North Plainfield Pulls Away in 2nd Half to Win GMC Crossover
METUCHEN, NJ – For the first time ever, GMC Hoops covered a game involving North Plainfield as a new member of the Greater Middlesex Conference on Saturday, and the Canucks didn’t disappoint. Despite a fierce challenge from a Metuchen Bulldog team that has exceeded expectations so far in 2022-23, North Plainfield was able to pull away in the second half for the 44-36 victory in a GMC Crossover.
With the score tied at 20-20 going into halftime, North Plainfield outscored Metuchen by a margin of 24-16 in the second half to come away with the hard fought victory. Leading the way with a game high 19 points was senior Aaron Potts. The football standout collected a game high 19 points on 7 total field goals and another five from the foul line. Potts scored 9 points in the first half, and 10 more in the second half.
Teammate Patrick Adams chipped in with 14 points including two three pointers. Adams scored 11 of his points in the second and third quarters when the Canucks overcame a 10-9 first quarter deficit to tie the game up at the half, and outscored the Bulldogs 10-6 in the third to take a 30-26 lead.
Max Cohn led Metuchen in defeat with a team high 14 points on 6 total field goals and 2 of 2 from the charity stripe. Cohn scored two in the first quarter, 6 in the second period, and another 6 in the fourth. Ben Santus chipped in with 7 points. North Plainfield only had five different players get into the scorebook while Metuchen had seven different players get into the books.
For the game, Metuchen got all of its points within the arc with 14 two-point field goals and 8 of 17 from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, North Plainfield had 14 total field goals including two from three while going 14 of 28 from the line. The Bulldogs enjoyed a 28-24 edge in points scored from within the arc, but the Canucks had a 6-0 advantage in points from long distance, and a 14-8 edge in points from the line.
Both teams struggled from the line, but North Plainfield was slightly better at 50 percent versus 47 percent for Metuchen. Like the contest against Carteret the night before, Metuchen had a low scoring first period to open the game. Four different players scored for the Bulldogs in the opening frame led by Janu Dreher with 4 followed by Santus with 3, Cohn with 2, and Marcus Malamug with one.
Potts countered with 5 of the Canucks 9 first half points while Adams and forward Joshua Strong each added a field goal. Both teams picked it up a little bit in the second with North Plainfield outscoring the Bulldogs 11-10 in the period. Adams (7 points) and Potts (4 points) accounted for all of North Plainfield’s scoring in the frame while Cohn scored 6 and Santus and forward Cody Cardillo added two each for Metuchen.
The Canucks began to take control of the game in the third even though both teams continued to have difficulty finding an offensive rhythm. North Plainfield limited Metuchen to just one field goal in the third while Potts (4 points) and Adams (4 points) combined for 8 of the Canucks 10 points in the frame. Omari Brown also added a field goal for NPHS.
Highlighting North Plainfield’s 10-6 edge in the third period was an and one by Potts and a bank shot from the right lane by Adams near the end of the quarter for the 30-26 Canucks lead heading into the fourth. North Plainfield did increase its lead to double digits at one point in the fourth before Metuchen rallied with scores by Santus and Danny Kuhne late in the game.
Potts scored six points for the Canucks in the fourth while forward Nifi Bannavti scored all 4 of his points in the final frame by going a perfect 4 of 4 from the line down the stretch. Cohn led Metuchen with 6 in the final period while Kuhne added 4, and Santus chipped in with 2. North Plainfield was 8 of 10 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
With the victory, North Plainfield evened its record overall at 5-5, and improved to 5-4 in the GMC. Meanwhile, Metuchen, which lost last night to Carteret (48-38), dropped to 5-6 overall and 4-5 in the GMC. Next game for the Bulldogs will be on Monday afternoon versus Dunellen at the Faber in Dunellen. Meanwhile, the Canucks return to action on Tuesday night with a road game at Perth Amboy starting at 7:00 PM.
JV NOTEBOOK: For the second straight day, Metuchen’s Junior Varsity looked very impressive in a 49-38 victory over North Plainfield. The Junior Bulldogs, which defeated Carteret 56-33 prior to Friday’s night’s varsity contest between Metuchen and the Ramblers, led by nearly 20 in the second half before North Plainfield rallied to get within single digits late. North Plainfield’s JV is coached by former Perth Amboy head coach, Jeff Gumbs.