2022 NJSIAA Group 3 State Semifinals–Colonia vs. Ramapo


On Thursday evening, Colonia the 2022 Greater Middlesex Conference’s last team standing in the 2022 NJSIAA State Tournament, will take on North Jersey Section 1 Group 3 Champion, Ramapo in the Group 3 State Semifinal at Phillipsburg High School. The winner advances to the Group 3 State Championship Game at Rutgers on Sunday. Let’s take a closer look at this match-up.

NJSIAA Group 3 State Semifinal–The Particulars

Who: North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 Champion, Colonia (25-4) vs. North Jersey Section 1 Group 3 Champion, Ramapo (22-6)

Where: Phillipsburg High School

VenueAddressMap (Click for larger view.)
Phillipsburg HS Gym1 Stateliner Boulevard
Phillipsburg, NJ 08865

When: Thursday, March 10, 2022 at 7:00 PM

Listen Live:  Central Jersey Sports Radio at https://cjsportsradio.liberatedstreaming.com/

Watch LiveNJ.com at https://highschoolsports.nj.com/watch/42381


No. 3 Colonia Patriots (25-4)–Coaching Staff

Jose RodriguezColonia Head Coach
Edwin SantanaColonia Varsity Assistant/JV Head Coach
Brian O’LoneColonia Freshmen Coach
Danny BrixColonia Varsity Assistant
Eric LemberakisColonia JV and Varsity Assistant

Colonia Patriots (25-4)–Team Roster

Player Name Jersey No. PositionHeight/WeightYearHigh SchoolCollegeHometown
Saivon Pressley
Demond Nelson
Jaeden Jones
Anthony Gooden
Jeffrey White
Tymihr Van Kline
Matt Scherb
Noah Taylor
Meet Desai
Billy Anderson
Charles Hommel
Justin Gordon
Dylan Conklin
Michael Howell
Matthew McSorley

Colonia Patriots (25-4)–Season Schedule

Carteret Fri, 17 Dec Season Opener
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Edison Tue, 21 Dec GMC White
W 59-57
Frank Cangelosi Gym @ Edison HS
(Edison, NJ)
GMC Hoops
Sayreville Thr, 23 Dec GMC White
W 88-40
Sayreville HS Gym
(Parlin, NJ)
Sayreville Boys Basketball
Neptune Mon, 27 Dec Neptune Holiday Jubilee
Neptune HS Gym
(Neptune City, NJ)
North Brunswick Tue, 4 Jan GMC White
W 73-50
North Brunswick HS Gym
(North Brunswick, NJ)
Woodbridge Thr, 6 Jan GMC White
W 77-31
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Lenape Sat, 8 Jan Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout
L 64-80
Montgomery HS Gym
(Skillman, NJ)
St. Thomas Aquinas Tue, 11 Jan GMC White
L 52-64
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
J.F. Kennedy Thr, 13 Jan GMC White
W 74-28
J.F. Kennedy HS Gym
(Iselin, NJ)
Woodbridge TV-35
River Dell Sat, 15 Jan Non-Conference
W 50-35
River Dell HS Gym
(Oradell, NJ)
Carteret Tue, 18 Jan GMC White
W 64-22
Carteret HS Gym
(Carteret, NJ)
Ramblers SC
Edison Thr, 20 Jan GMC White
W 56-48
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Linden Fri, 21 Jan Investors Games
W 33-30
A.L. Johnson HS Gym
(Clark, NJ)
GMC Hoops
Sayreville Tue, 25 Jan GMC White
W 79-50
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
North Brunswick Thr, 27 Jan GMC White
W 65-48
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Elizabeth Sun, 30 Jan Investors Games
W 55-51
A.L. Johnson HS Gym
(Clark, NJ)
GMC Hoops
Woodbridge Tue, 1 Feb GMC White
W 64-38
Woodbridge HS Gym
(Woodbridge, NJ)
St. Thomas Aquinas Thr, 3 Feb GMC White
L 54-68
St. Thomas Aquinas HS Gym
(Edison, NJ)
Paterson Arts and Sciences Charter Sat, 5 Feb Non-Conference
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Carteret Sat, 5 Feb GMC White
W 81-45
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
J.F. Kennedy Tue, 8 Feb GMC White
W 73-32
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Piscataway Fri, 11 Feb GMC Crossover
W 71-48
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
NFHS Network
Robbinsville Sat, 12 Feb Non-Conference
W 61-43
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Plainfield Mon, 14 Feb Non-Conference
W 65-42
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Sayreville Thr, 17 Feb GMCT Round of 16
W 86-53
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Edison Sun, 20 Feb GMCT Quarterfinals
W 50-38
Middlesex County College Physical Education Center
(Edison, NJ)
GMC Hoops
St. Joseph's Wed, 23 Feb GMCT Semifinals
W 70-58
Monroe Township HS Gym
(Monroe, NJ)
GMC Hoops
St. Thomas Aquinas Fri, 25 Feb GMCT Championship
L 53-69
Monroe Township HS Gym
(Monroe, NJ)
GMC Hoops
Nutley Tue, 1 Mar North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 Opening Round
W 74-40
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Cranford Thr, 3 Mar North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 Quarterfinals
W 57-44
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Mendham Sat, 5 Mar North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 Semifinals
W 62-46
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
South Plainfield Tue, 8 Mar North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 Championship
W 56-52 2OT
Colonia HS Gym
(Colonia, NJ)
Ramapo Thr, 10 Mar Group 3 State Semifinal
L 39-49
Phillipsburg HS Gym
(Phillipsburg, NJ)
GMC Hoops

