Middlesex Post Holiday Hoops Report–January 7, 2009

Middlesex Asserts That This Is “Their” Christmas Tournament With Combined 4-0 Showing

MIDDLESEX, NJ–From the time I began to attend MHS was a girls school athletically. Softball pitcher Erica Lordi was a NJ All State 1st Team player on a softball team ranked #9 in the entire state of New Jersey. Dana Ferraro had just finished up blowing up the MHS record books in leading the Lady Jays in multiple division titles. And finally the Middlesex competitive cheerleading squad was 6th in the nation and could be seen on ESPN. So after the Lady Jays rolled through Manville and Dunellen en route to their tenth straight Christmas tournament title; it didnt really suprise me. This entire expository paragraph aside, its time to take a step back and look at just how far the Middlesex boys teams have stepped up.

From the football team which went 9-2 advanced to the semifinals and finishing with the most wins in the division, to the baseball team winning a Group I state title only a year and a half ago. Lastly the basketball team, last year had finally ended years of “were gonna be good” to “we are good.” They finished up with 18 wins, they were the best public school in their division, grabbed the top seed in Central Jersey Group I, and advanced to the semifinals.

Middlesex Holiday Tournament–Opening Round

For the first time in quite a while, the Christmas tournament was being held at Middlesex High School this year. Dunellen, Middlesex and Manville remained the longime mainstays with Cranford taking over for Princeton Day. The Cougars went on to beat Dunellen by a score of 44-32 in the first game of the opening round.

Middlesex jumped quickly on an overmatched Manville squad en route to an easy victory. With 18-7 and 18-9 showings respectively in the first two quarters the game never really was in doubt. Mike Colacci led all scorers with fifteen points.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Middlesex (2-1) 18 18 17 11 64
Manville (1-2) 7 9 6 12 34

Middlesex Holiday Tournament–Consolation And Championship Round

In the consolation game Dunellen beat Manville to take third place for the second straight year.

In the final, however, there would be two teams vaugely familiar with each other, Middlesex and Cranford scrimmaged every year in the recent past. So this game would not be a repeat of last year when an 8-0 Princeton Day squad didnt know what hit them in a blowout loss. Although it seemed like the same would occur with Middlesex jumping out to a 7-0 lead. The Cougar defense held well enough to allow them to close out the quarter only trailing by a point 11-10. Again in the second quarter, Middlesex showed every indication of pulling away but Cranford continued to stay tough, and the Jays headed to the locker room with a 21-16 halftime advantage.

In the third quarter, however, Middlesex took a 14-4 quarter victory and began to dictate the game further. Cranford was able to push into the Jays lead temporarily in the fourth quarter with Middlesex’s erratic preformance at the charity stripe. It would be short lived though as the Blue Jays defense proved too tough and they finished off a 50-39 victory, and earned their second consecutive Christmas tourney title

Following the tourney, here is how the two Holiday Tournament Champion Game teams have done. For the Jays, a 67-37 dismantling of Highland Park on Saturday, January 3rd, was next on the ledger while Tuesday night’s game versus J.F. Kennedy was cancelled and rescheduled for Wednesday night. Cranford has since lost to Union Catholic by a score of 55-47, and then played Roselle Catholic yesterday with the Cougars winning on an Adam Fanelli 3 pointer at the buzzer 53-51.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Middlesex (3-1) 11 10 14 15 50
Cranford (1-2) 10 6 4 19 39