2020 GMCT Boys Preliminary Round Preview

Tournament Resumes on Tuesday with 8 Preliminary Round Games at Higher Seeds

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ—The journey to the GMCT Boys Championship resumes on Tuesday with eight preliminary round match-ups at higher seeded teams. All the higher seeded teams won on Saturday on the boys tourney side.

Only one team from the GMC Gold advanced as 20th seeded Timothy Christian defeated 29th seeded Piscataway Tech for the third time this season. The Gold Division teams were a combined 0-5 against teams from other divisions in the play-in round.

Of the other six play-in round winners, three were from the GMC White (J.F. Kennedy, Sayreville, and Woodbridge), two were from the GMC Blue (Metuchen and Middlesex), and one was from the GMC Red (J.P. Stevens). The breakdown of combined records of the GMC’s other three divisions in the play-in round on Saturday was as follows: White Division (3-0), Red Division (1-0), and Blue Division (2-1).

The seven teams that advanced will all be on the road today as well as 17th seeded Spotswood, which travels to play 2nd place Gold Division team, and 16th seeded Wardlaw-Hartridge in North Edison, this will be the second time that these two teams will be playing each other. The last time, Wardlaw rallied from behind to defeat the Chargers, 58-51 in North Edison on January 25th.

Another match-up that is a rematch from earlier in the season is between 23rd seeded Metuchen and 10th seeded North Brunswick. The Bulldogs traveled to North Brunswick to face the Raiders on senior day at NBTHS back on February 7th, and lost 66-47.

J.P. Stevens and South Plainfield also squared off earlier in the 2019-20 campaign. The Hawks and Tigers battled each other in the opening round of the 2019 Anthony J. Cotoia Tournament at South Plainfield High School on December 26th, and the Tigers emerged victorious, 51-39 for their first win of the then young season.

The other five match-ups are first time meetings between the two schools this season. Woodbridge and Perth Amboy are playing each other for the first time in 6 seasons. Sayreville and East Brunswick are competing against each other for the first time in almost four seasons. J.F. Kennedy and Monroe are taking the floor to play each other for the first time in a little more than four years. Timothy Christian and Piscataway are playing each other for the first time in almost three years, and Middlesex and Old Bridge are playing each other for the first time in over seven seasons.

Let’s take a look at the 2020 GMCT Preliminary Round on Tuesday:

2020 GMCT Preliminary Round Schedule

  • #24 Woodbridge @ #9 Perth Amboy, 7:00 PM
  • #23 Metuchen @ #10 North Brunswick, 5:30 PM
  • #22 Sayreville @ #11 East Brunswick, 6:30 PM
  • #21 J.F. Kennedy @ #12 Monroe, 5:30 PM
  • #20 Timothy Christian @ #13 Piscataway, 5:30 PM
  • #19 Middlesex @ #14 Old Bridge, 5:30 PM
  • #18 J.P. Stevens @ #15 South Plainfield, 5:30 PM
  • #17 Spotswood @ #16 Wardlaw-Hartridge, 5:30 PM

NOTE: Please verify with your coach and/or your AD for the exact start times.

Now with the schedule out of the way, we can take a brief closer look at each of the preliminary round games today.

2020 GMCT Preliminary Round Capsules

#24 Woodbridge (4-19) @ #9 Perth Amboy (11-8)—The Barrons and Panthers are only meeting for the fourth time in the past 9 years with the most recent meeting occurring six years ago. Amboy won the contest 52-49 after Woodbridge had won the previous two (67-52) in February 2013 when the Barrons first reached the GMCT Final Four under current head coach, Matt Gigliello, and in February 2011 (65-57), two seasons before Gigliello took over when current assistant and freshmen boys coach, Anthony Nyers was on the roster. Both teams played East Brunswick this season with Perth Amboy splitting their two division contests with the Bears (won 47-43) on January 7th in Perth Amboy and (lost 56-51) at EB on January 30th while Woodbridge lost to the Bears in Barrons Country on December 23rd (52-33). Prediction: Perth Amboy wins.

#23 Metuchen (8-14) @ #10 North Brunswick (12-8)—The Bulldogs and Raiders have recently squared off against each other 11 days ago in Raiders Country with North Brunswick defeating Metuchen, 66-47 on February 7th. This could be a dangerous game for the Raiders since Metuchen gave New Brunswick all it could handle in this round a year ago before losing to the Zebras in overtime. Luke Schleck, who has been battling an ankle injury suffered in a contest against South River back in January, is getting closer to 100 percent, and showed that in a 21 point performance versus East Brunswick Tech on Saturday. In addition, North Brunswick has been eliminated in the GMCT prelims in three of the past five seasons. A year ago, the Raiders had to rally from a 16 point deficit including a 14 point hole in the second half to defeat J.F. Kennedy. Prediction: Metuchen wins.