Colonia (25-4) vs. Ramapo (22-6)–Common Opponents

Key Players


  • Peyton Seals: 6’4″ Sr. G/F with 521 career points, and averaging 17.1 ppg this season.
  • Wyatt Ellington-Manner: 6’3″ So. G/F with 350 career points, and averaging 11.5 ppg this season.
  • Nathaniel Burleson II: 6’3″ Jr. G/F with 293 career points, and averaging 11.3 ppg this season.
  • Grant Sloan: 6’1″ Sr. G with 183 career points, and averaging 7.0 ppg this season.
  • Chris Servino: 5’11” So. G with 174 career points, and averaging 6.1 ppg this season.
  • David Wiedmuller 6’1″ So. G with 68 career points, and averaging 3.0 ppg this season.
  • Nehemiah Burleson II: 6’4″ So. F with 31 career points, and averaging 1.6 ppg this season.


  • Saivon Pressley: 5’10” Sr. G with 1,458 career points, and averaging 20.0 ppg this season.
  • Billy Anderson: 6’7″ Sr. F with 397 career points, and averaging 12.9 ppg this season.
  • Noah Taylor: 6’5″ Jr. F with 518 career points, and averaging 8.3 ppg this season.
  • Jaeden Jones: 5’10” So. G with 205 career points, and averaging 6.8 ppg this season.
  • Justin Gordon: 6’2″ Jr. G with 185 career points, and averaging 6.6 ppg this season.
  • Demond Nelson: 6’3″ Sr. G with 60 career points, and averaging 3.3 ppg this season.
  • Mike Howell: 6’6″ Sr. F with 101 career points, and averaging 3.2 ppg this season.
  • Matt Scherb: 5’11” Sr. G with 55 career points, and averaging 2.0 ppg this season.


The only time that Colonia and Ramapo have played each other over the past five years was in the 2019 NJSIAA North Jersey Group 3 Regional Final or Group 3 State Semifinal at East Orange Campus on March 7th that year.  Ramapo won the contest 35-32 after outscoring the Patriots 8-4 in the fourth quarter to overcome a 28-27 deficit.

Chad Baker, who is now playing college hoops at San Diego State and was recently honored as the Mountain West’s Sixth Man of the Year, led Colonia in defeat with a team high 14 points along with 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals.  Jimmy Frage, who earned GMC Hoops Post Season Player of the Year in 2019, chipped in with 11 points, 2 assists, and a rebound.

K.C. Hunt led all scorers with a game high 17 points along with 10 rebounds for a double-double.  Teammate Neal Quinn, who is now playing college ball at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, chipped in with a double-double of his own with 13 points and a game high 11 boards along with 2 blocks and an assist.  Max Pernetti, the son of former Rutgers AD, Tim Pernetti played for Ramapo in that game as well.

Quinn and Baker were later teammates in the annual North-South All Star Game at Rider University that season.  


