NEPTUNE, NJ–On Monday night, GMC Hoops headed out to Neptune to see the Spotswood Chargers in action against Toms River South in the fifth night of the 2010 Hoop Group Headquarters Summer League. In their previous two outings covered by the web site, the Chargers have not fared well, but improved from game to game. First, Spotswood lost badly to Rumson Fair-Haven on June 16th in a rematch of the quarterfinal round of the CJ Group II State Tournament. The Bulldogs got out to a quick start, and Spotswood had trouble making shots as the game gradually turned into a 66-24 rout.
Last Wednesday, against a bigger, more athletic, and talented Monmouth Regional squad, the Chargers fell behind early again, but this time, they showed some resiliency thanks in part to soon to be junior, Tommy Soulias, and made it a game before losing 56-49. This week, Spotswood continued to improve with a hard fought victory over Toms River South. Originally, the Chargers were going to play Freehold Township while TRS was going against Brick Memorial. However, the Indians and the Mustangs play each other twice a season during the winter since they play in the Class A South Division of the Shore Conference. Consequently, the schedule was tweaked so that Brick Memorial faced off against Freehold Township while Spotswood faced Toms River South.
Spotswood Fends Off Late Charge By Toms River South To Win, 50-46
GMC Hoops wasn’t able to get out to this game until it was well into the second half. Unfortunately, the game’s start time was 7:30 PM, and that’s when the work day ends. Nevertheless, the site was still able to see a bit of action. Toms River South finished the 2009-10 season in third place in the Shore Conference’s Class A South Division behind Southern Regional and Jackson Memorial. The Indians were the best team in Toms River this past season with a combined record of 3-2 against the Mariners of Toms River North and the Raiders of Toms River East. According to All Shore Media, Toms River South finished 11-11 on the season including a 7-7 mark in divisional play.
The Indians qualified for the state tournament as the 14th seed, but lost in the opening round of the South Jersey Group IV tourney to third seeded Washingtown Township of Sewell by a score of 50-24. The Chargers are coming off four straight Central Jersey Group II State Tourney appearances including two Elite Eight berths in 2009 and 2010, and a semifinals berth in 2009. The Chargers also made some noise in the 2010 GMCT by upsetting East Brunswick in the Quarterfinals, and falling to eventual champion St. Joseph’s in a hard fought semifinals match. When GMC Hoops arrived, Spotswood appeared to have the game in hand.
With 7:31 remaining, Spotswood led 42-31, but Toms River South rallied with a 10-4 spurt over the next 5:10 to close within five at 46-41. The rally began with a layup at the 6:25 mark. The Indians had a chance to get closer, but Tommy Soulias came up with a block on a layup attempt at the 5:59 mark. On the ensuing inbounds though, the Indians got a three pointer from the right corner to cut the deficit to six at 42-36 with 5:41 to play. After a lull in the scoring for a bit over two minutes, Toms River South then picked up a steal, and converted it into a fast break layup to pull within four at 42-38 with 3:36 to go. The Chargers stemmed the tide for a bit as Ike Ejikeme got an offensive board off a missed floater by Garrett Walters, and put in the follow at the 3:15 mark for a 44-38 lead.
Soulias then followed Ejikeme’s score with a layup at the 2:43 mark for a 46-38 lead, but Toms River South did its best not to go away. Following a timeout at the 2:34 mark, the Indians got another three to close the gap to five at 46-41 with 2:21 to play. However, TRS was unable to get any closer. Even though he missed the front end of a one and one with 42.6 seconds to play, Soulias calmly netted a pair of foul shots at the 23.4 second mark, and the 11.4 second mark to seal the 50-46 victory. The Chargers will be back out in action on Wednesday night at the HG Headquarters with a matchup against Holmdel. The next time the site will see Spotswood will be next Wednesday, July 7th, in a game against St. Rose of Belmar.