#22 Sayreville (8-16) @ #11 East Brunswick (10-10)—This will be the first time that the Bombers and Bears are playing each other since the end of February 2016. Both teams played each other in the 2014 GMCT Semifinals at South Brunswick with EB advancing to is second straight championship game with a win. In 2016, EB and Sayreville played each other twice with the Bombers winning the first time on January 29th and the Bears winning on February 27th despite Ryan O’Leary scoring his 1,000th point. These two schools have played each other five times over the past 6 years including twice in 2015 and 2016. East Brunswick has won four of those previous meetings. The Bears have also beaten Monroe twice this season while Sayreville lost to the Falcons (87-59) on January 4th in Monroe. Prediction: East Brunswick wins.

#21 J.F. Kennedy (10-11) @ #12 Monroe (13-10)—For only the second time in the past four seasons these two teams will play against each other. The last time the Mustangs and the Falcons went head to head was on February 13th, 2016 in Monroe with the Falcons defeating Kennedy, 61-55. Current Kennedy head coach, Sebastiaan deVoogd, was serving as an assistant coach to Drew Hill and JV coach at the time while Monroe’s head coach, Jeff Warner was an assistant to Nick Puleio and JV coach. Both teams have played Edison and Sayreville this season with Monroe defeating both the Eagles and Bombers by at least 16 points or more while JFK lost to Edison both times including a 77-59 defeat in the Eagle’s Nest two weeks ago. The Mustangs swept Sayreville, but both victories were by only a total of 5 points. Andrew Turco will be going for his 1,000th career point in this game. Prediction: Monroe wins.

#20 Timothy Christian (15-6) @ #13 Piscataway (5-17)—These two teams have had several meetings with each other over the past 7 years, but none in the last three. Piscataway won two of those meetings in 2013 (59-41) and 2017 (71-53) while Timothy won (50-39) at TCS in 2014 en route to its first GMC Gold Division title. Piscataway has lost its last four straight games while Timothy Christian has won 4 of its last 5, and 15 of its last 18 following its third win of the year over Gold Division rival, Piscataway Tech (59-50) in the GMCT Play-In Round on Saturday. These two teams have not played any common opponents this season. The Chiefs have competed in the Red while TCS is in the Gold, which is 1-5 thus far in the tourney. Prediction: Piscataway wins.

#19 Middlesex (12-10) @ #14 Old Bridge (5-16)—The last time these two teams met was in the 2013 GMCT Preliminary Round on February 12th in Old Bridge, which the Knights won easily, 71-49. At the time, OB head coach, Jim Macomber was in his first season, and was in the midst of leading the then 11th seeded Knights to its first ever GMCT Final Four since Cedar Ridge and Madison Central merged to create Old Bridge High School in the 1994-95 academic year. The Knights eventually lost to second seeded and eventual champion, St. Joseph’s, led by Karl Anthony Towns, Wade Baldwin, and Marques Townes in the 2013 GMCT Semis. The Blue Jays have lost 3 of their last 5 while the Knights have won 2 of their last 4. Middlesex lost both of their games to Carteret by an average of 12.5 points while Old Bridge lost at home to the Ramblers, 73-54 on January 25th. With a win though, Old Bridge would get the chance to play against 3rd seeded New Brunswick in a rematch of last year’s memorable GMCT Quarterfinal. Prediction: Old Bridge wins.

#18 J.P. Stevens (4-19) @ #15 South Plainfield (12-9)—Both the Hawks and Tigers have played each other already this year. South Plainfield notched its first victory of the season with a 51-39 win over Stevens in the opening round of the 2019 Anthony J. Cotoia Tourney in South Plainfield over the holidays. SPHS had started the season at 1-3 after losing to Scotch Plains in the championship game of the Cotoia Tourney, but has since won 11 of 17 to finish in a tie for third in the GMC Blue. South Plainfield also recently suffered a one point setback at home against Edison (42-41) on February 6th. The Eagles defeated the Hawks on January 13th (50-27). J.P. Stevens also lost top returning player Nasir Majed to injury a few weeks ago. Prediction: South Plainfield wins.

#17 Spotswood (10-12) @ #16 Wardlaw-Hartridge (17-5)—The Chargers and Rams will go at it again in the preliminary round on Tuesday afternoon. It will be the 2nd time in less than a month that the two teams will be squaring off against each other. The last time the two teams met, they were both playing the back end of a back to back less than 18 hours after playing the night before. Spotswood gave Wardlaw all it could handle for the better part of three quarters before Wardlaw put together a key rally to end the third, and pulled away in the fourth. The Rams are having their best season since joining the GMC at 17-5 including a 14-2 mark in the Gold Division. Wardlaw also reached the NJSIAA Prep B Semifinals for the first time since February 2016 before losing to Princeton Day this past Friday (55-39). The Chargers competed very well in a recent matchup against Dunellen at home (lost 68-59). Dunellen beat Wardlaw twice in regular season play by an average of 20.5 points per game. Prediction: Spotswood wins.

GMC Hoops plans to cover at some of the 2020 Perth Amboy/GMC Freshmen Tourney semifinals before covering the GMCT Preliminary Round match-up between Perth Amboy and Woodbridge.