Thursday night will be the fourth time the Patriots have reached the North Jersey Group 3 Regional Final or Group 3 state semifinal over the past 15 years.  The three previous times:  2007, 2015, and 2019, Colonia lost at East Orange Campus.  The Pats lost to Passaic Valley (73-47) in 2007, Bergenfield (52-51) in 2015, and Ramapo (35-32) in 2019.  

Only Bergenfield went on to win the Group 3 state title when it defeated Ewing, led by 2,000 point scorer Trey Lowe at Rutgers in 2015. Colonia has won 7 sectional titles:  1972, 1985, 1994, 2007, 2015, 2019, and 2022.  The last four have been in North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 while the first one in 1972 was actually Central Jersey Group 4.  

Head coach Jose Rodriguez, who coached Colonia to its last two sectional championships in 2019 and 2022 as well as a sectional finals appearance in 2020, also won a sectional title as a player for Carteret in 2000.  He also served as an assistant coach to Dave Turco at St. Joseph’s when the Falcons won sectional and state titles in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

With his 11 points in the Patriots thrilling 56-52 double overtime win over South Plainfield on Tuesday night, Colonia senior guard, Saivon Pressley now has 1,458 points for his career, which ranks him 3rd on the Pats all time scoring list behind 2002 graduate Justin Chiera (1,620 points) and Nick Smith (1,672 points).  Pressley, who has scored 773 points over the past two seasons at Colonia, is averaging 20.0 points per game on the season.


This Ramapo squad has overachieved somewhat.  With a squad consisting of ten sophomores, was the top seed in North Jersey Section 1 Group 3.  The Raiders, which finished 2nd to North Jersey Section 1 Group 4 champ, Ridgewood in the Big North Conference’s Freedom Division this year, defeated 16th seeded Northern Highlands (72-54), 8th seeded Morris Hills (62-44), 13th seeded Paramus (63-46), and 2nd seeded Tenafly (58-47) to win their sectional title.

Ramapo does have some size with five players 6’3” or taller including Seals and Burleson, who along with Grant Sloan combined for 47 of Ramapo’s 58 points to defeat Tenafly in the North Jersey Section 1 Group 3 Championship on Tuesday night.  Seals is averaging 17.1 points per contest while Ellington Manner is averaging 11.5 points per game.  Burleson is averaging 11.3 points per game.  Sloan is averaging 7 points per game.

Among Ramapo’s losses was a 77-69 loss to Non-Public A North champion, Bergen Catholic (77-69) in the Bergen Jamboree Semifinals on February 19th in Hackensack.  The Raiders also lost to Don Bosco Prep (65-54) in Ramsey on January 20th and at home versus Non-Public B South champion, Trenton Catholic (56-51) on January 22nd.  Ramapo also defeated Watchung Hills (69-68) in a state tourney tune-up on February 26th.

The Patriots are going to have to get another big game from Pressley, who will need to get going early and often, and try to get loose into the open floor for easy baskets and threes.  Billy Anderson, who has averaged 12.9 points per game, will need to turn in an all around performance with some scoring, plenty of rebounding, and some playmaking.  Noah Taylor, who leads the team in rebounds, had a monster double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds against South Plainfield.  A similar performance here will be a huge lift.

While the Patriots don’t have as much size and depth as they did a year ago, they still have plenty of both to rely on in this contest.  In addition to the 6’7” Anderson and the 6’5” Taylor, Colonia also has 6’5” senior forward Mike Howell and 6’2” Gordon, who were both teammates with Anderson on Colonia’s JV team that won the 2020 East Brunswick/GMC JV Tournament two years ago.

Although Gordon is only 6’2”, he has plenty of length and athleticism, and can not only score and rebound, but is also an unselfish playmaker for the Pats.  Howell, is a great complementary piece to Anderson, since both know each other very well, and have a good sense of what the other is doing on the court when on the floor together.  Howell turned in a solid effort off the bench for Colonia in Tuesday night’s win with 6 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists.

Other key contributors for Colonia are sophomore point guard and football standout, Jaeden Jones and senior Demond Nelson.  Jones has averaged 6.8 points and 4.1 assists per game including a season high of 10 in the Patriots 62-46 victory over Mendham in the North Jersey Section 2 Group 3 semifinals.  Nelson, a transfer from St. Joseph’s, who also played football for CTown this year, 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds since becoming eligible at mid-season. Both are very athletic.