as Don Marsh scored 26 points to lead the way.

Date Round Opponent Location Result
March 9, 1964 Central Jersey Group 3 Semifinals North Hunterdon Rutgers University Won 57-38

How They Got Here–1963-64 South Plainfield Tigers

South Plainfield won its first 18 games in a row before being upset by Dunellen (63-59) at Dunellen High School on February 22, 1964. The Tigers then finished the regular season with victories over Watchung Hills (57-34) and Middlesex (67-43) for a record of 20-1. The Tigers, who began the season ranked 14th in the Star-Ledger Top 20, were ranked 4th in the state before losing to the Destroyers.

Date Round Opponent Location Result
March 9, 1964 Central Jersey Group 3 Semifinals Sayreville Rutgers University Won 75-56

Previous Meetings

Before meeting in the 1964 Central Jersey Group 3 Championship, South Plainfield and Piscataway faced each other twice during the regular season. The first time they met was the third game of the SPHS season in December 1963 with South Plainfield winning 66-44. The two teams met again in January 1964 in the Tigers eighth game of the season with SPHS defeating the Chiefs, 59-42.

Did You Know?

Piscataway moved up to Group 3 for the 1963-64 season after winning the 1963 Central Jersey Group 2 Championship. South Plainfield played in the 1963 Central Jersey Group 3 Championship, and lost to Somerville in overtime, 52-50. The Pioneers of Somerville had also beaten the Tigers during the 1962-63 regular season with an opening night win (48-45). South Plainfield had won the 1962 Central Jersey Group 3 title.

1964 NJSIAA CJ Group 3 Championship–The Game

According to an article written by Tom Gannon for the South Plainfield Suburban Review from March 19, 1964, the Tigers got off to a slow start in the first quarter and P-Way took advantage for a 14-11 lead.

To make matters worse, Roger Catarino picked up 3 personal fouls. However, Bob Fulton, known for his solid shooting, came off the bench to score 9 points, and turned in a solid defensive effort on Jay Donovan.

In addition, Greg Cisson, who collected 7 points and 12 rebounds, limited Don Marsh to just 11 points while Laney McLaughlin collected a double-double consisting of a team high 20 points along with 10 boards.

Those efforts coupled with Richie Steele’s 17 points, helped the Tigers turn the game around with an 18-8 second quarter for a 29-22 halftime lead. From there, SPHS continued to pull away for an easy win.

South Plainfield outscored Piscataway by a margin of 39-26 over the final two periods for the 20 point, 68-48 win. Catarino rebounded to score 9 points including 7 from the foul line while sophomore Wally Cirafesi chipped in with 6 points and 4 rebounds.

Donovan managed to lead all scorers with a game high 22 points along with 5 rebounds while Marsh led the Chiefs with 7 boards. With the victory, the Tigers improved to 22-1, and advanced to take on Burlington, the South Jersey Group 3 Champion by virtue of its 54-39 victory over Merchantville in that sectional final, in the Group 3 State Semifinal on March 17th.

Line Score

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total
South Plainfield (22-1) 11 18 14 25 68
Piscataway 14 8 9 17 48

Team Stats

Category South Plainfield Piscataway
Field Goals Made 27 18
Field Goals Attempted 59 55
FG % 45.8 32.7
Free Throws Made 14 12
Free Throws Attempted 18 17
FT % 77.8 70.6
Total Rebounds 33 23
Score 68 48
Number of Players Scored 6 6
Number of Players Scoring in Double Figures 2 2
Number of Players With in Double Digit Rebounds 2 0
Number of Players with Double-Doubles 1 0

1964 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 Champions--SPHS Tigers  South Plainfield Box Score

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1964 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 Finalist--PHS ChiefsPiscataway Box Score

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